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Wardrobe wizardry (part 2) | Toronto family photography

Photo of family embracing in wildflower field - by Willow and Wild Photography.

In my last blog post, we discussed my first wardrobe tip: Finding the sweet spot between casual and tailored so that your wardrobe helps tell the story of family in your family photos. Today, we carry on the wardrobe discussion with the next tip: Dress with your backdrop in mind. When preparing for a photo shoot, remember that your backdrop lends as much colour to the overall image as your wardrobe, so it's important that your wardrobe colours (a) are in sync with your surroundings, (b) are not washed by out by your surroundings, and (c) do not blend completely into the background.

Photo of young boy playing on beach - by Willow and Wild Photography.

Let's start by pretending we are doing photos on a beach. Beaches are typically dominated by neutral colours. A neutral backdrop is fairly forgiving when it comes to choosing your wardrobe -- you simply need to select colours that don't overpower your environment. Switch out that royal blue for a navy or grey-blue shade, or swap out the scarlet for a wine-toned red. A royal purple would look strangely out of place on a beach while a lilac would feel more casual and instantly more "in sync" with its surroundings. Think a bit less saturated and less vibrant when your backdrop is made up of pale blue sky, beige sand and grey rocks. You can also choose to use neutral shades against a neutral backdrop. Just be sure to mix a little warmth (tan and beige tones) in with whites, greys and blues to provide a sense of balance.

When you're in a wooded area or parkland that has fields and flowers, you want your wardrobe colours to be able to "compete" with the strong colours around you. A pale grey or pastel pink can be overwhelmed by late autumn sizzle, but the same colours would be stand out nicely against a cooler green summer palette. Blues do brilliantly against an autumn backdrop, as do many other tones that you would normally associate with Ontario's fall scenery: burgundy, deeper greens, burnt orange and plum. Ivory also provides a nice visual contrast against a warm autumn landscape; just be sure to repeat the ivory in more than one outfit so that it doesn't stand out like a bright light when you are photographed as a group.

Last but not least, select colours that don't make you camouflage into your surroundings. This is as simple as avoiding deep greens in a forested environment -- or brown if the trees have lost their leaves -- and passing on pale gold around late autumn grasses (choose a vibrant mustard instead). Keep this tip in mind as well if you are doing photos in your home. A grey t-shirt against a grey sofa or wall can look flat, and we don't want to be playing "Where is Waldo" with your photos!

Next up, we'll tackle "the mix" -- the combination of colour, neutral, solid, texture and pattern that is the stuff of great wardrobe coordination. Until then, if you have any questions or comments (or surprising colour combos that blew your mind), I'd love to know! Drop a comment below any time.


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