Have you ever walked into a boutique shop and looked at the way the colours and styles seem effortlessly displayed? How everything just works together beautifully? I noticed this right away when I stepped into Moden Boutique in Sidney to photograph the owner, Devon Bird, for one of my assignments with Seaside Magazine. After the shoot I walked away with a real appreciation (and admiration) how some people can blend colour, tone, textures and style to look so amazing together.
As a professional photographer in Sidney, B.C., one of the most frequently asked questions by clients is "what should I wear for my photo session"? Especially when I am photographing families together and we want everyone to be coordinated but not "matchy matchy"!
While I share with my clients the basic concepts of wearing long sleeves, avoiding loud patterns, logos and distracting bright colours, I often struggled when trying to describe other ways to create a harmonious look as a family.
After my recent photo shoot with Devon at Moden Boutique, I asked her if she would be willing to share some of her "secrets" that I could pass along to my clients and she was more than happy to offer some insights.
Could you expand and define further on how coordinating over matching creates more interesting combinations and how it makes for a modern and effortless look? Could you provide any examples?
"Although matching outfits seems like a safe bet for a cohesive look, you forfeit the opportunity to add depth, texture, and visual interest. Matching indicates picking identical colours, whereas coordinating is choosing different shades in the same colour family. By adding in slight variety you enhance differences without disconnecting from a harmonious look.
Matching identical colours often leads to a staged and forced aesthetic that can overshadow the content of the image (the people!). By coordinating your colours you are subtly referencing the common thread but celebrating the uniqueness within each component. You prioritize complimenting each other over copying!
I chose to do a surprise mother’s day shoot one year and I asked everyone to wear shades of blue balanced with a neutral. The different combinations of soft blues and cream with bolder blues and hits of white gave the visual a calming and cohesive look, and my mom, in the brightest blue, really popped!"
Most of my portrait sessions are outside on a local beach or park in Sidney or North Saanich. While I don’t want clients to be “matchie matchie” I also don’t want them to clash in their colour scheme . What advice could you give to a family when they are planning what to wear for a family portrait? Do you have any words of wisdom?
"It's important to consider the setting when choosing your outfits. A mismatched aesthetic (stilettos on the beach) pulls the viewers focus to the incongruity rather than to the intended feeling of the visual. By selecting neutral tones that compliment an outdoor environment you integrate yourself into the setting in a seamless way. This doesn’t mean you have to avoid pops of colour, but doing so in a controlled and intentional way can make for a more dynamic photo. You could find a common colour to include in a tie, scarf, or even lipstick as a common thread between each person"
Thank you Devon for providing such valuable insight.