what to wear
for FAMILY portraits

Deciding what to wear in family photos can be just as challenging as finding the perfect photographer. These are photos you are going to hang on your walls and cherish for years to come. What subjects are wearing in a portrait is just as important as all the other elements such as: lighting, location, and posing. Poorly selected clothing can really take away from an otherwise really great portrait. It can seem overwhelming when considering what to wear but it doesn’t need to be! I’m here to help :) Use these tips to help you pick out the perfect wardrobe for you and your family. 


Long gone are the days of everyone wearing a white shirt and matching denim jeans. Instead, I suggest picking 2-3 colors and picking out clothes within this color scheme. Start off with colors that coordinate well. You can accomplish a cohesive look without every family member wearing the exact same outfit. In fact, that can seem a little too matchy-matchy these days. By selecting a color scheme and using hues that complement each other, you can achieve a more natural look across the board. Pick two main colors and then add softer tones to accent and complete your color scheme.


Keep location in mind. Another helpful item to consider when trying to decide what to wear in your family photos is the location of your photoshoot. Are you going to be on the beach where there are plenty of neutral tones or under a tree surrounded by bright fall foliage? Select a color palette for your outfits that will complement the setting. Pick out items of clothing in colors that will complement your background and not compete with it. Use the season to help select color schemes for your outfits. Each season is associated with different colors, weather and landscapes which can be helpful to consider when picking out colors and what everyone will be wearing.


These photos will be hanging on your walls and treasured for years to come. By choosing simple, classic clothes you will help give your images a timeless feel. If all else fails, when you look in your closet to find the perfect family portrait outfits think about staying classic. You’ll want your photos to be timeless. Styles come and go but, your photos are forever.


Start thinking of the clothes you want to wear right away. You may think certain clothes will fit your kids or that one dress is clean. If you wait until the day of or day before you may run into an issue of clothes not fitting, being dirty or need to be dry cleaned.

Choose practical clothing items. This is an important item to keep in mind for every family member but, especially when you are thinking about what to dress your little ones in. If your kids are not comfortable then you are going to be in for a long photo shoot. Don’t make it more difficult on yourself or photographer to get the perfect shot. Make sure that everyone is comfortable with their clothing to ensure nothing but smiles.


Limit distracting patterns and large logos. Articles of clothing with multiple patterns or large logos can be very distracting. Strong prints and abstract patterns can overpower your photo. I like to recommend one piece of patterned clothing per family. 


Textures and layers like sweaters, scarves, and belts add another layer and a little more to your portraits. Don’t be afraid of adding them to your outfit choices. Keep jewelry simple and minimalistic because too much of it draws attention from your face.


When shopping for clothes for kids, look at stores that typically have color coordinating collections. You can then purchase clothes for all the children from one store and you know their clothes will coordinate well.


Your little one may LOVE their favorite Disney Character shirt but you may want to skip any character or graphic shirts for the family photo session. Just like patterns, characters and graphics shirts are very distracting.


If getting a haircut or new hairdo, make your appointment at least 1 weeks prior to your portrait session. Fresh hair cuts rarely look their best the same or next day. You'll need some time to live with your new look before your portrait session. Also, style your hair the way you’d normally style it while wearing your style of outfits. For example, you wouldn’t get a fancy up-do with jeans, or wear a ponytail with an evening gown, etc. This way, your portraits will be more timeless and represent who you are.