Clothing Suggestions for Individual & Family Portraits

Family portraits have an important role in building family history.

They are a gift you give yourself, your children and generations to come. They tell the world how much you value your loved ones, and they grow more precious as time goes by. Great family portraits are a tradition with Cynthia McIntyre Photography. She has the knowledge and experience to create a portrait that will reflect the special qualities of your family. Take this opportunity to capture this time in your family's history..

Take this opportunity to capture this time in your family's history.

Clothing Suggestions for a Family Portrait
When selecting clothing for a family portrait, one should compare it to selecting the color scheme for a room in your home. All colors in your home coordinate for a pleasing overall design. To determine the appropriate colors to wear for a portrait, consider the background that will be in the portrait behind you. Then, develp a color scheme for your clothing similar to the background. Your clothing should not be the center of attention or the thing that draws the eye when one first looks at your portrait- your FACES should be the main focus of the portrait. Prints, stripes, plaids, polka dots, logos, large printed words or images, bright colored clothing or a color in stark contrast to the background would draw attention away from your face. Some stripes actually cause an aberration in the digital camera sensor so the stripes appear wavy and not straight.

Therefore, Cynthia always recommends that family members wear solid colored tops of the same color or color hue and similar colored pants or skirts on the bottom. For example black shirts, sweaters or blouses on the top and blue jeans on the bottom.

For outdoor portraits among the leaves in the summer, spring and fall, Cynthia recommends the following colors on top:

navy blue
light blue

Colors to AVOID for outdoor portraits

any bright color
no prints, stripes, or plaids

She recommends the following colors for the bottom:


A few additional suggestions:

* If the famly has more than four members it adds a softness to the photograph if one of the girls are wearing a dress or skirt.

* It is not recommended that you purchase the exact same colored shirt for every member of the family. If all family members are wearing the exact same shirt, you will look like a "team" not a family.

* Family members should wear a top that compliments their body style. They should wear clothing that they believe makes them look their best. We all feel better if we think we look good.

Designing Indoor Portraits:
When designing indoor portraits, once again take into consideration the colors in the area where you wil be photographed and select solid colored tops of the same color and hue as the background. Cynthia will also take this into consideration when she comes to your home or the location of your choice when she determines the background location for the portrait.

Skin Tone Considerations

Regardless of whether those to be photographed have light or dark complexions, the face should always dominate in any portrait. Accordingly, the skin should be the lightest, brightest or most intense areas of the portrait. So, when a medium to dark background is used, all subjects photograph best in medium to dark tones, regardless of the skin tone.

Specific Clothing Selections
Turtlenecks or V-Necks are flattering provided that neither is exaggerated in style. Avoid very wide or particularly deep V-Neck garments or bulky cowl neck sweaters that completely hide the neck. For close-up portraits LONG SLEEVES are essential- bare arms call attention to the arms and frequently make the arms look heavy (even in a very thin person).
If feet will be photographed, ensure that shoes and stocking are in keeping with the visual intent of the portrait.

Women being photographed in full length should wear long skirts or dark stocking or pants to keep the eye from being directed to the legs and away from the face.

Men should be clean shaven or facial hair should be carefully groomed. It is best that the hair be cut about one week before the portrait session.

Memorable portraits take careful planning. The clothing you choose plays a vital role in the success of a portrait.

The goal of any fine art portrait is to direct the viewer's eyes to the face. All remaining elements are secondary. Individuals should wear long sleeved garments. If being photographed against a medium or dark background, dark tones of brown, gray, burgundy, green or blue are pleasing choices. Since darker clothing is slimming, it is often a good choice for close-up, full- length or three-quarter-length portraits if a medium to dark background is used. Bold stripes, plaids and checks and prints are visually confusing and do not photograph well. Against a dark background, Bright colors, such as pink and orange, will overwhelm the face and ruin a portrait. Light colors that approximate flash tones will make the subject look very pale.

To view color palets for portraits and sample portrait examples, CLICK HERE.


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