Coordinating Pictures, Easy as 1-2-3

So, it is definitely a little challenging, but I sort of love coordinating picture outfits – at least for my kids.  Because all their stuff is cute and they will basically look cute in whatever we put them in, right?!

But really, let’s talk about coordinating outfits because I know that it can seem like a daunting challenge and really, it doesn’t have to be complicated.

I like to start with one outfit and then build from there.  I prefer to start with the kid outfits because I suppose I’m more particular about what they are going to wear and usually the focus of the pictures is on them anyhow.  And then once the kid (or kids) is done, I try to coordinate my husband.  He doesn’t care much what I ask him to wear, but his wardrobe is a little more limited so I try to make things work with something he has.  Or we may have to go pick up a new button down, but in general, we aren’t too crazy about what he wears.  And then I get to go shopping (see what I did, there?!) to find something to coordinate back in to all of those for myself.

These are my top 3 tips:

  1. Keep patterns simple
  2. Don’t try to match solid colors
  3. Match each outfit with every other outfit, in some way  

1.  Keep patterns simple

So, if the kid is wearing a dense plaid shirt, you might not want to try to pair it with another dense plaid shirt for Dad.  But Dad can wear a striped shirt utilizing some of the colors in the plaid shirt.  You can easily incorporate a solid that matches one of the colors for your outfit.  Or you can swap them around – you can wear a stripe and Dad can wear a solid.  Something I would not suggest would be both you and Dad wearing stripes, unless one is a thick stripe and the other is a very small pinstripe.  You want visual interest and interaction but you don’t want visual confusion, where you get confused on where to look because there are so many loud, stand alone patterns happening, trying to live together.

With the outfits I picked out this past weekend, I first found the option I liked for the baby.  I had several combinations picked for the big one but couldn’t actually make a decision until I had an outfit picked for the little one.  So the baby is in plaid with solid shorts.  For the little one, I found floral leggings that utilized most of the same colors as the plaid shirt with a denim tunic type shirt to go with it.  And then for the big one, I found a solid salmon colored polo that matched back to both the plaid shirt and the floral leggings and some navy shorts that also directly coordinated back to the plaid.  The navy shorts don’t match the floral leggings exactly but they still sit well together.

2. Don’t try to match solid colors

This is just hard.  Simply put, navy isn’t always navy and pink isn’t always pink.  There are many different shades and variations.  Shoot, just think of khaki as a color.  All over the place.  So, if baby girl is wearing a fuchsia pink shirt, think of other colors you like with pink – like navy, grey, white, aqua.  And then the same pattern principles apply.  You can mix some stripes and solids and polka dots or flowers, as long as none of them are too busy and too loud.  This is another reason I like to start with the kids outfits.  You can go to a kids store or shop in the kids section and sit the pieces with each other to see how they match and how they go.  

This is what I did when I was shopping, this past weekend.  I found several options I liked for the baby and then set off to find what I could coordinate for the other two.  Once I started picking out some options, it was easy to make a decision on the baby’s outfit and then go from there.

3. Match each outfit with every other outfit, in some way

It’s daunting, it is, but you have to assume that no one is going to sit still and inevitably, everyone will get their picture taken with everyone at some point, even if they don’t exactly.  So you basically need to make sure two look good together without the addition of the third one.  

With my outfits for the kids I just got, the plaid was the anchor outfit holding everything together, basically creating the palette for the rest.  But without the plaid, the outfits for the big one and the little one still look good together.  You have to do the same thing when adding in other outfits.  Not only do they have to look good next to the original inspiration outfit, but they need to look good with every other outfit.  I know this sounds complicated, but if you’re staying within the same color family, it’s really not that bad.  

For our current outfits, I know my husband has a pink gingham type button down that may work here.  Or, I may try to get him to do a navy stripe.  Currently, the baby is the only one slotted for a patterned shirt.  So that’s another way we can mix and match, by giving some print tops and some print bottoms so it’s not too heavy in any area.  Make sense?  And me…well, I’m pretty sure I’m going to need a new outfit.  Or at least a new top.  From our last newborn session, I know that it’ll have to be something that I can easily nurse in, to get the baby sleeping for those adorable sleepy baby poses.

Obviously, every time you add an outfit it becomes more complex, but it is doable.  And you can do it!  And the pictures will be great – even if no one is looking at the camera and someone smears oatmeal into their hair that morning!

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