What to Wear: For Family Pictures

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I put the question of what today's post should be to my Facebook fans (PS, if you haven't joined yet, please do so here. It's fun, I promise. We discuss things like my hatred of Lady Gaga's clothes, and how I wore knee high boots the day after I gave birth. It's good times) Anyhow, the majority of people wanted to see a post about family pictures, with wedding wear and more Gaga following. Luckily, I'm planning to be around for a while. I also have some good posts coming up about wearing maxi dresses and trends without looking like an idiot. YAY!

Oh, family pictures. Remember how AWFUL they used to be? STORY TIME! My mom and her sister are very close, so we grew up with our cousins like siblings. Which is good because brothers I have (four of them! Any takers?) sisters I have not, and my cousin Kelly is the best stand-in sister ever. HOWEVER, when I was eight, my mom and aunt decided to do family pictures, and dressed me and Kelly, who is ten years older than me, in the same clothes. She was 18. We both were wearing floral dresses with giant collars.

Aaaaand I had a lazy eye.

OF COURSE my childhood lazy eye would kick in whenever pictures were taken, so after a long night of family picture taking, all of the takes looked like I was looking in the wrong direction. Oh how I wish I had a scanned copy of those pictures. There is still one hanging in my parent's living room. It mocks me.

My point is that the days of matching outfits is far over, and there is literally no excuse for dressing an 18 year old and an eight year old in the same clothes. Ever.

Remember this type of portrait gear?

Bad Family Picture

Denim! And khaki! And white bread! And barefoot, natch. This is so boring. And I am NOT posting where to get these clothes. SHame on you. Although I will say that those fug capris are like $300. What is the world coming to?

When dressing your family for family pictures, you have to walk a fine line between "matching" and "coordinating". Are you following me? My general rule is to pick a palette of three colors with white and black being free colors. Got it? Then you have a general idea of the colors without jamming a theme down your photographer's throat.

Like so:

Family Picture 2
Items in this set:
Cable Knit Shawl Collar Cardigan, 125 GBP
3/4 Rib Cardigan - Teen Clothing by Wet Seal, $9.50
!iT Jeans Belle Stretch Jean, $74
BKE Tyler Jean, $73
Gap Loose fit whiskered dark jeans, $33

K, this is something I envision for a more conservative family. Here I chose gray, navy and pink as the palette, with white as the free color that didn't matter. Do you see how much more cohesive, yet not vomit-inducing something like this is? What's more, it won't make your husband hate you. He can thank me later. Preferably with money. I think these types of outfit would work best in a more natural, traditional type setting. Although I always think family pictures in the forest are weird. It's like "Oh hey, you just caught us hiking through the woods in matching denim shirts. Would you like to take a photo of us? I'll hang it on the wall."

Oh, also, heels are wonderful for family pics, k? They makes your legs look miles long and thinner. Flats are cute too, but it you're going for the max, do heels. And no sneakers for you, even if I do think they are adorable on men and boys. You're not going to the gym, thanks.

Now, if you are a little more of a sassy family, despite all of the people who tell you otherwise, you CAN do a print in a family picture. Most people feel safer with solids, but I feel like a spunkier family would be so cute in a few scattered print. The trick to doing prints in family pictures is to keep it very bold, very graphic and very simple. We are talking black and white here, people. Check it.


Family pics

Items in this set:
BKE Emery Cove Polo, $33
Pleated Jabot Knit Top, $20
Microbe by Miss Grant Black Tutu Skirt Childrensalon, 41 GBP
Gap Loose fit whiskered dark jeans, $33
stripe full skirt, 25 GBP

So I utilized my favorite black, white and yellow palette. See how the only pattern is on the skirt? It makes it a graphic focal point without totally ruining the picture. This type of set-up would look gorgeous in a more urban setting. I'm thinking concrete, brick, wrought iron type stuff. The last family picture we had done with my brothers, we'd all agreed to wear solid shirts. My oldest brother SOMEHOW misunderstood it, and showed up in a printed shirt. It was Photoshopped out. If you're going to do prints, make sure they look ON PURPOSE by coordinating with the rest of the fam. Otherwise, your family will yell at you for a while and your photographer will charge you extra for touch ups.

Make sure that whatever you talk your family into wearing that it is comfortable and looks good. Before the shoot, lay all of your clothes out on the floor. If you notice something off, a shade that isn't right or something that stands out too much, you can replace it before getting 100 pricey prints. Also, it's a good idea to talk to your photographer beforehand to see what he or she prefers, and where the pics are going to be done.

Alright, deep breaths then everyone. Spring is upon us. It is time to frolic through the forest looking neat and cohesive and take pictures for posterity!


50 comments:

mushbelly said...

I love that yellow shirt in your second outfit. I must have it!

Both of these groups of outfits are beautiful. Good Job, again. We need to get family pictures taken so bad, and these tips will come in handy.

Anonymous said...

I like the colors you chose but those man shirts are too gay for my husband. He'd never wear them. Sorry!

