I absolutely LOVE a well coordinated wardrobe for group portraits!
Yes, getting coordinated clothing can be a hassle, in fact it probably WILL be a hassle, but in the end it’s worth the effort and cost.
Here’s a great example of a matching wardrobe. Notice not all the colors are exactly the same, but they are in the light-blueish range. Also note the guys have matching colors and the girls have matching colors. I’m pretty sure Sarah, aka “Mom” was responsible for this successful wardrobe, as is normally the case. Great job Sarah!
Alright, now let’s move on to another cute portrait. This particular group shot was not coordinated beforehand and has a mix of muted darker earth tones as well as some HOT PINK. The reason this doesn’t work as well as it could is that the pink immediately grabs your attention and all you can think about is, “Wow, that’s really pink. The pink family is so pink and pinkety pink. What the pink?!” Well, at least that’s what goes through my head. By having a mix of bright and dark colors, the group doesn’t have the sense of unity they could have if they wore all dark, or all light colors.
Through the power of Photoshop we can get a rough idea of what this portrait may have looked like if the wardrobe were a bit more coordinated:
By wearing shirts of darker tone, your attention goes to the faces instead of the clothing. This is one reason why I recommend avoiding bright colored clothes. There are still a couple adjustments I would make to the wardrobe at this point. I would have a brown vest instead of a gray one, change the khaki shorts to blue jeans, and change the white striped shirt to a solid brown one. The more you match, the more unified your group will feel in your portrait. (Also, blue and brown look awesome with the greenery around them.)
Some of you may be thinking, “We don’t have to match, Ben can just fix it later in Photoshop!” While I may be able to fix things in Photoshop, those fixes come at a price and you’ll probably save yourself some money by getting the wardrobe right the first time
Of course, in the end you’ll wear what you like, and the best rule to follow is: “Do what looks good”
On that note, click this link to see some totally awesome portraits.