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What to wear for family photos

Jul 7, 2021

Just the thought of choosing outfits for family photos is enough to send all of us mamas into a panic! It’s probably the number one question we get asked after clients book their family sessions with us … but what should we wear?!

It’s daunting, I know, but it doesn’t have to be hard! The most important part of your session is capturing the real moments and love your family shares. We’re here to help with the rest! The tips and inspiration below will help you pick out what to wear without making an emergency trip to Target or paying for overnight shipping from Zara Kids. 😉

Choose complementary colors, don’t match

When picking outfits, we recommend keeping in mind the word “complement” rather than “match.” For example, if Dad is wearing a blue and pink pastel plaid shirt, Mom may want to choose a long, soft blue dress. It can also be a great idea to choose “color-families,” such as pastels or jewel tones.

Consider your home decor

We cannot stress enough how important it is to print your photos! Since a few of your family photos are likely to be hanging in your house, make sure the clothing you choose blends well with the color scheme of your home.

Keep the location and season in mind

Another helpful tip to consider when deciding what to wear is the location of your photoshoot. Are you going to the beach where there are plenty of neutral tones? You can probably get away with any pop of color. Will you be under a tree with lots of greenery or bright foliage? Might be better to go with neutral colors there! Select a color palette that will complement the background and not compete with it.

Choose practical pieces

This is important for every family member but especially when you’re choosing outfits for your kids! Kids can sometimes be uncooperative for photos, but if they’re also uncomfortable you could be in for a lonnnnng session! Make sure everyone is comfortable in their clothes to get the best smiles. 🙂 

Use accessories to add texture and change your look

Layers and accessories are the quickest way to change up your look or add interest to your outfit! Think scarves, blazers, cardigans, belts, jewelry, fun socks, and hats. Accessories can even help tie your outfits together! If someone in your family is wearing a navy jacket, adding a pop of navy with a necklace or hat can easily make your looks feel more cohesive.

Avoid distracting patterns, bright colors, and large logos

Don’t be scared of patterns and prints! They can work great in moderation. Try one statement piece (for instance, a colorful floral dress for mom) and one subtle pattern (son’s plaid shirt) and then keep the rest of the family more simple. To keep things from looking boring, include textures (think chunky knits, tulle, chambray, etc). Avoid tiny prints, especially small plaid and small stripes and large logos.

Try on your clothes in advance

This sounds silly, but we’ve heard “we bought these shoes months ago, but he just tried them on today and they don’t fit” so many times, so we feel like it needs to be said … please try on your outfits in advance! Check yourself from all angles in the mirror to make sure you’re happy with how you look. Try sitting, squatting, leaning, etc. and make sure you can move around freely! Your kids’ clothes should be comfortable enough to move around in so that we can play and have fun during your session (think tickling, running, and spinning). 

If you’re looking for a little more outfit inspo, head over to our Pinterest boards to browse outfit ideas for the entire family! Or, if you have a great dress in mind but don’t know what colors will complement it, Design Seeds is a great resource for searching by color.

Hope that helps! If you have any questions or just need a second opinion before your session, we’re always here for you!

Brittney & Caleb



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