Anonymous said...

Shirts can not be gay, and "gay" should not be used as an insult.

Renee said...

great post--i was sort of under the impression that whate shirts and jeans were the have-to for family pictures, so its nice to know of some non-boring alternatives! and wow, i could totally picture the hubs and me and our *future* little ones in that yellow / black / white ensemble! so cute!

Kate said...

Love both of the groupings but in the first one the only blue I see is the heels. Is there other blues and my computer messing with colors or is that the only item in blue? If so isnt that a little random?

Jae said...

Anon #1, classy comment. Any guy can handle a sweater or a polo, I promise. Tees and sweats need not apply. Or I guess they could, if you were doing family pics at the gym.

Kate, it's hard to see but the man's sweater is navy,as is the necklace and I was pulling from the jeans too. BTW, do you not just want to eat those shoes? They are like $900 designers and I covet and cry that I can't have them.

mejaka said...

Every time I am seduced into reading a page from your blog, I end up smiling. All of your little biases totally tickle me. I do much as you do with family photos--choose a family of colors and give freedom. I choose the colors based on what my kids love to wear, because I want them to look like them and not like I had the What Not To Wear people over to dress them. This means blue is always one of the colors, as my second son only deviates from his blue wardrobe on his schools Blue and White Day, when he wears black. Last time it was blue, brown, white and black; before that we did blue, coral, black and white. And for that one he wore one of the three identical shirts he wore every day of his sophomore year: a bold blue-and-white modern plaid pattern on a silky fabric. The pics were great.

Though I love the neutral look of white tees and jeans or your example of denim and khaki as well. To me they are not boring, but rather a clean palette that allows the faces to be the focus rather than the clothes.

Sara @ Our Best Bites said...

Oh how the world needs this post. I'm in love with those cute little family palettes. I also look forward to the day when I can actually imagine investing the time to dress my family for pictures where my boys will actually look at a camera. One day. I still want to see the mock ensemble of the gaga family too :)

Morgan -Ing said...

The yellow is AWESOME. I love it. One time, I was in charge of buying my ENTIRE family (as in 6 siblings, 2 parents, one grand child and one Nana) their clothes for our family photo shoot. I chose YELLOW for my Nana. And she HATED it and STILL brings it up at family functions about that "GOSH AWFUL YELLOW SHIRT" I made her wear. STILL. It's been 12 years. STILL!

But I like yellow shirts.

Anonymous said...

Crap.

The last family shot we took had us in jeans, white shirts and no socks; just hanging out at home.

I thought the pics turned out ok and everyone else said we looked great.

If all 5 kids are clean, somewhat unified looking and even looking at the camera....I guess I am ok with "boring".

:-P
LoLa

The McPherson Family said...

I just want you to know that I totally chose black and white and yellow for our family pictures two weeks ago. Unfortunately my sister in law nixed it, and we are stuck with gray, white, and chocolate brown.

BORING.
Oh well.

Anonymous said...

Ok Jae, I have to have the black and white skirt. I've been looking for one for forever, just one question...how do I order stuff when it's on the Polyvore site. I click on where to buy it but I'm not sure how to get it to the u.s. (that totally sounds lame lol). So would I need to register with polyvore or I'm just out of luck when it's in the UK? Thanks
Rachelle

katrina said...

Check out this photography website she took our pictures and always help the fams coordinate their out fits. I love all of them

Sutterblissphoto.com

Jae said...

lol LoLa, I forgot to say that once you have more than three kids, the only rules for family pictures are to make sure everyone is looking at the camera. You win!

Rachelle, it's a UK site. (I love British fashion!) Check their shipping policy and shoot them an e-mail. I've had a UK website ship to me anyway even though they didn't typically ship to the US.

hotjavva said...

i am so happy to have discovered this blog- love it!!!

McMel said...

boy am i glad you did this post. my husband and i are taking our newborn son to see my family, and my parents are having us make family pictures. i've made our selections based on your suggestions and blogged them. if you check it out, hopefully you approve!

angie said...

we have family pics in a cpl of weeks and I have no idea what to wear... I love kelly green for my boys, but not sure what me and my little girl should wear.

Anyone have ideas?

LOl, we are doing outside pics.

Gretchen said...

Great! Perfect!!! I'm so ready to see khakis and white shirts go away! lol

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Danielle Rabbat said...

I'm a photographer and this is the best 'what to wear for family portraits' advice I've seen yet. Thank you for this post! I send it to all my family portrait clients ahead of their session.

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Love both of the groupings!

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I'm going to agree with your first instinct on this one. There's nothing wrong with dressing in age appropriate clothing, even if you are a hot mama. There's a huge difference between dressing like a grandmother, and dressing like you're in college (which is where I personally think super short shorts and dresses/skirts should stay) R Programming Training | SAS Training | Android Online Training | Weblogic Online Training | Mongodb Online Training | Mongodb Admin Online Training | SQL Online Training

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