Ladies, let me talk to just you for a sec. Let's be honest. You are in charge of getting everyone dressed and out the door on picture day. Right? Right. With the notable exception of teenaged girls, kids are usually not too much of a problem. Do your best to make sure your daughter keeps the hair, makeup, and jewelry under control. The general rule of thumb is to consider what you might do for a nice evening out, not prom or a club. Teen boy fashion can be a bit troubling, as well. Do an image search for gangsta rapper, boy bands, and Justin Bieber and make sure none of that makes it out of the house on picture day. To piggyback on last week's post, avoid trends as if they were a creeping plague. You want the world to see your family, not their clothes and adornments.
If you're having a little difficulty with your kiddos it's best not to start a fight an hour before I need them to be relaxed and happy in front of the camera. Use a little psychology. Show them a few pictures of yourself that you really hate from back in the day. Kids love to laugh at their parents, and visible history is a good teaching tool. You might also consider letting them help you plan the wardrobe. Kids are pretty darn creative and usually respond surprisingly well when given a challenge or task. Of course, you still retain supreme veto power. Just be tactful. Those brush fires are easy to stamp out. Hubby, dad, grandpa, fiancee, boyfriend, significant other... now there's trouble.
Men are very simple creatures. We just want to be comfortable and might not realize that ratty cargo shorts and an over-sized polo just won't cut it for this occasion. It's important, though, that you find some common ground. You don't want him scowling through the whole session. Trust me; he already doesn't want his picture taken. Make sure he's comfortable in his clothes and that they are well-fitting, but not constrictive and follow the color and pattern guidelines we have discussed. Maybe you incorporate the colors of his alma mater or favorite pro team... unless he's an Oregon Duck or a fan of the 1975 Houston Astros. Yikes!
Now pay close attention because this is important. My business is beach-adjacent in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. We wear shorts ten months out of the year... eleven if we get one less cold front. Also, if the men in your life are anything like my father, it takes an act of Congress to get them to wear long pants at any time. I'm convinced my dear old dad would wear shorts to a Green Bay Packers playoff game. When it comes to family photos, skin is BAD. Don't let him do it! Even on beach shoots I strongly suggest jeans, khakis, linen slacks, or similar garments. You might like your man's legs, but your dinner guests don't want to stare at them on your wall. A nice flowing shirt with sleeves or a casual button-front shirt is a great compliment to this look. You can let him roll the sleeves up a little if he wants. Again, the focus with portraits is faces. The rest of it is just along for the ride. Bare legs and arms on males is very distracting in imagery. This goes for kids, too. Boys above toddler age should be dressed in a similar fashion to the men in the group. This draws from our theme of flow and continuity.
Well, there you go. Follow a few simple rules and use a little basic psychology and you have the foundation for a stress-free family portrait session that will produce beautiful results.
Until next time, find your joy. Creating beautiful images for you is mine.