What to Wear for A Family Photo Session

March 30, 2022

Kelsey Justice


You’ve booked a photographer! Now, WHAT TO WEAR???

Deciding what to wear for your family photoshoot 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. It can seem overwhelming when considering what to wear but it doesn’t need to be.

When it comes to what to wear for photos, make sure you plan ahead. You’ll want you and your family to look and feel your best! Let me also say, that these are suggestions to make it easier for you if you are in need of some help, but by all means, you do YOU at your shoot. There are truly no rules.

First of all, fancy isn’t always the way to go. You want to start by selecting clothing that allows the people you love so much to stand out in your photo but be comfortable and true to who they are. 

You can never go wrong with selecting a few focal colors and textured clothing items, as well as considering the season. Focus on accomplishing a cohesive look and dressing in outfits that will allow your photos to create a timeless feel.  Of course, the most important part of your family portrait is to document the love that your family shares. We’re here to help you with the rest. These family photo outfit ideas below will allow you to get a one-of-a-kind portrait that has a close-knit family feel.

Family Photo Outfit Ideas

Allow your family to be the captivating focal point of your shots during any season with these family photo outfit do’s and don’ts. Consider these coordinating outfit ideas when choosing family photo outfit ideas:

  1. Plan your outfits in advance. Once you book your session, start thinking about what to wear for family photos 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 the day before you may run into an issue of clothes not fitting, being dirty or needing to be dry cleaned. The more time you allow yourself to plan your outfits, the less stressed you’ll be. Plus, it never hurts to have options especially when you’re dressing your kids. Discuss the selections with your children (and/or significant other) ahead of time, so you can avoid a disagreement on the day of the shoot. Not a good day for tears!

  2. Choose coordinating colors, not matching. Knowing what colors to wear for family photos can be tricky. 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 overly matchy. 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.

  3. Consider your home decor. You’ll want to consider your home decor style when picking out what to wear in family photos Since a few of these photos will most likely be hanging in your home and on display for a long time, make sure that the clothing you select blends in seamlessly with the color scheme of your home.

  4. 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. Think about the walking involved to get to the photography location. It could be muddy in spots and might be a good idea to take a change of shoes. 

  5. Use the season to help select color schemes for your outfits. Each season is associated with different colors, weather, and landscapes which will be an important item to consider when picking out what everyone will be wearing. I do tend to prefer muted tones or neutral colors because they usually look the best in photos. 

  6. 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’re going to be in for a long photoshoot. Don’t make it more difficult on yourself or your photographer to get the perfect shot. Make sure that everyone is comfortable with their clothing to ensure all smiles. Make sure dresses are not too short (unless you have something underneath them), because you will probably do sitting and movement poses. 

  7. Pick out accessories to add texture to your photos. Accessories are great style pieces that add to your individual outfits and can even tie family members’ outfits together. For example, if Dad is wearing a red and black plaid coat then adding a plaid hat to your daughter’s outfit will tie the pattern in for a more cohesive feel. Accessories will also give your photos variation. Think scarves, hats, gloves, and belts.

  8. Select an outfit that is appropriate year-round. One of the more popular times for families to take their portraits seems to be around the holidays (when the kids are home from school and everyone is in the same place). The holidays may seem like the perfect excuse to bring out the Santa hats and incorporate props into your family portraits. However, you’ll want these photos to be displayed all year round. So, try to avoid purely seasonal clothing.

  9. Limit distracting patterns and large logos. Not everyone in the photo should wear patterns as it may distract the final image. Including articles of clothing with multiple patterns or large logos can become a distraction. Strong prints and abstract patterns can overpower your photo. Avoid items that clash and stick to one pattern or textural element for your portrait session.

  10. Lay each family member’s outfit together while planning. This way you’ll have a good idea of how the pieces will look next to each other. This will allow you a better idea of what works and what doesn’t. Plus, this way, you can make sure that you’re not missing any essential clothing items.

