So you’ve just booked a photography session for your annual family photos. Now what? If you’re like me then you might have an issue putting together cute clothes FOR YOUR OWN PERSON each day and now this photographer expects you to dress and coordinate your entire family? Sheesh!
So you head to pinterest searching for inspiration only to find that you have nothing even remotely close to that perfect looking family. You need a new wardrobe, STAT.
Stop right there. Close the Anthropologie tab on your browser and put your credit card back in its place. I’m going to give you some tips on how to dress and coordinate your family on a budget so that you’re not dealing with buyer’s remorse over clothes you’ll only wear once.
1. Start with the pickiest person to dress: That’s usually mom. Hey, it ain’t easy being beautiful all the time. It takes work, effort, and a bit of planning. If you’re reading this and you’re the pickiest person then head to your closet and pick 2-3 tops that you love to wear. Maybe they make you look slim or bring out your eyes. You want to wear something you’re familiar with. You will possibly be asked to sit, stand, squat, lay down, etc, for your session. Don’t make it harder on yourself by buying something the day before that doesn’t fit well. Other than solid white, you’re free to pick any kind of pattern or solid you want.
2. Pick a color scheme: Now that you have a few tops picked out for yourself, this is the time when you can open Pinterest again and search “Maroon color scheme” or “Grey, Yellow, Red color scheme”. From here you can see what can be pieced together from things you already have. Don’t be afraid to use 6 different colors either. I typed “orange color scheme” (because I’m simple and currently wearing a cute orange tunic) and came up with these results–
From here you can keep searching or add colors to make it more specific. I like to just pick a scheme that is pleasing to my eyes. Since I have all boys I do try to stay away from too many pinks and purples. You know your family best. Choose accordingly. When you have most of your clothes picked out then it’s safe to find other families for inspiration on how to piece things together. Keeps the stress down if you do it that way.
3. Pick from your closets (or friend’s closets) first - Now that you have two of your favorite color schemes in hand head to the other closets in your house (carrying with you your tops). Be fun here. Pick some bold patterns and try them out. I tell my clients to stay away from tiny prints as they are too busy. But stripes, polka dots, geometric prints…all great! The key is to coordinate. There are no rules that say a photo can only happen if everyone matches. Create a spot on your bed or couch and start piecing things together. Send photos to your friends or, better yet, your photographer and ask how things are coming along. Step away for a few hours then walk by them again and see what you think. You might find adding another color, not in the original scheme, actually works. If there are 1 or 2 items you need to complete your tops ask your friends if they have options for your kiddos to borrow. It’s just one piece. No big deal. Now add some jeans and you’re almost there!
4. Accessorize – Even if you have, what you feel, are plain items you can really add a lot with accessories. Headbands, necklaces, tights and shoes alone can really add color and interest to an outfit. And they’re not just for mama and little sis. Bow ties, suspenders, and hats are just a few of the additions for boys. Remember to use what you have first then borrow if you can.
5. Fill in the gaps - Still need a few items? Hit the local thrift store with a list of possible additions. Would a pink and/or grey cardigan work? Need “new” jeans for big brother or want to try out a hip vest? Thrift stores are perfect for those items you may only wear again a few times. And if you’re not into the thrifting scene, you can still take your list and head to the mall with a PLAN and not spend on random items that may or may not suit your scheme.
The bottom line–it’s not the clothes that make a photo, it’s the connection between the family. As a photographer I want my clients to be comfortable and not stressing about being like another family. So where what you have and come as you are.
Besides, you’re going to want those extra pennies to buy that amazing canvas, AMIRIGHT?
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