So, you’ve setup a family photo session with a portrait photographer in Los Angeles and now you need to figure out what to wear. There is no one answer to this and lots of it depends on the occasion for the portraits.
Do You Want Formal Portraits?
If you’re looking for polished-look studio portraits, you might consider a bit of formal wear. Even a tuxedo and evening gown might not be overdoing it. There are also many options in between.
You could opt for a suit too. For men, this might include a tie too. Getting a bit more casual, a polo-style shirt might also be good. For women, a nice blouse often does the trick.
If you’re portraits are going to be from the waist up, your all set. But if you’ll be doing any full body, you’ll also need to coordinate bottoms and shoes. You might also want to coordinate with other family members on what they’re wearing to avoid clashing colors or matching too much.
Do You Want Candid Portraits?
If you’re going after candid portraits, this usually means more casual attire. Often, simple jeans and a t-shirt might be good enough. Again, you could go in between and perhaps go with some khakis-style pants and a button-up shirt.
As with more formal attire, be sure to coordinate with other family members, not just on colors but also the level of informal or formal wear you want to achieve. This way you avoid someone being over- and someone else being under-dressed.
Also, be aware of how busy your clothes are. Busy clothes can detract from the focus being on you. For example, if you take a photo with that flashy Hawaiian shirt, don’t then be surprised about all the commentary about it. Then again, sometimes that’s the point of wearing such a shirt.
What About the Location for Portraits?
Your chosen location for making portraits will likely factor into what you’ll wear. Studio portraits tend to lean on the more formal side. But, if you’ve chosen a park on a blanket, you can get more comfortable.
You can usually have your location drive the type of attire you will wear. The beach screams of sandals and t-shirts. A 20s era room can beg for a more formal look. You can certainly have fun with using a location to influence what you will wear.
Props in Photos
Sometimes the portraits are all about a prop. Perhaps you have a high school graduate that was an athlete and so a sports theme might come to mind. You can use props such as a baseball glove or football combined with a baseball or football field as locations.
Perhaps you’re actually in Hawaii and now that Hawaiian shirt truly does matter, as might a drink in hand. Props can add nice drama and effect to portraits. So, don’t be afraid to use them.
Family portraits are an opportunity to capture a special moment and freeze it in time – an age point, a place you went, a milestone achieved and more. They can also be an opportunity to have fun. So, the important thing is to not overthink it and make it complicated or stressful. To help avoid this, bring attire options with you so you can possibly have photos in various outfits.