How To Dress for a Key West Family Portrait

So, you’ve hired a Key West Photographer to capture your Family Portraits, but now you realize you have no idea what to wear!

Here are a few recommendations for what to think about as you plan for your shoot to help you look your best.


You probably didn't realize this when you planned a family portrait, but you've just dubbed yourself the official family fashion stylist! This is not the day to tell the kids "wear whatever you like", you're Anna Wintour prepping for the September Issue. (Okay, maybe not quite that dramatic, but you get the idea!) Here are some suggestions to give you somewhere to start!

1) Complimentary Colors

Unless you're going for a very specific color scheme (all white, all black, etc), everyone in the group need not match exactly, but the colors should go well together and compliment each other. Choose a common theme of about 2-3 colors that everyone can easily coordinate.


2) Pattern Prowess

If incorporating patterns into the wardrobe, it's best if one core family member has the "main" pattern, off which all other wardrobe choices are made. This is not to say that other patterns cannot be used, but you definitely want to consider how they play off each other. If one is a bold wide stripe, then another pattern might be a finer dot or checkered pattern. Consider how they look when next to each other and with other solids.


3) Feel the Fabric

If most of the family are in smartly pressed dress shirts or flowing linen, and one person dons their pleather mini skirt or stretched-out woven cotton, they are going to look out of place even if the colors go together. If possible, get together ahead of time and compare fabrics.


4) Shoes Were Made For Walkin'

Unless we are shooting in the studio, or you don't mind bringing a set of flats and changing shoes at every spot, then we recommend staying away from spikey or overly tall heels. Sure, you want to look cute, but you can do so without getting stuck in the sand, or risking a broken ankle as we traipse about the location.

On the other hand, if you want to maintain a more casual vibe, just remember that flat doesn't have to mean boring. Unless your entire ensemble really calls for a sneaker, they don't really look great in an outdoor beach or park setting. The perfect casual shoe is a sparkly sandal in a neutral tone that doesn't draw attention to the feet.


Get more Wardrobe ideas on our handy Pinterest board HERE


5) Coverage Done Right

Whether you usually go bare-faced or you don't leave the house without makeup on, wearing makeup for photography is different than everyday makeup.

To reduce the amount of retouching needed, definitely go for a more full-coverage foundation and concealer. Don't be shy to blend two shades together to get the perfect match.

Apply with a brush or sponge, NOT your fingers. (This is true anytime, but especially for photos!)


6) Highlight Your Best Features

When it comes to Blush, consider your blush palettes to match your chosen outfit and your skin's natural undertones. Apply to the apples of the cheeks with a soft brush.

While contouring isn't something most of us do for everyday makeup, you'll want to add a bit to the shallows of your cheeks, temples, and forehead, and possibly down the sides of the nose. Be light handed, as a little bit goes a long way. Remember, you're not dancing under Broadway lights trying to define your cheekbones for the back row seating, you just want a little extra definition to help you look your best.


7) Come Out of the Shadows

Beach and outdoor portraits call for natural makeup, so unless you're really going for a specific moody evening dark sultry look, choose a palette that will be neutral enough to not be the focus of the photos, but also has enough pigment to define the eyes. There are lots of great online tutorials that will help you choose the best application for your eye shape and skin type, but as a general rule, you'll want to start with a lid primer, and coat the entire eye area with a medium "transition shade". The outer edges and crease will get a slightly deeper tone, the inner corners and brow bone a slightly lighter tone. If you want to go a little more dramatic, a touch of well-blended deep brown, plum, or gray into a tiny spot of the crease will do the trick. Eyeliner should be added, but not too dramatic, and consider a taupe or brown liner to the bottom "waterline", again just to add extra definition.


Obviously this isn't the time to go experimenting with products you've never used before, so it's recommended to do a trial run on yourself with anything you're not familiar with. False lashes are a great addition for photos, because in full length images it gives a little more definition to the eyes, and in closeup portraits, your eyes will stand out beautifully.

8) Care About Hair

Don't leave your locks to chance. Add smoothing product that will reduce frizz, and choose a style that accents your face, shows off your tresses, but is also beach-friendly. If your hair is thinner on bottom, you might even consider temporary clip-in or halo extensions. If you're planning to wear it down, we recommend even doing a "half up" look so that you can more easily keep the tendrils out of your eyes (and mouth...and neck...and ears....and nose...) when the sea breeze inevitably blows in and wreaks havoc on an otherwise perfect pose.


Alternative: Hire a professional! We partner with Beauty Boutique & the Glam Squad for our portrait sessions. Set up an appointment with them HERE

I hope this information was helpful. If you have any questions or want to send over photos, or even schedule a virtual Skype styling session, let us know!