How to Choose Clothes For Your Family Portraits

The number 1 question we receive most often is “What should I wear for my family portrait?” And rightfully so, it can be challenging for sure to coordinate outfits between all family members. Well, we are here to help! We believe in the importance of dressing well for your family portrait because its true – the clothing you choose for your portrait session can make or break your portraits!

With over 14 years of photography experience here are some guidelines that we have found works really well for family portraits.

Dressy, cocktail attire has always been our favorite:

Women and girls should be in a dress that is either knee length or floor length. If not a dress then a nice blouse paired with upscale jeans and boots or a dressy pant suit can work well too.

Men and boys look best in outfits with button up shirts, vests, sweaters or collared shirts with suspenders.



We can’t emphasize enough the importance of dressing it up! Taking the time to get away from your every-day street clothes will help ensure that the artwork from your session lives on the walls of your home as a reminder of what you love most about this time in life with your family.



Choose ONE anchor piece, to start. This is where your color scheme will come from and from there, you can start to piece together the rest of the outfits. This piece can be that floral dress that you splurged on because it looked so good on, that button up dress shirt that makes him feel like a million bucks, or that outfit you think your kid looks too cute in! It can be ANYTHING, so long as it has some colors in it that you can work from.



Grab more colored items. They can be solid or patterned, just make sure they go with that original anchor piece! In the portrait above the yellow cardigan on the right pulls out the yellow accent flowers in her sister’s floral dress. You could do the same with a men’s plaid shirt – say it has navy blue, burnt orange and white in it. You can then pair it with a solid orange dress or  a fun navy blue floral dress!

Tip: Don’t be afraid of patterns! These can look GREAT in front of the camera! Just keep balance in mind and make sure to offset them with some solids.

Mix in neutrals. Let’s not forget neutrals! They play an important roll in bringing balance and coordination to the family portraits. Take the pieces you selected in your color palette and start mixing in some neutrals! Try khakis, whites, black, browns, grays, and blue jeans!

Tip: shades of green (like sage) can work as a neutral as well!

Things to avoid: bold, strong logos and/or lettering. These can be distracting in a photograph and take away from where we want the attention to be drawn – your loved one’s beautiful eyes! (avoid trying to match exact colors – unless it’s the same maker purchased at the same time, washed the same number of times, and with the same underclothes, it’s likely to not match)

Final words of advice: Make sure your kids are comfortable! To dress them for success, choose an outfit that they look good in but won’t fight you on because it’s too itchy, too tight, or the collar is suffocating them. This is probably the most helpful tip!

Remember to dress it up! This is your chance to put your best foot forward and create a family heirloom to last generations!

Still not sure what to wear? We’re happy to help! Give us a call or check out our Pinterest board here

We hope you enjoyed this little guide and that it relieves some stress when picking outfits for your next family photo session!