Are You Lost When it Comes to Picking out What to Wear for your Family Pictures?


Congratulations!  You've found your perfect photographer, and are ready to start planning your photo session!

Now you can begin to search for the perfect outfit for you and your family.  Pinterest is calling out to give you inspiration. No sweat, right? If you’re like most planners I know, choosing the right outfit can be intimidating. Most of us aren’t fashionistas to begin with. Frequently, we are behind the camera recording the memories of our lives instead of in the pictures themselves. So when faced with the dreaded “What to wear”, we usually wait until the last minute to throw something together.  So, here are 3 easy steps for choosing the perfect look! 

Step One: Pick a Style

Do you live in jeans and a comfy t-shirt? Do you prefer to get dressed up? Are these pictures for a Christmas or Hanukkah card? Special occasion or multi-generational session? You want to make sure your style matches your purpose for the most successful photography session. 

You should also consider whether you prefer a posed or candid style. There are benefits to both styles, but posed sessions are usually more formal or very stylized.  If you’re thinking about going out and getting some new duds, you can find great things at places such as Stitch Fix or Trunk Club.  

*For family pictures you want to be comfortable in what you wear – any discomfort you feel will show in your pictures.  This also means wearing comfortable shoes! This is one of the most important pieces of advice I can give. If your shoes look pretty but make you shift your weight every 30 seconds for relief, it will affect the finished product. Comfortable shoes and clothes = comfort in your session. 

Simple accessories won’t overwhelm, and will tie the whole look together.

Step Two: Start with your own closet

Find a favorite piece (or two) that fits your objective for the session. Most people have certain colors or styles that make them feel especially happy and beautiful and these are a great place to begin. Moms – solid colors are always a great choice in a dress (after all, you are the anchor of your family), and are a easy to accessorize to coordinate with the rest of your family! If it’s warm outside, consider an outfit that does not show perspiration (sweat stains are extremely difficult to edit out, and sometimes not possible). If it’s cooler, layering adds dimension to your individual look.  This is also helpful for coordinating with your family!

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Step Three: Location, Location, Location

Once you’ve chosen whether you are going to be beach chic or herd your family to a pumpkin patch, your decision becomes a lot easier. Location can also help you narrow down the style of photography you are interested in for your session. For example, many family sessions on the beach feature loose, comfortable clothing or romantic, flowing dresses and skirts. On the other hand, a garden, forest, or field will need an outfit that can stand out from the background. Trust me you do not want to look like your head is growing out of a bush because you match the background too well! 

  1. Think of a place where all of you will be comfortable. Is your child or fur baby a runner? Is your spouse allergic to pollen? Are you okay with your outfit getting mud, dirt, sand, or leaves on it? Is there an additional fee to take pictures at the location? 
  1. Is this a place where you can spend 30 minutes or more taking pictures in one location? Will you need a fan, umbrella, or ice water to avoid overheating? Do you need to avoid certain times of the day because of the tide or overly direct sunlight? 
  1. If you are using props, are you comfortable with them being handled by the photographer or your family members? 
  1. Would you like suggestions from your photographer? If you already know the style you want in your session, recommendations for location are much easier! 

My Top Tips for Choosing Outfits For Your Photography Session

Avoid small patterns, horizontal stripes, and clothes with logos on them (these do not translate well in photography).

Pull in accessories (headbands, scarves, jewelry) to help give your outfit depth.

If choosing a trendy pattern, for one outfit, the others should be a bit more subdued.

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Sleeveless, off the shoulder, and strappy tops and dresses can highlight unusual tan lines.

If wearing a bold print, family members should wear more basic and complimentary colors.

Pick a color scheme for coordinating your family (See my tips on color coordination here).

Coming Soon

How to Make Your Session All About Your Family!

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