Guest Post: Maggie Keegan Gross Photography

Hello Pixie Mama readers! I'm Maggie. I'm a portrait photographer in Los Angeles, wife to a bearded tech nerd, and mom to an extremely energetic three-year-old girl.


 As a photographer, mom, and blogger who frequently posts pictures of my own family I get asked one question all the time: "Your family looks great together! How did you choose your outfits?" It took me a while before I could properly answer that question. It just comes naturally to me. I think in terms of colors. Maybe I have some form of Synesthesia, or maybe I just love color. I don't know what it is, but different days and different seasons feel like different colors to me. I have a need to coordinate colors in all areas of my life. Which is why, when my family goes out together, I usually make sure our outfits are color-coordinated. So, when people ask me how I choose our outfits, it seems obvious to me because I do it all the time, not just for photo shoots! After some careful thought and introspection about how I do what I do and what I like to see my photo clients do, I came up with some helpful tips: 

Make sure that your outfits don’t distract from your faces! You want your faces, and especially your eyes to be the star of the image. So, choose tops that are solid and relatively free of details and embellishments. Prints and patterns can be distracting, even when they look great in person. If you love pattern and details (As we know Polly does!), keep them below the waist. A cute patterned skirt looks fantastic with a solid top. Please don’t wear the exact same outfits! You don’t want to look like the wait staff at your favorite family restaurant! In the 90s the “everyone in white shirts and khakis or black shirts and jeans” look became very popular, you saw it in everyone’s family portraits. But listen folks, it’s 2011 and you can do better than that! You can still go well together without matching exactly. Complement each other without being identical. Choose three to four complementary colors and then wear different combinations of those colors, with each person wearing at least two of the colors to tie them in with the rest of the group. Here is an example from some family portraits that my dear friend Amy Schubert of Teegan Photography did for us a couple years ago:

You can see that I chose colors that are complementary: Blue, Pink, and Yellow, and then made sure that we each had at least two of those colors on. I wore blue with pink shoes, my daughter, Eleanor, was in yellow with pink shoes and my husband, Josh, had pink and blue in his tie. And we made sure to stay in similar tones of those colors. We were all in bright blue, bright yellow, bright pink, rather than a mix of brights, pastel, or jewel tones. Reflect your personal style. Don’t go out and buy outfits that you would never otherwise wear. Match your outfits with the style and personality of your family. You want your portraits to reflect who you really are as a family, not who you think you should be or who you think other people want you to be. Now take this info and give your favorite local photographer a call (that would be me if you're in Southern California) to book that annual family portrait session! You can check out my work at Maggie Keegan Gross Photography, read about my family's hectic, but always entertaining life at Making Me Cranky, or follow me on facebook and twitter!

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