The colors you pick for your clothes and the way you use those colors will make or break your family portrait session.  Here are some tips to help you out!

1) Try to avoid clothing with large logos on them unless you are advertising for that brand.

2) Limit patterns.  Too many patterns take away from the image.

3) You can use a color palette to pick colors that go well together. From the palettes below you can pick 2 to four colors to create a look that is pleasing.

4) An easy and common theme is to pick just two colors.  Use one for the pants and the other for your tops.  This is commonly seen with blue jeans and white shirts or blue jeans and black shirts.  It is old school and classic but still looks good.  However, it is easy to blow out the detail on all white clothing and loose the detail on all black.  So... I must admit avoiding those colors makes it easier to get better looking photos.  

5) Textures in clothing show more details so use textures when you can.  

6) Google "color palettes" for ideas.

7) Avoid all white or all black for everyone unless you have a reason for it.

8) For fall photos consider the colors in the background if outside that time of the year. Browns, tans, greens.  In the spring time if you are shooting by flowers or plants consider their colors.  Blues and tans look great at the beach.

9) You don't have to match.  Everyone does not have to wear the same color.  You can pick a couple of colors and choose clothes for everyone that fits in the color scheme!

10) Consider where prints will hang in your house and the colors that are there to be sure they go together

11) Props are awesome for adding some character to your session.  Ties, jewelry, hats, etc...

12) People with fair skin should avoid wearing light colors that may make their skin color look washed out.

13) People with very dark skin should avoid light colors as the contrast will appear distracting.

14) Generally avoid extremely bright colors or neon for family portraits.




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The color wheel is an excellent wardrobe tool! Figuring it out isn’t too complicated. Here’s a quick breakdown:



You can make the following combos using the color wheel as your guide:

1. Colors directly next to each other (i.e. yellow and yellow-orange; yellow and yellow-green; violet and blue-violet, etc.)
2. Colors that form right (90 degree) angles with each other (i.e. yellow and red-orange; blue and violet-red; green and orange, etc.)
3. Colors directly across from each other (i.e. yellow and violet; blue and orange; red and green, etc.)
4. Colors that form a T (i.e. blue, orange, and violet-red; yellow, violet, and red-orange; yellow, blue-green, and red-orange, etc.)
5. Colors that form an X (i.e. blue, orange, violet-red, and yellow, violet, blue-green, and red-orange, etc.)

Since brown is a neutral, it will go with virtually any color on the color wheel. I love to pair a chocolate brown with cobalt blue or fuchsia or bright red—such a fun and bold combo. Of course white, black, and the hues of blue found in denim are also neutrals that go with just about anything.


Colors that are a part of a “color family” also apply. So for instance, you can substitute pink with red and still be able to pull off the combos based on the color wheel (i.e. we see that blue and red form a right angle with each other–then in Elise Neal’s outfit she wore fuchsia and cobalt blue).


As for accessories, be careful with colored jewelry or belts, but go crazy with colored hats, bags, shoes, or scarves. When choosing jewelry, pair gold (or gold-toned) jewelry with your warm colored outfits. Warm colors have a yellow, gold, or orange undertone to them. Wear silver (or silver-toned) jewelry with your cool colored outfits. Cool colors have a blue, pink, or red undertone to them. Since colors are broken down by hue, temperature, intensity, and tone any single hue can be either warm or cool. Just look at the undertones.

You can also use the color wheel when coming up with color combinations for your makeup. It can help you decide which makeup color to wear so that you don’t match your eyeshadow with your outfit. 


From Fashion Bomb Daily: