I used to be a little dogmatic about family pictures. Wanting everyone to match somewhat, to smile and mostly be agreeable! But...it never got very good results! The look of matching or coordinating clothing wasn't something that came natural for me. After the arguments of what to wear, the settings to be 'just right', when it came time to say 'cheese', no smile could be found or forced. Now that my boys are older and it is rare that I can get a picture with all of them at one time, I don't obsess so much over it, I'm simply thankful they will stand still long enough for a shot.
I found an article that gave some fantastic tips for coordinating colors for the best family portrait. Melody Coursey shares these ideas and this will revolutionize my portraits!
Tip #1: Choose a Color Palette. What does this mean? Pick 3 or 4 colors that look good together & start from there. The shots below show a few color palette choices. Remember the colors you choose should also take into consideration your own personal style as well as the location of your portrait session.
Tip 2: DO NOT MATCH~ Gone are the days of "everyone where white shirts & khakis" or "everyone where black shirts & jeans". I know when organizing a group (especially if it is a large multi-family portrait session) this seems like the easy way, but it does not add any interest to your portraits. Differing outfit choices, styles, etc.. all with the same color palette (see above) is a MUCH better way to keep everyone happy & expressing themselves, while keeping the photos consistent & interesting.
Tip 3: Prints can be overwhelming. One person in a print dress or shirt that coordinates with everyone else is fine, but when you 2, 3 or 4 people in different prints, whether you stick to the color palette or not your photos will still look like they were taken unplanned at a Family reunion where everyone just says "smile" before hitting the pool again. There is definitely such a thing as TOO MUCH when it comes to prints. Like with writing, when looking at your wardrobe use the KISS principal. Keep it Simple Silly. Vests, jackets, necklaces, etc.. can all add interest to a plain colored shirt without throwing everyone out of whack. :-)
Tip 4: Accessorize!! Necklaces, hats, bracelets, belts, etc... all can add a pop of color & interest without taking away from the people in the photos as well as the overall feeling of the images. They help you express yourself. ;-)
Tip 5: Don't be afraid of color! Some people shy away from teal or coral or yellows....DON'T they bring excitement & fun to your photos!! Be bold! There are colored jeans, jackets, necklaces, everything to help you bring some color to your portraits & keep them fun!
Tip 6: Right before your Family portraits is NOT the time to try a new do'. What do I mean, don't make any drastic changes to your appearance right before your portrait session. No spray tans or new hair do's.....you never know how it will turn out & then do you really want portraits of your family when your haircut is lopsided or you decided to try the pixie look & not realizing how much you loved your long hair?????
Tip 7: Last tip. Have fun! No need to worry about whether or not your children are smiling...that's the photographers job! The more relaxed you are the more relaxed your children are & it will show in your photos! The fun, happy family you have. Captured forever for you to cherish. ;-)
For more information and to see the beautiful work of Melody visit her website Melody Coursey Photography.