What To Wear For Family Photos



How To Choose Clothes for Family Photos

As a family photographer, one of the questions I get the most is “What should I wear?” It seems easy enough, right? You pick out clothes for yourself (and probably some kids) every day. Why is it so difficult to pick out clothes for a family photo shoot that is maybe a half-hour long? It was definitely easier back in the day when everyone showed up in their matching white polos and high-waisted white washed jeans. Like most everything nowadays though, there are just SO MANY OPTIONS. Here are a few suggestions to hopefully make it easier and give you some confidence that everyone will look their best in your next set of family photos.

Start With Yourself

Find something you love. Do you live in a basic tee and jeans or leggings? Try an online stylist like Wantable. They have an option where you can have them style you for a specific event, like family photos. They will survey you on the areas you are self-conscious about and what you feel your best in. They will package up some options and ship them right to your door. You pay a $20 styling fee. That amount is applied toward any items you choose to keep.  Amazon Wardrobe is another option. It allows you to try on multiple items you handpick on Amazon and, again, you only pay for what you keep through this service. This is a great option for trying a style you’ve always been wanting to try but were hesitant to make the commitment; because there is no commitment! Both of these options don’t require you to leave your house or put on pants to purchase. I advise investing in both of these options about four weeks before your session to allow time for shipping and decision making.

Dress Your Family Around Your Outfit

Once you pick the outfit you love for yourself, curate the rest of your family’s photo outfits around it. Some things to keep in mind:

  • Avoid neon colors. The neon will cast a glow on everything around it and can be almost impossible to eliminate.
  • Only one person should have a large pattern. More than one large pattern and they will most likely clash. Small patterns are usually okay to pair with a big one. Solid colors are best.
  • Choose items that can create movement i.e. a flowy dress, duster, scarf, or a hat, to name a few.
  • Opt for a solid black sneaker if you don’t have “nice” shoes for your kids or husband.
  • Minimize the amount of white. Your eye is attracted to the brightest thing in a photo. If your Hubs is sporting a white polo, you may as well name that photo “Husband In White Polo” because that is where the attention will be.
  • Avoid dressing two people in the same color top. Your photographer will want to do a myriad of groupings and when the same color top is involved (especially black), it can be tricky to avoid looking like a two-headed person.
  • The same goes for black pants. Dark jeans are great but black can blend bodies together.
  • Unless it’s your thing, steer away from large logos.

Keep those guidelines in mind and check out a color wheel. A color wheel will give you the basics of which colors compliment others. Colors opposite from one another will compliment. Any three colors in a row will make a lovely color theme as well.  If you want to get real basic, blush, blue, nude, and black are complimentary on every skin tone/body type and will match beautifully.

Keep Your Own Style

I sometimes have Moms message me to get an opinion on an outfit that they would “never wear” outside of a photoshoot. I will always tell them that it’s not the right choice. If you’ve seen something on Pinterest that looks amazing, that doesn’t mean you have to replicate it in order for your photos to be amazing. Follow these few tips, be true to yourself, and your family will look great. Remember, after all, it’s not what you’re wearing but the connection between those in the photo that makes it beautiful.


Photographer credit: avenue81 photography

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Tif is a wife, mother to a passionate little boy and bold little girl, DIY connoisseur, mental health advocate, and an artist of many forms. She is a stay at home mom by day and creative industry business owner by night. Although she has spent most of her life in cities (Milwaukee, NYC, Chicago, and Las Vegas), her family moved to the Waukesha suburbs in 2018. Besides her family, she loves high fashion editorials, documentaries, people watching, Mexican food, and slam poetry.


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