Family Portraits: What To Wear?

family portraits what to wear guideI know from personal experience that one of the most stressful things about family pictures is figuring out what to wear!

In all of the years that I have shot family portraits, I have finally developed a formula that seems to work really well. In my mind, I can now pick-out a whole family’s outfits in just a few minutes. Following these suggestions (and my where-to-shop ideas!), hopefully you will be on your way to the perfectly styled portraits in no time!

1. Mom First. So often moms will choose her baby’s outfit first, and then dress the rest of the family around that. However, chances are that your baby looks cute no matter what he or she wears, am I right?! For family pictures, I want mom to choose her outfit first. One of my goals as a photographer is to make mom look (and feel) beautiful.

For moms, I suggest wearing a soft colored, flow-y dress. Both maxi dresses and shorter dresses look great, especially if they are nice and flowy. f mom doesn’t want to show her bare arms, there are some really cute dresses with long sleeves out there (see a few examples in the pictures below). You may not wear dresses in every day life, but they photograph beautifully and your portraits will have a soft, feminine look and feel.

2. The Right Color Palette. I have listed some examples of color palettes that work really well with my style of photography. As you can tell, I’m a fan of soft/muted colors (NOT pastels) that are mostly in the same color family. Pinks, blush, coral, blues, seafoam, grays, off-white/ivory. For best results, try to stick with one of the following color palettes that I have listed below when planning your outfits.

3. Where to Shop. It is no secret that I love shopping!  Here is a list of my suggested stores, either online or in-person:

  • For mom’s dress: Free People, Forever 21, Anthropologie, Nordstroms BP
  • For dad: J. Crew, J. Crew Factory, H&M, Zara, Banana Republic
  • For kids and baby: Zara, Baby Gap, Old Navy, Joyfolie (girls)

4. Keep it Simple. A family photo shoot is probably not the right time to wear bows that don’t stay in, straps that don’t stay up, and outfits that don’t stay put. Remember to keep it simple, relaxed, and comfortable. That way, we can focus all of our time on your family and the connection you have with one another.

5. Other Random Tips (that work!):

  • Keep patterns subtle. For smaller families, one pattern that pulls the colors together works well. In a larger family, two patterns (one organic/floral), one geometric (gingham/seersucker/stripes) that incorporates the other solid colors looks great.
  • Make sure not to put everyone in jeans. Usually just one personal in jeans, one in chinos, and the girls in skirts and dresses. Variety is key.
  • I LOVE denim. Personally, I always include someone in a denim shirt or one of the girls in a denim dress. This goes with any color palettes and adds instant texture.
  • I LOVE 0ff-white and ivory. I almost always include one person, but not everyone, in either off-white or ivory.


Sources, left to right: Gap kids, dress is from Forever 21, Dad’s shirt is J. Crew and pants are H&M, boy’s shirt J. Crew Factory, boy’s pants H&M.



Sources for above, left to right: girls’ dress is Zara, gladiator sandals are Joyfolie, Mom’s dress Free People, Dad’s shirt is J. Crew Factory and pants are H&M, boy’s shirt and shorts are J. Crew Factory.




Sources for above, left to right: Girls’ dress Zara, mom’s dress is Free People, boots are Joyfolie. Dad’s shirt is J. Crew Factory and pants are H&M, boys’ shirt is Gap and shorts are from J. Crew Factory.




Sources, left to right: Girls’ tulle dress is Joyfolie, mom’s dress is Forever 21, Dad’s blazer and pants are J. Crew Factory, boy’s shirt is J Crew Factory, pants are H&M, and moccasins are from Freshly Picked (found at Nordstroms).

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