top of page

What to Wear for Family Photos

One of the most difficult things to do when preparing for family photos is to decide what everyone is wearing. You probably want to wear something that isn't too difficult while still being representative of your family dynamic. You know these pictures will be treasured for years to come so it matters what you wear.

Some families will have everyone wear jeans with either white or black shirts. While this is an easy way to prevent clashing, it tends to minimize the individuality of family members. Also tends to give the photos a more planned and rigid feel. When planning family outfits, you should avoid active wear such as random t-shirts, tennis shoes, and yoga pants. You should also aim to avoid things such as crocks, dirty shoes, and clothing that is too tight as these things will not be improved by being included in family photos. As you choose your outfits, you should also remember to avoid overly loose clothing and bulky overcoats in the fall and winter months. These items have a tenancy to make you look larger than you actually are in photos and can also take away from the aesthetic of your carefully planned outfits.

Regardless of what you decide to wear, be sure everyone is comfortable in what they are wearing. You don't want to be photographed in something that makes you physically uncomfortable or self-conscious as your photos will likely show it. Below, I'll discuss several ways to coordinate outfits for a natural and effortless look!

Wear All Neutrals

Neutrals are a nearly foolproof strategy for groups. Neutral colors will not clash with each other. Combinations of black, white, cream, beige, brown, & grey are solid options. You could also add denim or a few pops of red or navy. In moderation, an animal print can even be considered a neutral. Neutrals can be a great guideline for large groups of people. Everyone's personal style will be able to shine through, everyone can wear something they love, and it will seamlessly look great together! It could also be fun to have everyone create an outfit using black, white, and beige, or any other variation of specific neutrals. Navy, cream, and beige with some red pops can also look great. The couple below wore neutrals with a pop of green. In the second photo, the family wore all neutrals for a coordinated, but effortless look.

Start with a Fabulous Print

This is a great technique, particularly for smaller families. If someone has a great dress or shirt that has a cool print, have everyone else match their outfit to colors in the printed article of clothing. You already know you like the colors together since you like the item. The biggest thing to remember is to avoid having multiple people wearing prints. The exception to this rule is to use a couple prints with significantly different sized prints that still coordinate colors. An example could be a daughter with a small print floral dress and a mother with a large print polka-dot dress. You also may be able to use a small floral print with a large flannel print. The couple below chose a printed floral dress and then added a button down shirt that tied into the color of the print of the dress. They look great!

Complimentary Colors

This option builds on the neutrals concept, by choosing 2-3 colors for family members to pair with your neutrals. The way this works is to look at the color wheel below and choose colors that are opposite each other.

complimentary colors

Yellow, green, and purple could be a good combination for spring. Pink, purple, and green could also be good for spring. Blue, green, and red could be festive for the winter. Orange, yellow, and blue can be good for the fall. Once you've decided on your colors, you should also decide whether you want to go for pastel colors or vibrant colors. Both options are good, but you still need to coordinate within your group. The family below opted for a vibrant orange, gold, and blue. They also mixed in neutrals in the form of khaki, brown, and denim pants.

I've also seen a continuation of these ideas where there's a family with 4 or more people with a mix of boys and girls. It can be very cute for all the guys to have the same outfit (i.e. the same slacks and button down) and the girls to have the same or similar outfits (i.e. the same or a very similar dress).


The most important thing you can wear to a family photo session is a smile. This sounds cheesy (pun intended), but the more people you have in the photograph, the more difficult it becomes to get a good picture of everyone. Before the shoot, you should do as much as you can to be sure everyone is in a good mood before the session. It's very difficult to fake a genuine smile so you'll love your photos more if everyone is genuinely happy and getting along. I love how genuine the photo below feels since the grandfather and grandson were having a good time together during the session.

Once the session starts, it's the photographer's job to make the experience as fun as possible. The photo below is one of my favorites. The little boy was starting to get tired and unwilling to smile, but we were able to make the session fun by doing funny faces, and we were able to get a really great photo in the process.

If it's time to get some new photos of you and your family, I'd love to talk to you about your next session! I'm always happy to discuss clothing options!


Commenting has been turned off.
Let's Talk!
bottom of page