What to wear to a family photo session | Wheeling, WV family photographer

Deciding what to wear in family photos can be just as challenging as finding a good photographer. These are photos you are going to display in your home and cherish for years to come. It can seem overwhelming when considering what to wear but it doesn’t need to be. Hopefully this post will help you choose the perfect outfit for you and your family!

Coordinate. Don’t match!

As you’re coordinating your outfit with your family, keep in mind that your outfits will look the most cohesive on camera when the color palette and wardrobe pieces coordinate, but don’t actually “match.” I recommend that you avoid thinking about “matching,” and instead think about what “fits” together. This will create more visual interest, and allow each personality to shine through.

The goal for coordinating a family is to visually break up the colors and shades so that you’re not all wearing the same color on top and bottom. The more you can mix that up, the better. I encourage you to think about planning each outfit with “dominant colors” and “accent colors” in mind. A dominant color is the color that you see the most in an outfit, while an accent has a smaller piece of visual real estate. When you’re planning each family member’s outfit, if you can aim for each person to have a different dominant color, and then tie in and vary the accent colors, it’s going to look great all together.

If you have multiple children, don’t feel like you need to put them all in the same type of outfit. For example, one of your daughters could wear a dress and flats, while the other wears a skirt and boots. One of your sons could wear a bow tie, while the other one wears suspenders. Mixing up the wardrobe pieces will bring a great visual interest to the photos.


Color palette

When choosing colors for your outfits, I recommend selecting softer, lighter tones and more muted shades. Camera loves shades of soft pink and muted blues, mixed with sophisticated light neutrals like heather gray, creams, leather brown and white. Feel free to vary the shades of the colors, too. That softer color palette fits beautifully into a natural environment, and can easily be paired in so many different ways.

Try to avoid characters, logos, graphics and texts. They can be pretty distracting and can date a photo quickly. I would also recommend staying away from patterns like plaid and pinstripes.  A floral print or polka dot blouse, dress or skirt is a different story. They could be okay in moderation! Just make sure that either just one person wears it or the pattern is subtle and complimentary.

Layers and Accessories

These are the quickest way to take your outfits from average to amazing! Think scarves, blazers, cardigans, jewelry (statement necklace!), flower crowns and hats for ladies and girls. Ties, bow ties, pocket squares, belts, tie clips, suspenders, vests and watches are sharp complements to any outfit for men and boys alike.

For Her

Dresses and skirts look most stunning because they really flatter every female body. Long, full-length, flowy dresses and skirts look amazing on camera because they bring extra movement to the photos. If you’re an expecting mother, I always recommend floor-length gowns or maxi dresses. These dresses create the best silhouettes to flatter your figure and really highlight your bump.

Don’t forget about the shoes! I’d say heels are the way to go! They elongate women’s legs, making them look fabulous!

For Him

Long, fitted pants and closed-toed shoes are the most sophisticated and masculine looks for men.  It’s best to leave the shorts, sandals and jeans at home, too, as well as any pants that are loose or baggy. Suit pants, dress pants or colored pants with button-down shirt work best. Solid shades of gray or navy are a strong complement to most women’s outfits. Layers on men look great on camera so blazers, vests and coats up the level of any look. Brown leather dress shoes complement almost every look, whether he’s wearing a full suit or a blazer and colored pants.


Let the kids have input

Make sure that the children can move freely in their outfits and that they are not going to be pulling and scratching in their new clothes. If your daughter hates wearing dresses, don’t force her to wear one for picture day. Happy kids make for happy photos!

These photos will be hanging on your walls and treasured for years to come. By choosing simple, classic clothes you will help give your images a timeless feel. Remember, there is no such thing as “too dressed up” when it comes to your portrait session, so don’t be afraid to have some fun!

If you are interested in booking a family session with me, scroll down and fill out my portrait contact form! Can’t wait to hear from you!


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