Aside from choosing a photographer and picking your shoot date and location, deciding on what to wear is one of the biggest decisions of the session. I completely understand the stress and anxiety that wardrobe choices can cause. Last fall, Matt and I had our photos professionally taken. I agonized over what to wear, and found myself in Target the day before the session buying two new shirts to wear. I get it!
This stress is magnified when you are hiring a professional, but it can still cause stress even if you are setting up a tripod in your backyard to take your own family photo. Wardrobe choices can affect the overall feel and mood of the photo and so are very important.
In the follow up Part 2 to this post [next week], I will talk about breaking free from the monochromatic color scheme when choosing your photo wardrobe. Basically - that you don't need to all wear the same thing in your photos. But for this post, I want to talk about how to allow individuality to shine through in your photo, even if you are deciding you want everyone to wear the same colored shirt.
Some people prefer the more traditional approach to photo session wardrobes, and prefer to have everyone wear the same color. Common choices are white shirts, black shirts, and then jeans or khaki pants. If this is your preference, then great! This is your family photo, so you should be the one to ultimately choose what everyone will wear.
However, I will encourage you to not require that everyone wears the exact SAME shirt. How often do you all get together and go out to dinner, or to church, wearing the exact same white polo shirt? Probably not very often, so why have everyone in identical shirts for your photo session? If you want everyone in the same colored shirt, you can still allow for a little individuality to show through.
One way to accomplish this is to specify one color for everyone to wear, but allow different types and styles of shirts all in that same color. Another is to choose a family of colors - or one color, and then allow different shades of that same color. Accessories are a great way to encourage individuality and add a little bit of fun color, without changing the overall feel of the image. Finally, you can create more individuality in the image by allowing people to choose their own bottoms - shorts, jeans, skirts, different colors/washes of denim etc.
Let's look at some examples on how to incorporate personality and individuality into a photo, all while having everyone dressed in a monochromatic way.