Several years ago, we were at Mimi and Bops’ house for Thanksgiving. This was back when they still lived in Houston and I hadn’t yet used my child to lure them to San Antonio.
I am shameless when it comes to the thought of free baby-sitting.
Anyway, Caroline was a little over a year old and we decided we should all take a family portrait after Thanksgiving lunch since we’d all be together.
And I’m playing fast and loose with the term “portrait” seeing as how there was no professional photographer involved, but rather my aunt and her digital point-and-shoot camera.
At some point in the days leading up to Thanksgiving, we decided (actually, I think I decided, but I’m trying to pass the blame) that we should all wear some sort of white shirt with jeans. I think I had seen this look on someone else’s Christmas card and decided to rip it off.
Here’s the problem. All of us have dark hair and dark eyes. The white shirts made us look like a band of swarthy pirates who had just raided a Gap store.
In short, it was a terrible picture.
Needless to say, it did not make the Christmas card cut.
About two years later, we decided to try it again with the benefit of wisdom and experience of family photos gone wrong.
My talented friend AJ from Hollimon Photography took the picture, which was definitely about a million and a half steps up from my aunt with her Kodak digital camera, plus we planned for everyone to wear various shades of olive green, red, and cream with jeans.
It was an infinitely better picture, except for the fact that I was still wearing braces on my teeth at the time and now every time I look at it all I see is a dark reminder of my orthodontia horror.
But at least we don’t look like pirates.
Anyway, I got an email from a reader named Amy who is about to have a family portrait taken.
Here is Amy’s question:
“I am mom to a 3 month old and a 2 1/2 yr old. My husband and I are crazy enough to go and get our whole family photographed by fancy schmancy people in August. We were told to all wear light blue (we are fair people, blond and blue eyed). My issue is I am not sure where to find a light blue sundress with no patterns or prints on it.I have been searching the internet and not finding anything. I was wondering if you could help me?”
Today is your lucky day because either you will benefit from my obsessive compulsiveness or you will be extremely frightened by the fact that I’m going to give you more advice than you really wanted about your upcoming family photo.
After I read your question, I decided to consult my friend Jen of Sugar Photography , who was voted Dallas’ favorite family photographer. Technically, I’ve never actually met Jen in person, but I occasionally spend more than several minutes a day looking at all the incredible photos she takes.
She has a gift.
And that is the understatement of the year.
So, I spent a little bit of time looking for a blue sundress online and then decided to email Jen and ask her professional opinion about what your family should wear. Blue sundresses are hard to find, by the way. Plus, if a light blue sundress isn’t something you’d normally wear, then why wear it in a family photo that will hang in your home for years to come?
And here’s the best part of all, Jen didn’t just give me some advice, she actually gave links to clothing suggestions. That is just PURE GOLD, my friends.
The jackpot, if you will.
Here’s what Jennifer had to say:
“I tell my families to choose a pallet of 3-4 complimentary colors and pull from that when dressing the family. Think textures, layers, and bold bright colors.
If I were to dress my dream family, they would wear the following:
Mom – something like this from Anthropologie with a chunky turquoise or gold necklace.
Dad – a shirt similar to this shirt from Boden in blue and brown stripes, with chocolate linen pants, and flip-flops.
Daughter – something like this dress from the Tea Collection.
Also-in answer to your very specific questions (that I seem to have skipped right over in my rush to buy imaginary clothes at Anthropologie and Tea)…
Definitely vary the shades of blue. From navy to aqua to very pale blue-there are so many shades. I’d add a contrasting color (chocolate brown?) and white for accent (white linen pants for mom, white undershirts peeking through for husband and any little boys). I would definitely avoid finding the exact same shade of blue for every member of the family. People will walk right past their framed portrait…you want to make it interesting and eye catching, use layers and textures to draw the eye in show off their personalities.
Most of all-have fun with it!”
See how great Jen is?
If you want to see how these ideas will make your portrait come alive, head over to the Sugar Photography blog and look around at the various pictures of families. Just be warned that there is a lot of precious baby squishiness all over the place and it will cause your ovaries to tap dance on your uterus.
Remember that Jen’s clothing suggestions are a guideline. I realize it’s not necessarily practical or possible to run out and buy an entire new wardrobe for your family, but think about the color palettes that appeal to you and envision what the picture will look like hanging on your wall.
I hope that helps!
Especially since the torture known as family Christmas card photo season is right around the corner.
Just remember, all white equals hospital staff and/or swarthy pirates.
There were a few other questions for Fashion Friday, but I didn’t get to them today because I just didn’t feel like it.
How’s that for honesty?
Anyway, since both questions are of a time-sensitive nature, I’m going to answer them tomorrow on a very special Saturday edition of Fashion Friday. This has never happened before and, I assure you, will probably never happen again.
You won’t want to miss it.
Well, unless you’re doing something important like going to the grocery store to pick up cat food.
Y’all have a great Friday!