I am here to help.
First of all, there is no right or wrong answer. You want to throw on some slashed, acid washed jeans, your B.U.M. sweatshirt, and tease your hair just like the old days--that's great. We can totally rock it out.
But for those of you Pinterest photography-stalkers (guilty!), you might be in the market for a family portrait that's a bit more trendy and up-to-date. Now, I've come to terms with the fact that I am no fashionista, but I will declare to the world that I. LOVE. COLOR. Especially in photos. And I do know a thing or two about photos.
So here's my number one tip: Color. Lots of it. Long gone are the days of family uniforms in photos (White polo shirts and khakis--c'mon, admit it. Your family is as guilty as mine--circa 1996.). Today's family portraits are not so matchy-matchy, and instead show off a whole lotta colors that compliment each other. Choose to combine colors within the same color palette--you don't want to mix pastels with neon or jewel tones. But all pastel--you're gonna look smashing. All neon?? Sweet! Let's go for it! Jewel tones are always a safe, beautiful choice. Ask Aunt Beatrice if purple, green and orange go together, and she'll probably balk at my answer--"As long as they're in the same color family!" Don't want to mix and match colors? Pick one or two and sprinkle them throughout your wardrobes with more neutral colors like greys or browns as your base.
Tip numero dos: Patterns are great in moderation. If you're going to have some patterns in your wardrobe, choose wisely, and use sparingly. Maybe your three-year old can wear the bold, striped dress while everyone else is in solid colors. Make that person your wild card! Tiny, subtle patterns are okay to mix and match a little--think pinstripes, little polka dots, or subtle plaids.
Three: Accessorize! Layer! Wear those cute boots or heels you've been saving for a special occasion! Splurge on that cute little bow tie or hat for your son, let your daughter wear a fun scarf and her hot pink rain jacket! The more variety and textures you bring, the more interesting your photos will be. And the great thing about layers and accessories is that after a few photos, we can take them off and you've got a whole new look! Vests, cardigans, hats, leg warmers, costume jewelry, suspenders--it's all eye candy for your photos.
And now, throw everything I've said out the window. I mean it! Rules are meant to be broken, right?? And these aren't even rules! So grab that batman t-shirt, dress everyone in white, or throw lots of bold patterns into the mix! The most important part of deciding what to wear is that you've made sure it reflects your family and your style, and that you're comfortable. Find what you like and commit.
Want a couple more resources? Follow my session outfit board on Pinterest, where there are a few ideas waiting for you in photographic form. Check out shops like zuilily, totsy, or VeryJane for reasonably-priced, adorable clothing and accessories!
Still struggling? If you've got a good photographer, he or she will help you figure out what will work best. Don't be afraid to give them a call or text with questions or pictures of what you're putting together. Bring a few options to your session and take the first few minutes to put together something fantastic with your photographer! You're paying them to make you look your best, and that's all part of it, if you ask me. Want to ask me, literally? Here ya go: firstname.lastname@example.org