Family Photos on the Beaches of Destin & 30A–Clothing Concerns/Coordinate!

In 13 years of creating portraits on the beach, here is the most commonly-asked question we hear:

“What should we wear?”

As you’re preparing your family for photos, it’s one of the most important questions. Why?

  1. Clothes that coordinate deflect attention from themselves, and toward the faces in the portrait.
  2. Clothes that coordinate bring visual unity to your portraits. Imagine telling your family, “Each of you–grab the clothes that you love the most, and that’s what you’ll wear for our portrait session!” Your family portrait could likely feature a carpenter, a prom queen, Spiderman, a swimwear model, and mom dressed in her Sunday-best.

Notice that I use the word COORDINATE.  “Coordinating clothing” is not the same as “identical clothing!” Consider the actual definition of “coordinate:”

“of the same order or degree; equal in rank or importance.”

You understand the concept of colors coordinating. Here are 2 other items to consider:

  1. Are all of the clothes of “equal importance?” Think in terms of formal vs. casual. If one person looks like they’re going to a formal affair, do the others? If someone is wearing hyper-casual, do the others? Anywhere on the spectrum of formal vs. casual is fine–so long as we all look like we’re going to the same party.
  2. Are all of the clothes of “the same order?” Think in terms of a military uniform. A General’s uniform commands much more attention than a Private’s. Look at any Army from any country, and you can immediately identify the high-ranking officers. How does this pertain to your beach session? Consider all of the clothes together. Is there any one person’s clothes that command more attention than the others? If so, you have one person that will visually “outrank” the others in the portrait.

How can you tell if your clothes coordinate well together? Employ the the “couch test.” It’s a highly scientific process. Let me try to explain:

When you’ve gotten everyone’s clothes selected, lay them all out on the couch together. If one or two pieces “jump out” at you–it’s not playing well with others. It will do the same thing in your final portrait.

The next blog will discuss the issue of clothing colors. I think that some ancient apocryphal scroll mandated khakis and white for beach photos. It’s not true. Let’s slay that dragon next time.

Thanks for tuning in! I’ll see you on the beach,

-mr. bill


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