What to wear for family photos / portraits

Thinking about what to wear for a family photo session can be easy by following a few simple tips. 

What to wear for family photos is a question I get asked often, my advice is always to not over think it, I have come up with a few simple tips that should set you on the right path to coordinating your family for your photo shoot.

what to dress grandchildren for family photos

1. Be true to your family 

Don't make Dads and sons wear a tie if it is not what they would normally wear, that may be too formal for them and then they are feeling uncomfortable instead of relaxing for the session. You also have to think of where you are having the photos... a tie on a windy beach is just going to go everywhere. If your family are a no shoes family then by all means go barefoot, be comfortable and be relaxed. If you, your hubby or kids are wearing something they don’t like it will show in their faces. It will be hard for them to relax and laugh for photos. In general, picking clothes from your existing closets will ensure you’re putting everyone in clothes that they like.

what to wear family photo ideas

2. Colours that work together

Find a colour palette / colour scheme that suits you. Have a look in your cupboards, we tend too have certain colour traits right there.... try keep eveybody within those colours you choose, try different shades, textures or styles.

coordinating the family for photographs
what to dress kids for family portraits

3. Lay the outfits out together

Gather your outfits together and lay them on the bed, this is a great way to see if they coordinate together, if in doubt take a photo and send it to me, I am always happy to help you make great choices. It is far easier to swap and change the outfits while they are lying on a bed than to make the family change their clothing over and over, this will just upset everyone.

 

outfit ideas for family photos
outfit colour ideas for family photos

4. Don't be afraid of floral or prints

Don't be afraid to wear floral or prints, these can be very flattering, just be aware of your surrounding environment of where you will be having your photo shoot, you want these to all compliment each other. Try not to have too many different floral or patterns within your family's choice of clothing as this could be quite distracting and take away from you as a whole.

 

can I wear stripes or patterns for family photos
flower patterns to wear for outdoor family photos
flower patterns for maternity family photos

5. Don't use shirts with logos

These often date very quickly and can be very distracting in photos. Most of the time you won't even see the whole logo. So tell those Dads to leave their old faithful Iron Maiden shirts at home

 

 

family portrait clothes idea

6. Cover the nappies/diapers

With little kids it is lovely to see them in dresses or skirts but please put a nappy/diaper cover on to hide it, they just look terrible in photos. Also it is a great idea to put a fresh nappy/diaper on right before the session, nothing worse than a super full nappy/diaper hanging in the photos.

how to dress for kids portraits
kids outfit ideas
bold patterns for family photos

7. Haircuts

Don't get a haircut the day before the session especially for the boys, because if it is a really short back and side style it will leave a white line around the hairline, honestly this looks silly. Get a haircut the week before this will make all the difference.

 

outfit ideas for family portraits

8. Hair and makeup

Style your hair naturally. Go to the hairdresser get them to give you a blow wave or some curls or if you are anything like me wash and wear is my go to. Same for makeup, don't go trying out that trendy fluro orange eye shadow  you saw in a magazine, save it for another time. Instead, choose natural makeup that makes you feel beautiful, then add a light layer of powder to reduce shine. I am definitely not saying don't get your hair and makeup done it is a great idea and will make you feel amazing. Just don't go over the top and make it not you...

 

matching the family for photos

9. Look at your home decor

This may seem odd. What does your home decor have to do with family picture outfits? A lot actually. This is where you will be displaying the photos you want to make sure the colors of your clothes go with the color scheme of your home.

what to wear for teenagers photo session
coordinating outfits for portraits

 

10. Wearing stripes in family photos

Not all of us can pull off wearing stripes. Horizontal stripes can make a figure look wider when photographed. Vertical lines make one look slender and tend to follow the curves of a body.

 

 

family photo outfit ideas
outfit for forest session family photos

This is my top tip for a fun and relaxing family photo session

IGNORE THE KIDS, yes.... I did just say ignore the kids. Once you have introduced me to the family I will gently remind you to IGNORE the kids. This is because I want and need to get to know them and have a rapport with them. If you are too busy watching the kids or telling them off because you don't want them to waste the nice lady's time, the photos will look terrible. I have 3 kids I know what it is like but honestly this is the best advice, nothing worse than me getting the kids to finally all look at once and mum and dad are looking at kids scowling.... let them be, let me get them to do what I need them to do. I have 3 teenage girls and boy I will get nothing but grumpy faces from them if I kept at them in front of someone, it amazes me how by ignoring them I can achieve so much more.

what to wear for beach family photos

Even after sharing all these tips, I always remind clients that there’s really no such thing as a “wrong” wardrobe choice — that is, if they absolutely love what they’re wearing. What’s important to me as a photographer is that the session is an enjoyable experience for the whole family, everyone should be relaxed and have some fun! At the end of the day, there’s no amount of clothing, hair, or makeup that can distract from a truly special moment between family…