Dressing for family photos can always pose many questions, but dressing for family photos on the beach adds an extra layer of uncertainty. Outfit choices should compliment the natural setting as well as be comfortable and authentic for the family. Here are 10 cute clothing ideas for dressing a family for pictures on the beach.
- Nothing Beats All white on the Beach. White dresses, white polo shirts and white linen all look simple and beautiful against the colors of the sand, water and sky at the beach. This works because the bright white pops off the colorful background, serves as an added light reflector and has a clean and timeless look. With the gentlemen all in white as well as the ladies, the look will be a little more formal but that does not mean that they will be stuffy. Use different textures and materials to give uniqueness to each outfit. Remember to keep undergarments a nude color so the white clothing does not seem sheer.
- White and khaki or white and tan. Traditionally this look has been more of a matchy-matchy look with white shirts and khaki shorts. While this works very nicely in beach photos, it is easy to coordinate these colors rather than everyone wearing the same outfit. White sundresses for little girls. Tan capri pants and a white sleeveless shirt for mom. Dad can be in a white linen shirt and khaki pants rolled up. The boys will look great it cargo shorts and polos. A pop of teal in a hairbow or a pink necklace is a sweet, colorful addition.
- White and denim. This is another traditional beach option that looks good both as matched or coordinated outfits. Put all the guys in jeans and white shirts and all the gals in white capri pants or skirts and denim shirts to mix it up a bit. Blue denim looks beautiful against the sand and sky at the beach and the white helps to show off sunkissed skin. A colorful belt or scarf can help to bring in more personality and fun.
- Coordinated pastels. Think about the sunset that will be happening in the background. Think about the beautiful shades of pink, yellow, peach, blue and purple. If they match in the sky, these same soft pastels will look beautiful in a family photo. Put dad in a light blue button up shirt with the sleeves rolled. Mom can wear a peach sundress with a white ribbon belt. Brother will look great in a light green polo shirt and khaki cargo shorts and sister is perfect in a light pink dress with little flowers on it. The colors will work together as well as with the natural beauty in the background while giving each person their own look.
- Blue and White. Blue always looks beautiful on the beach. Tell everyone in the family to pick out something blue to wear in the pictures. Blue is one of those colors where the different hues all look great together. Plus, allowing everyone to have a say in what they wear will make for one less fight with your teen or toddler and dear dad will be able to wear his favorite button up shirt. Do not be afraid of an aqua sundress, a navy and white striped polo, a blue blouse with little pink flowers and white and blue checked button up. It will look fabulous. Pair it all with neutral shorts or pants to complete the look.
- Dress it up with black. Even a black knit sundress will look dressed up out on the beach, so to put a “formal” spin on some casual beach pictures, dress the family in black. To keep the look summery and light, think short sleeves or summer dresses for the girls and shorts or rolled up pants for the guys. Always keep feet bare in the pictures and add in splashes of color with fun accessories like a statement necklace or flower pin.
- Go bold. Bold colors like teal, sunshine yellow and tangerine or July colors of red, white and blue make a statement in beach photos. These bolder colors scream summer fun, sunshine and fireworks. These colors tell a story of their own. They work outdoors. They encourage smiles. To make these bold choices work, stay away from neon and busy patterns. Solids or color blocks work best. Jazz up solid colored shirts with texture and tone on tone patterns. Do not mix these bold colors with lighter colors. The bright red shirt will overpower the pastel pink.
- Speaking of pink. Pink is often overlooked for beach pictures but really it is a gorgeous complement to the surroundings. Men, women, girls and boys all look beautiful in this preppy color. A pink woven belt with green shorts and a white shirt would look great on dad. A pink sundress for the girls and a salmon colored skirt and white t-shirt will look beautiful on mom. Pink and blue plaid shorts and a matching polo will look dashing on the boys. Together the look is fresh and light.
- Two colors. Pick out two complementing colors like yellow and blue and split up the family. Put all the boys in matching, colorful blue polos with khaki shorts and the girls in matching yellow dresses. Mom and dad should mix in both of these colors to tie it all together and coordinate.
- Just have some fun. Family photos should tell a story. They should tell about your family. If non-traditional clothes are a better fit or you really want the pictures to tell your story, try something different. Stay casual with shorts and t-shirts. Mom in khaki shorts and a v-neck shirt. Dad in shorts and a shirt with subtle stripes. Then let your kids stand out with superhero shirts and capes. Mom and dad are casual and coordinated and the fun sized kid personalities really stand out. This works for lifestyle type shots and families who enjoy a story in their photos.
Just as important as clothing, there are a few tips to help make everyone look their best in the photo.
- Wear clothes that hide tan lines.
- Consider wearing hair pulled back or secured with headbands, clips and hairspray. It could be windy.
- Do not use lotion on faces prior to the session, wind blown hair will stick to sticky cheeks.
- Try not to get sunburned prior to the picture day. Bright red lobster skin will not look the best.
- Use nail polish colors on fingernails and toenails in colors you do not mind being seen in pictures.
- Feed the kiddos beforehand so no one is starving five minutes in and bring water and simple snacks to keep everyone satisfied until it is over.
- Wear clothes that fit! Ill fitting clothing can allow undergarments to show as well as make the wearer not feel their best.
- Leave your personal cameras at home and let your photographer, whether paid professional or amateur family member, do the clicking.
- Don’t get stressed out. Remember to have some fun and go with the flow.
With so many awesome outfit choices, it can be hard to know what to go with, but the ultimate decision in outfit choice should coordinate with the type of portrait is most important to you. Making sure everyone is comfortable with what they are wearing and the fit will put them at ease and make the experience much more fun.
One more tip: Don't forget the sunset portrait. Check out Jim's excellent step-by-step tutorial on sunset portraits at the beach.