If you’ve mustered up the courage to gather your [reluctant] family members for a photo this holiday season, you’ve probably been brainstorming about the all-important clothing and accessory choices you’ll be making. This simple “what-to-wear” guide will give you the recipe for the perfect look – and once you’ve got the basics, it’s easy to make it your own by adding in your favorite colors, patterns, and textures!
1. Avoid the “matchy-matchy.”
Gone are the days when matching Christmas sweaters on every family member was “cute.” Nowadays, the ultra-matching family ensemble has taken a backseat to “coordinating.” While you probably don’t want each person in a different color, variation is the key to achieving a natural, well-planned look.
2. Wear layers.
Consider the potential changes in the weather as you plan for your photos. Layers are an easy way to alternate between staying warm and keeping cool if your climate can be unpredictable this time of year. Layers also allow you to change things up in our photos without having to change entire outfits in the backseat of your car!
3. Consider basic neutral color combos with bright seasonal accents.
Neutrals are a perfect place to begin when planning your clothing color combinations. They are flexible, they don’t distract, and they can be paired with practically any color or any pattern imaginable. Great neutrals for the holidays could be blacks, grays, creams, browns, tans, navies, and neutral greens. Once you’ve chosen a base or two, you can start adding in seasonal colors – cranberry reds, holly greens, plums and deep blues. Brighter shades and other colors are also appropriate if you want your photo to look great above the mantle no matter the season!
4. Mix patterns and solids.
Striking a balance between patterned and solid clothing can really make a family shine. If a simple outfit needs a punch, add a patterned scarf or cardigan. Dress up a pair of jeans by wearing a patterned top. For guys, layering a solid with a pattern is a great way to go. For the ladies, even jewelry can break up an otherwise solid outfit.
5. Add texture.
Putting everyone in cotton t-shirts and jeans can be a bit bland. Add a cozy sweater, layer a button-up over a tee, and mix in jewelry, belts and boots, ruffles, lace, or sheer scarves and you’ll be on your way to the perfect combination for the entire family.
And above all:
6. Keep it simple.
Clothing with large prints, wording, or characters on it will draw the eyes away from your beautiful faces and should be avoided where possible. It’s also a good idea to repress any urges to run out and buy large jewelry and hair accessories for photos. While they can be fun and conversational in person, bold accessories often come across as a distraction in a picture. When people see your family in that photo, whether in your home or on a holiday card, most of them want to see your faces, not be distracted by what you’re wearing!
Kayla Lilly is a photographer, writer, wife, and mama making a house a home in eastern Idaho. She met her mister while working at an amusement park and married him a year later after deciding there was no way to live without him. The amusement has continued as they’ve added three kids and a passel of pets to their lives while finishing college and starting a photography business. Drawing inspiration from the whirlwinds of marriage, parenthood, and the media, Kayla blogs at Utterly Inexperienced, and spends the rest of her time chasing chickens, organizing junk drawers, diapering toddlers, and photographing everyone willing to step in front of her lens.
Feature and title image via Better Homes and Gardens.
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