This is the most common question I am asked with family groups. And when dealing with multi-families it can be even more complex.
Definitely give your family some guidelines.
When a family says, “come as you are” it looks too unorganized, and the photos won’t have a level of polish that they could.
I like to tell people to pick a bright color, a coordinating color, and lastly two neutrals.
For example, I love blue, gray and tan/white with the picture below. I even love the variety of floral and patters.
I think they all go very well together and nothing stands out as too dominate.
Yellow, navy and gray/white.
I tell clients to put the bright color on the girls, but don’t over use the bright color.
Pink, navy and white/gray.
Also, I love stripes, but they should be used sparingly. They work well in small groups, but I would avoid having lots of stripes in large multi family groups.
The eye is drawn to the stripes and therefore anyone wearing stripes will stand out. It’s cute in these photos, but might not be desirable in a large group setting.
And green, navy and white/tan.
Colors to avoid: all Florescent colors.
They just don’t photograph well and bounce their color off everything.
Red also can be a difficult color as it also color casts. Red is very dominant. I would use it sparingly.
Pastels are fine as long as not everyone is wearing a pastel shirt. Your clothing needs darks and lights to help balance the portrait.
If you’re still struggling to start,
I tell people to start with something they love- a shirt or a dress, then build off that.
And keep in mind to stay away from logos and sayings on shirts that could distract from a timeless image.
Ultimately what you hang on the wall and adore day after day should capture the essence of your life and family.