No Matching, Try Coordinating

May 19, 2022

Choosing outfits for an outdoor family session can feel daunting. If time is of the essence the stress can feel overwhelming. Sizes, colours, is there enough in stock? How about we say no matching but instead try coordinating?

five kids sitting under a tree in the fall posed for pictures

Matching Causes Missed Focus

Focus goes to the outfit when everyone matches

It is a funny trick with the eye! When your brain sees everyone matches, the focus goes to the outfits. If the goal was to have people notice the faces rather then the outfits, it produces the opposite result.

The fit may not flatter everyone. 

Children are built differently, adults are too and that universal outfit may not flatter everyone in the same way. There is nothing worse then wearing an outfit that you know is unflattering or uncomfortable. You might able to hide it from the camera for a few minutes but not for the entire session. Trust me, I have seen the results.

Shopping Stress

Finding all matching in everyone’s sizes can be more stressful. You can often find 3 out of 4 but that fourth will cause grey hairs. Every store will be devoid of that one simple and standard white shirt you covet and because the theme is everyone is the same, there are not options.

A family watching through a field in colour that tried coordinating their colours

Try Coordinating Colours and Theme

Coordinating is using similar colours or a theme. The first question I ask is, think of the colours already found in your home and what would coordinate in the room your pictures will hang? Do you have a light and airy living room? Or dark and moody? Modern?

If the final result is going to live on a wall in your home, let the style of the room and colours of the room be the guide. More casual and country? Or maybe a little formal and dressy? Keep everyone’s outfits on the same level of style.

Colour Building Blocks

Denim, khaki, black, grey and white are all considered neutrals, use those as your base. Those colours will all mix and match nicely together. Consider these the building blocks for colour. You can add or take away from them. 1-2 people can wear denim and another khaki pants and it doesn’t look off. The entire family could be in building block colours and look good together.

Add 2-3 Colours

a colour bar that shows colours that do not match but corrdinate from khaki to blue and red
Building Block Colours + Added Colour
a family is holding hands and running through some shallow water at New River Beach

Now you can add 2-4 colours. This may feel a bit scary but you know the building blocks are the foundation, adding a couple colours together is the fun part that gives you more options. I love to use Pinterest for inspiration and if you click on this link it will take you too a board I made there with loads of outfit suggestions.

Happy Shopping

I hope these tips help for figuring out what everyone should wear when they have an outdoor family session.

Matching in the studio works a little better because the background is the exact same. It aesthetically looks better compared to taking those same outfits outside into nature. Outside, try coordinating and avoiding the white t-shirts.

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