Family photos are timeless treasures that capture moments, memories, and milestones. As much work as they take (every mama knows) to put outfits together, make sure everyone gets picture-perfect ready, and rush out the door (because getting your family ready on top of getting yourself ready makes it hard to be on time) we will do it over and over and put ourselves through the chaos for the beautiful memories with our little ones and our life partners.
And as much as the subjects and the scenery play a role in making a photograph captivating, so does the color scheme. An harmoniously coordinated color palette can take your family photos from good to outstanding. Let’s get into the world of hues and tones to help you choose the perfect color scheme for your next family photo session.
Understanding color theory
Before you start picking out outfits, it’s beneficial to have a basic understanding of color theory:
- Complementary Colors: These are colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel. For instance, blue and orange or red and green. Using complementary colors can make the subjects pop.
- Analogous Colors: These are colors that are next to each other on the color wheel, such as blues and greens or reds and oranges. They create a harmonious and blended look.
Consider the setting
Your background plays a significant role in determining your color scheme. For beach settings, think of soft blues, corals, and whites. For woodlands, consider earthy tones like greens, browns, and deep blues.
We took these pictures in a canyon in mid-July so it was surrounded with a ton of greenery and earthy tones from a nearby creek. So for me it was a no-brainer to combine the colors off-white with olive green for my boys to coordinate. When you think of summer, you think of linens… am I right? J Crew made it easy to find coordinating outfits for both men and kids.
I wore a soft off-white Rat & Boa dress that was a mix of satin and velvet material. I’m obsessed with the quality. If you haven’t shopped with them before, this is your sign to stop procrastinating. You’ll thank me later.
Each season has its own color palette:
- Spring. Think pastels; soft pinks, baby blues, light yellows, and minty greens.
- Summer. Vibrant and fresh colors like bright blues, sunny yellows, whites, and neutrals can encapsulate the essence of summer.
- Fall. While most people consider rustic colors such as deep oranges, mustard yellows, and maroons, I love fashionable colors such as black, greys, browns, and deep greens.
- Winter. Consider blues, deep reds, and snowy whites.
Personal style and comfort
It’s essential that the colors reflect your family’s personality. While you might be tempted to try the latest trends, it’s always best to stick with what feels most ‘you’. Also, make sure everyone feels comfortable in their outfits. If someone feels out of place, it will show in the photos.
While patterns can be engaging, they can also be distracting. If you do opt for patterns, ensure they don’t clash and that not everyone is wearing a busy print. Balance patterned outfits with solid colors to create a cohesive look.
Accessories and layers
Accessories can be a fun way to introduce pops of color without overwhelming the photo. Think scarves, hats, and jewelry. They can also be easily removed, providing a different look for some photos. We kept these as simple as possible because of the location. It was beautiful with creek running through that I didn’t want to take away from our surroundings.
Test your color choices
Before the photo session, lay out all the outfits together. This gives you a visual representation and helps you tweak anything that might seem out of place. If you’re an online shopper like me, be sure that you order ahead of time in case something doesn’t fit or the colors don’t coordinate like you had hoped so that you have enough time to return and order something else.
Consult with your photographer
Your photographer has likely done countless family sessions and can provide feedback on your color choices. They might also have suggestions based on the location and lighting. That’s why choosing the right photographer is so important and another reason why you should never go cheap. The right photographer will be able to make your vision come to life and make suggestions accordingly.
Choosing a color scheme for your family photos might require a bit of effort, but the end result is so worth it. An harmonious palette not only enhances the beauty of your photographs but also turns them into lasting pieces of art. Remember, the most important thing is that the photos capture the love and bond of your family, so relax, smile, and let the vibes tell your story!