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Why White Shirts Should Be Swapped Out in Family Photos

Updated: Feb 15

Family photo shoots are an exciting and special occasion for many families. It's a time to come together, dress up, and capture beautiful memories that will last a lifetime. As the saying goes, "a picture is worth a thousand words," and family photography allows us to freeze those precious moments in time. However, when it comes to choosing outfits for a family photo shoot, there's one common mistake that many families make – everyone wearing white shirts. While white may seem like a safe and classic choice, it can actually be a big no-no for a perfect family photo shoot. In this blog post, we'll explore the reasons why you should avoid wearing only white shirts with no layering for your next family photo shoot.

When it comes to family photo shoots, many families automatically gravitate towards wearing white shirts. It's understandable – white is timeless, classic, and it can make everyone look clean and polished. However, when it comes to capturing the perfect family photo, white shirts can actually be a big mistake. Here are some drawbacks to consider:

  • First, white shirts without layering can easily wash out your complexion, especially if you have fair or light skin tones. They reflect a lot of light, which can make your skin look pale or even ghostly in the photos. This can take away from the natural beauty and warmth of your family's skin tones.

  • Second, white shirts can also create an issue with contrast. If everyone in your family is wearing white shirts, there won't be much variation in color or texture in the photos. This can result in a flat and dull appearance, lacking depth and interest.

  • Third, white shirts are notorious for showing stains and wrinkles. In a family photography session, there's bound to be some movement, playfulness, and possibly even accidents. With white shirts, any spills or mishaps will be glaringly obvious in the photos, detracting from the overall aesthetic.

  • Lastly, consider opting for colors that complement each other and enhance your family's features. Jewel tones like emerald green, sapphire blue, or rich burgundy can add vibrancy and interest to your photos. Neutrals like navy, charcoal gray, or soft beige are also great alternatives that will provide a cohesive and timeless look.

Understanding color theory in photography is crucial when it comes to creating stunning and visually appealing family photos. Colors can evoke different emotions and moods, and they can also impact how the subjects in the photos are perceived. As a San Diego photographer, I've had the privilege of capturing countless family moments, and I've learned a thing or two about the power of color.

Color theory in photography revolves around the color wheel and the relationships between different hues. Complementary colors, which are opposite each other on the color wheel, create a vibrant and harmonious effect when used together. For example, pairing a deep blue outfit with a rich orange accessory can make the colors pop and create a visually striking composition. On the other hand, analogous colors, which are adjacent to each other on the color wheel, create a more soothing and cohesive look. For instance, dressing your family in various shades of purple, from lavender to deep plum, can create a soft and harmonious color palette.

Understanding color theory allows you to intentionally choose outfits that will complement each other and enhance your family's features. It helps create a cohesive and visually pleasing composition that captures the essence of your family.

As a family photographer, I am always happy to guide and offer suggestions on color choices based on your preferences and the location of the shoot. Remember, color plays a significant role in capturing the perfect family photo, so don't be afraid to experiment and have fun with different hues!

And, hey, before you go, check out my friend's beautiful work! Brooke recently took Riverview Florida holiday family pictures and talks in her post about Winthrop Town Center pictures and why it is a great photo location. If you're in Florida, definitely book her for family photos.

I'm a natural light photographer working in and around beautiful San Diego, California! I focus on high school seniors + families. I photograph families + seniors all around town and would love to work with you, document who you are today, and create memories that will last a lifetime! Book today so that you have memories for a lifetime!

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I love how expressive and full of energy your images are! You really capture the best moments.


Brooke Hamilton
Brooke Hamilton

Such great tips and I could not agree more! White shirts on their own, especially a family wearing only white shirts is just the easiest way to wash anyone out and not stand out in your photos!

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