What to Wear
Look at your home decor. Since you will be hanging these photos in your house you want to make sure the colors of your clothes reflect your style and go with the color scheme of your home. If your walls are brightly painted choose clothing that will not clash, or is a little more muted. If you have lots of neutral colors in your home and want your photos to add a pop of color to the walls, look for clothes in bright happy colors.
Pick 3 colors to work with as your main colors and choose clothes that will fit in this color scheme. Example: turquoise, yellow and navy, or lavender, pink and light blue. Pinterest is a GREAT place to look for color schemes. Clothes in these colors should coordinate, not match. You can also use grays, whites, blacks, or browns as accent colors.
Once you have a color scheme in mind, find one patterned piece that you love. It can be a little girl’s floral dress or a boy’s plaid shirt, then plan everything else around that. I know that us moms like the focus to be on our kids, so it will work best if this piece is on one of them.
Things to Avoid
Other than your focal patterned piece, try and avoid strong patterns and look for more solid colors instead. Avoid shirts with pictures, characters or slogans, and anything with thin stripes or very small patterns.
Who Wears What
Think about the natural pairs in your family: mom and dad, mom and baby, brothers and sisters. Then try to ensure each member of this pair is wearing different colors from the color scheme and in different places. You don’t want all the colors on top and only accent colors at the bottom. Try to make sure no 2 members of the family are too matchy-matchy.
Adults - choose a top with sleeves at least to the elbow because your arms take up more skin area than your face and will draw attention, and sleeveless tops may make your arms look larger. Choose long pants or a skirt below the knee for ladies so that your legs don’t take attention from your faces, and you will be able to sit and bend without showing too much leg.
Moms - Don’t leave yourself until last and then just grab something from your closet that matches the color scheme. I want you to feel amazing in your family pictures! Pick something that you think looks fabulous on you, then plan around THAT!
Choose dark socks and footwear (unless you’d like to go barefoot) as white will stand out and that’s all you’ll notice in your pictures.
Do your hair and makeup the way you’d normally do it while wearing these clothes – no fancy up dos with jeans, no pony tails with evening gowns, etc. Your portraits will be more timeless and represent more closely who you are, not just what you look like.
If getting a haircut or new hairdo, make your appointment at least 2 weeks prior to your portrait session. Fresh hair cuts rarely look their best the same or next day. Ladies need time to practice working it, men need it to grow out just a little. Allow some time to live with your new look before your portrait session.
Fun, coordinating accessories can make an outfit. Cardigans, necklaces, headbands, scarves, tights, hats, and ties all work well. Keep jewelry simple and minimalistic because too much will draw attention from your face.
Optional outfit change
I allow plenty of time during the photo session for an outfit change if desired. This could be a complete outfit change – formal wear to casual, or one color scheme to another. Or it could simply be switching things up a little with accessories.
Start planning your color scheme and outfits right now! Look around in your home/closets, and shop well in advance so you aren’t stressing at the last minute. Check everyone’s outfit a few days in advance to make sure everything is clean and well-fitting.
One final tip
It might seem like overkill, but I recommend planning a change of clothes for everyone and bringing them with you. Then, if one of the kids spills their water on Dad as you're getting out of the car, or someone slips and rips their pants, you'll have something suitable for them to change into.