Why your clothing choices are so important in family pictures


More than anybody, I understand the power of photography. I grew up with very few images as we could not afford developing film more than once a year when I grew up. We only had professional pictures taken once, when I was about 5 years old - and those 2 images of my sister and I were on our wall through our adulthood.

Today I would like to bring up the topic of clothing choices for family pictures. Your portraits and memories are much more than a piece of paper you pass through hands in a quick family visit. They might not matter much today but believe me: you would do anything for that only good picture of your grandpa once he is gone.

You might have heard that higher end photographers do a consultation before the portrait session for family pictures. There are reasons for that: to make people to stand out by who they are not by what they wear. 

I am not talking about everybody needs to dress in the same way, with the same sweater, and the same shoes. I am talking about creating memorable moments that you will WANT to hang on your wall. To create those images that everybody in the family will talk about and be proud to show off. To establish the confidence in the children that they are loved and they belong there. To allow the family to see the love that bonds them together hanging on their walls everyday. To enjoy those memories.

When you have a family of 4 or 5 or more in a family portrait session, photographers advise their clients to pick up to 4 color tones (2, and 3 being average) that are complimentary to each other and in the same family tones. When you dress in a family of tones that match, your eyes go to the people's faces instead of the clothing choices. After that you might perceive the clothing and think "how beautiful", but your first choice of clothing is to make the choice of dressing up for making each person to stand out, not their clothing.

Also, we often recommend do avoid bare arms. That is because when close to a person the side of the arms show too much flesh, competing with the face. With a 3/4 sleeve or longer your arms do not compete with the face and your eyes are forced to go to the faces.

Colors are also important in portrait photography. People have a lot of purple, orange and red in their faces. We suggest wearing colors that will enhance the skin tones instead of making them more predominant. 

Today my advice is for all of you to take more pictures in this holiday season with your loved ones. And print them. There is power in the tangible image that you can hold on to. It might seem strange for the younger generation today but it will mean so much more later down the road.

I hope you take into consideration in the near future to have a family portrait session with a professional photographer with the intention to hang those images on your wall. Likewise, I hope your holiday season brings your family together and you can have fun and meaningful moments with them. 

Simone Severo