The best way to dress your family for family portraits ultimately depends on your individual tastes and preferences. Here are my top 13 tips for planning the perfect outfits for your family photos at the beach.
1. Choose a base color, and then accent it with pops of a more vibrant color. With the above family, they picked a color scheme and worked within it. All of the colors look fabulous next to one another, as if they were posing in a J-crew ad.
2. Moms, find something that makes you feel like an absolute knockout. Then dress your family around that. Don’t wear clothes that highlight your insecurities! This may sound obvious, but if you are self-conscious about your stomach, then don’t wear a crop top. Wear the most flattering clothes possible so you can run around at the beach and feel beautiful from all angles.
3. Include a pattern or two. It’s super interesting to have one or two people in a group wearing a pattern, but don’t get too carried away or it might get distracting. Typically one person in a family can wear a pattern and it will nicely accent the rest of the outfits. In the example above, the dad is wearing a plaid shirt and it looks great next to what the mom and baby are wearing.
4. Different textures can add interesting contrast. Above, notice the different texture and pattern of the mom's dress. The ribbon, top of the little girl's shirt, bracelets and headband also add different textures.
5. Accessories are always fun accents. Accessories can give you something to do with your hands. Think necklaces, sarongs, light scarves, belts, earrings, watches, bracelets, hats to wear or fiddle with, flower crowns, etc.
6. Avoid lettering. As a general rule, try to stay away from clothes with words or characters on them. This keeps the photos timeless and classic.
7. Make sure everyone is comfortable. Your family won’t be able to genuinely relax and smile if their clothes are pinching or scratching.
8. Ditch your shoes. For family shoots especially, leave your shoes in the car so we don’t have to keep track of them. Nobody ever wants to wear shoes at the beach and it ends up being a hassle carting them around. Bare feet on the beach is the way!
9. Try on outfits a few days beforehand. Don't wait until the day of the shoot to make sure everything fits.
10. Use this trick for people that sweat excessively. If anyone in the family sweats a lot in the hot Costa Rican sun (Dads, I’m looking at you), try putting a white cotton t-shirt underneath their dress shirt. The t-shirt absorbs the sweat so they don’t show up in the photographs. Cotton breathes easily, too, so I promise you won’t overheat.
11. Feel free to bring outfit changes. We can always throw on a different shirt or skirt in the car, or set up a makeshift “changing room” at the beach by holding up a towel.
12. Consider getting your hair and makeup professionally done. It's fairly inexpensive to do here in Costa Rica, and many stylists will come to your hotel or condo at no extra charge. Well worth it. Email me if you need recommendations!
13. Think about the final destination. I don’t usually worry about this last one too much, but if you’re planning on hanging these photos over a mantle you might want to think about where you are going to be putting them in your home. What color is the wall? Is there other art in the room? Will they be framed and placed on a desk? Think about the other colors in the room when making your clothing selection.
Still not sure what to wear? Check out these two articles for inspiration.