Now that you have some inspiration in mind - you can start thinking about styling your family clothing choices! My first rule was I wasn't allowed to buy anything for this - so I worked exclusively with what we already had.
Next, I started in my kids dressers and just pulled out items that might be options. An alternative good place to start is with yourself. If you have something you feel good in and would enjoy wearing - then by all means start there. I had a couple of options for myself too, so had those in mind while I hunted through their drawers.
Once I've gathered all the options - I may look for some sort of theme to emerge - navy was the theme here. Then I just start different combinations and snap a photo of each combination so I can see how it will look in a photo rather than just in person.
Good natural light is a must for working on this! Even though it felt like a gazillion degrees, I took all these options out to our front porch for shade + good natural light which is a winning combo for taking these sample photos.
When I try a combo and look at the photo, I see if anything feels or looks off. If it does - that is my goal to try and fix that option first before moving to another combo. You want your eye to be drawn to the faces in the photo not to a color that is out of place in your selection!
Here are some examples that show the actual progression of my selecting options, you can sort of see how the process evolved this time and how the colors began to blend better as I went along:
I just keep going and going until I hit on something that seems right and that I like in a photo. In this case, I ended up with two options I liked which is a first! Since we are doing our own, changing clothes would be no big deal so perhaps we'll try both options! Only two of us need to change anyway which is a simple option.
These were my two favorite:
After getting at least one good option, try your combo with any props you hope to use. I wanted to use this flannel quilt somehow - so laid out both of my finalist combos on the quilt. If I don't love these options, I can definitely decide to just skip the quilt in favor of keeping the clothing options we have workable.
The last step for me is to accessorize my own outfit where I will figure out any layering, shoes and jewelry that would look great.
Thoughts on how to use what you have - sometimes this can be a struggle for me because we tend to have a lot of the same options available year after year. And, it can be tricky to make it look new and different when it is the same or similar. Here are a few ideas:
- pick one base color to have everyone's outfit include: you don't want matchy matchy, but coordinating is always good!
- layers can cover up patterns that are too busy or bold: a solid gray sweater, jean jacket or any kind of jacket can help soften up too much pattern. For example, I had the hardest time with Samuel's options this year and found a navy fleece jacket which helped pull together a couple of options.
- think outside the box: if you have a good short sleeve option but want everyone in long sleeves, layer with a long sleeve or use something from a sibling to make it work.
- add a different accessory: scarf, jacket, sweater or jewelry to take on a new look.
Here's an example of when I wore the same shirt two different years and made it look different!
What are your favorite tips for picking out family photo clothing choices?