  11. Select outfits that will make for a timeless portrait. 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.

  1. Have fun playing stylist and let your family’s personality shine.

Fall Family Picture Outfit Ideas

There are recognizable markers that trigger the “fall feeling” in each of us. With the weather cooling down, the leaves changing, and a trip to the pumpkin patch in the near future, fall is full of inspiration you can use for your outfit choices. If you are taking your family photos during the fall season, incorporate seasonal earth tones, rich maroons, or burnt oranges. Wear layers and have fun playing in the leaves. Use the following Fall styling tips to guide your clothing selections.

Styling Tips For Fall:

  • Fall outfits are all about the layers! Plus, wearing layers makes for a quick outfit change too.
  • Take advantage of the colorful fall leaves and let them inspire your outfit choices.
  • Use fall accessories to add texture to your photos. Think big scarves and stylish boots.
  • Plaid shirts are a popular clothing selection for fall family photos. Think about dressing a few of your members in this season’s appropriate pattern.

Fall Color Schemes:

  • Brown and Maroon
  • Denim, Mustard, Muted Crimson
  • Navy, Tan, Cream
  • Denim and Tan

Winter Family Photo Outfit Ideas

With everyone home for the holidays, the winter season is one of the most popular times of the year for family photos. There are many aspects of the winter season that are sure to spark outfit ideas. Classic red and green holiday colors and plaid patterns are a few of these style trends that are perfect for your photos. The holiday season is all about the flannels, the furry scarves, and the cable-knit sweaters. Get ready to bundle up.

Styling Tips For The Holidays:

  • The cooler weather of the winter season allows for some great accessories for your family photos. Think scarves, beanies, and coats!
  • Sweaters are very appealing clothing options for holiday family photos. Have the boys wear collared shirts with a sweater over them while the girls wear matching cable knits.
  • For a cute holiday twist, wear matching pajamas in some of the shots.
  • Add a pop of color to your outfit with a bright red lipstick perfect for the holidays.

Holiday Color Schemes:

  • Navy and Crimson
  • Whites and Beiges
  • Crimson, Beige, Denim
  • Red, Grey, Black

Spring Family Photo Outfit Ideas

Spring is the perfect time to take your photo idea outdoors. Choose from beautiful pastel colors that are more prominent in the springtime, along with white and blue hues. Other trendy springtime outfit ideas include floral patterns, which can be incorporated throughout accessories or clothing items. Dresses and skirts are also popular for spring family photos. These springtime trends paired with simple basics will give your family photos a polished and fresh look.

Styling Tips For Spring:

  • A great pattern for springtime is floral. Select statement pieces featuring your favorite florals.
  • Cheerful hues will really make your springtime family portraits pop.
  • Bows in the little ones’ hair are the perfect springtime accessory and a great way to get their hair out of their eyes.
  • If you’re taking family portraits in the warmer months take advantage of the weather and pick out skirts as well as dresses.

Spring Color Schemes:

  • Blush and Muted Teal
  • Blush and White
  • Light Blue, Tan, White
  • Navy, Yellow, White

Summer Family Photo Shoot Outfit Ideas

A summertime family photoshoot offers beautiful landscapes for your photos and warmer weather. The season reflects a laid-back vibe that can be mirrored throughout your family’s outfit selections. Take advantage of light cottons, pretty sheers, denim, and slip into your sandals for a casual look. If your family is taking a summer vacation, use this time to take your family portraits. No matter where you may be during summertime, you can take advantage of the following summer color arrangements and styling tips to guide your selections.

Styling Tips For Summer:

  • Select more cheerful colors for your summertime portraits.
  • Take advantage of light cotton, pretty sheers, and lace. Light and breezy outfits are also great for the summer heat.
  • Gingham patterns for the boys and summer dresses for the girls.
  • Don’t feel the need to be too formal during your summer photo session. Try slipping on your sandals and frolicking on the beach. You’re sure to get some candid shots!

Summer Color Schemes:

  • Beige and White
  • Burnt Orange and Muted Teal
  • Light Blue, Tan, White
  • Blue, Green, Yellow

Now that you’ve got plenty of styling tips and tricks up your sleeve, choosing outfits for your family photoshoot should be a breeze. Each time you glance at your family portraits, you’ll be happy to relive that moment in time for years to come.

If you are interested in booking a family shoot with me, contact me today. 

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