What to Wear for Family Photos – Jenna Martin Family Photographer

For many families, the task of decided what to wear on the day of family portraits is the most stressful part. Should we match each other? Should we match our background? Do we have to get dressed up? Don’t worry. Before you freak out over the difference between denim and navy blue, lets go over a few ground rules. 

1.) Know your location.

Knowing your location is essential to determining your clothing options. Are you headed downtown for family photos or are you planning  day at the beach? Will you be among in the bold oranges, reds and yellows of fall or the soft pastels of spring? Your location should give you a starting off point for which color palette to choose.

2.) Choose your color palette. 

A great place to go for color inspiration is design-seeds.com. This is a site that breaks down the color palette of everyday moments into a list of usable colors. Now that you know your location, you’ll want to pick something that works with it. If you’ll be taking pictures on the beach, for example, you might want to go with a more muted or neutral palette, whereas if you’re shooting in an outdoor orchard in the fall you might want to use richer, bolder colors. The point isn’t to blend in with the background, but to compliment it.

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3.) Choose your neutrals. 

Each of these color palettes have a neutral tone running through the middle. Usually, it’s your closest color to something in a gray spectrum or a brown spectrum. This should make up the bulk of your outfit. Think dark, denim jeans, khakis or a gray dress.

Added tip: For the most part, try to keep your shoes in this category as well. This will help draw attention to your faces instead of your feet.

4.) Add in your colors. There are two ways to do this: 1.) As your main colors in large doses and 2.) As your accent colors. For main colors think your shirts, coats, vests or skirts, while your accent colors are your bright pops throughout your wardrobe. In the spring palette above of pale pinks and blues, bright green acts as the accent color. This should be used in small doses through accessories or layers. Think headbands, scarves, belts, ties or even shoes (if you so desire to break rule #3).

5.) Mix it up. You know the fastest way to tell if a photo is from the 90’s? Everyone is wearing black turtlenecks. Don’t be afraid of patterns, textures and layers. Patterns add personality and textures and layers add interest. Think shirts under jackets with scarves and dresses under cardigans wrapped with a belt. These clothing options add more visual detail,, personality and impact to your photos.

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Photo Credit: shannamichellephotography

6.) Don’t worry about the clothes getting dirty. I call family photo sessions an hour or two of “no rules.” You’ll probably be sitting on the ground at one point or another or your kid wants to pick up a slimy bug, so just roll with it! Trust me, you’ll love the photo I snap of your daughter’s cringing face as your son holds up a caterpillar for her to see. I’ll try and save the dirty stuff till the end, but the ones of your kids playing in a mud puddle or rolling down a hill are sure to be your favorites in the end.

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7.) Let your personalities shine. Each person in your family has a personality all their own, so let them express it! As long as you stick to same general color palette and mood, it will still form a cohesive picture. If your daughter has a bohemian/hipster style, for example, let her stick to her style, just keep the color tones similar and let her choose a hat or scarf in the accent color.

In that same thread, you want your outfits to reflect your personality as a family. If you’re a down-to-earth, outdoorsy, casual family that enjoys camping every weekend, dressing up in formal wear for your family portraits is only going to result in stiff, awkward looking photos. You want to feel comfortable and natural during your family portrait session, not contrived and boring. Besides, I do not photograph contrived and boring people ;).

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For more clothing suggestions and options for family photos, follow me on Pinterest! I’ve got a whole board dedicated to just this thing :).

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River Rocks and a Missing Sandal – Jenna Martin Family Photographer

Nick was another winner of my Father’s Day shoot, and I was just as thrilled as ever. There’s always a special feeling when I do a photoshoot for free, but when it’s for someone that really deserves it, it’s just a whole other level. For this we took a quick trip to the river and waded around in the water (ever walk around on slippery rocks while holding a couple thousand dollars worth of NOT waterproof gear?) and took a few pics.

Oh and that lonely little purple sandal? Its mate went floating down the river…that’s what happens when you’re playing in the water though!

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Champagne, Pups and a Fishing Pole – Jenna Martin Family Photographer

When Rachael first contacted me about taking her family’s photos, I could tell right away that we would get along. She was easy-going, interesting and fun…and I got all of that from her email. 

She told me about her family. How close they are and how they’ve never gotten family photos. When I asked how they would describe a perfect day together, she responded with, “Float the river with the dogs on the raft while dad fishes off the end and mom and I make chitter chatter and crack jokes about dad’s fishing.” So instead of asking the all to meet me somewhere downtown, I suggested we go fishing. We can hike back in the mountains somewhere, toss out a line, run around with the dogs a bit and I’ll take photos of them in their natural habitat.

I sent the email and waited. “Please say yes,” I thought. “This would be so much fun!” Sure enough, she wrote back and said her parents were all for it! So on the day of the photoshoot, I drove the 60ish miles to Red Lodge, MT, where I met up with Rachael, Dave, Deb, Griffin (the Jack Russel Terrier) and Sadie (the German Shorthair). We drove past the Red Lodge campgrounds to an undisclosed location, tossed out a line, let the dogs run around and even drank a little champagne (here’s to finally having family photos)!

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Like Father, Like Daughter – Jenna Martin Family Photographer

In case you didn’t already know, every May I give away a free Mother’s Day photoshoot and every June I give away a free Father’s Day photoshoot. Jeremy was one of the winners of the Father’s Day photoshoot this June. Now typically, the dad’s aren’t the ones super excited to get pictures done, but Jeremy was thrilled. He planned what Carly would wear, how her hair should be done and even what color to paint her nails. And how do I know these things? Because he asked! (cue: awwwww!!!)! As a photographer, there are few things more rewarding than a client that is excited to have me take their photograph, but when it’s a father exciting for family photos with his daughter, that’s just downright good parenting :).

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Walk in the Park – Jenna Martin Family Photographer

Sometimes I wonder if I just keep getting lucky with the families I get to photograph. Not only are David and Crystal engaged (congratulations!) but Cadence was a little ball of rough and tumble energy. I love spending time with families like this!

Geese and Giggles – Jenna Martin Family Photographer

As soon as I met Destiny and Devon I knew it was going to be a good shoot. Gorgeous weather, a bagful of bread, plenty of hungry birds and a mutual love of Bob Marley: what more could I ask for?

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50 Shoots in 50 States – Jenna Martin Wedding Photographer

It is my absolute dream to travel the world, so why not do it by taking pictures? This year, I’m making it a goal to shoot 50 photoshoots in 50 states. And since I’m going to need your help, I’m offering you a deal: along with my current referral program on my website ($250 credit for each successful wedding referral, $50 credit for each successful senior, family or pet referral) if you make a referral that leads to me booking a wedding (or something of equal or more value) in one of the states I haven’t worked in yet, I’ll give you your own photoshoot for absolutely free. And if you don’t need a photoshoot? Well, I’m sure we can work something out ;).

Here is a map of the country with the pink states representing states I have already worked in. Let the games begin!

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