Say Cheese

My family has never been the type to take an annual (or every five years, or even every decade) family photo, but from what I hear it can be a rather unsettling experience. I mean, if that thing is going out with your Christmas cards you want it to be a winner (turns out my family doesn't send Christmas cards either. Pattern?) but there are enough potential pitfalls to make the head spin.

Luckily, Miss Reachel Bagley from Cardigan Empire is here to help! Read on for her tips on dressing your loved ones for the dreaded family photo. We can't help you if you always have your eyes closed and/or a double chin in photos (just me?), but at least your clothes will look good.

Dressing for a Family Photo

The family photo: an opportunity to squirrel away a flitting twinkle in time with your dear ones. However, the more individuals (particularly infantile individuals) in a lens's frame, the greater the chance of ocular rivalry. Fear not, your family photo can be a momentous memorialization by applying the following fashion tips.

1. Fleshy Magnets
The most important feature of a family photograph is the faces. Faces are quite useful at identifying individuals, and although Aunt Agatha’s tricep may sport unmistakable definition, it should not be placed in competition with Uncle Alfred’s countenance. Flesh is an eye magnet, so use is judiciously. Allow the cranial handful of inches squared to shine by opting for concealment over exposure.

2. Soothing Solids
Patterns regularly practice spotlight thievery. Just when your rosy cheeks are ready to shine, your fluorescent brocade bares its brilliance stealing the shutter’s concentration. Squelch the focus filching by opting for unassuming solids. Solids are natural supporting actors, allowing your visage to take the lead. Follow the same rule when selecting accessories: leave statement chandelier bobbles and bold bib neck drippings in your top drawer in favor of a quieter compilation.

If you choose to advance your family portrait into the realm of pattern, choose supporting ornamentations. Select simple patterns like small florals, pinstripes, and polka-dots. You and your dear ones are the photographic Prima Donnas so don’t surrender the spotlight to a bright ikat.

Also consider the placement of patterns. One pattern is all one family member should likely sustain. If possible, refuse your patterns immediate contact. Solids provide critical visual rest for your family assembly.

3. Color Unity
There’s a reason why sports teams dress in matching outfits: it makes it easy to identify confederate members. Families preparing for photography should follow suit; although not quite literally. Clothing doesn’t need to (probably shouldn’t) match exactly, but it should blend. Individual garments ought to share similarities in hue (color), value (light/dark), and/or chroma (pure/weak). A palette of ocean blues (similar hue), bold primary colors (similar value), or ashy pastels (similar chroma) would place each family member on equal color footing. If you place Sally in scarlet and Brenda in beige, there will be talk of favoritism. Sally will bloom and Brenda will recede into an angst-filled background.

Here are a few visual dos and don'ts.

Bad: So much tropical pattern draws attention away from the faces. {from}

Bad: One ensemble rarely suits all. Look to blend rather than to match. {from}

Good: The perfect amount of seasonal skin exposure. {from Melissa Luzander}

Good: A little bit of pattern goes a long way. {from Lauren Beatty}

Good: Monochromatic made interesting with varying texture. {from Allison Young of Young 'Uns}

Good: A perfectly blended color combination. {from Nicole of Five Peas}

The more members in a photograph, the more rules you should unquestionably observe. Whereas a spattering of stripes and florals will not overwhelm a family of four, it could enact a pictorial cataclysm in a family of fifteen.

Oh, and forget about saying cheese. {Editor's Note: Disregard the title of this post.} Think about a pretty pair of shoes instead. You want to emanate natural bliss and footwear has a much higher chance of precipitating felicity than fermented dairy.

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