Photoshoots can be a little daunting, so I've put together some quick tips on what to wear so you can go into your next family photoshoot with one less thing to worry about. (Hint: it’s all about coordinating colors and patterns!) These important tips will help you feel prepared, relaxed, and confident that you'll be lookin' on point for your family legacies.

I got you, boo.

So without further ado, let’s get into 10 tips on what to wear to your outdoor family photoshoot...

mother and two kids walking on a bridge

1.     Look at your home décor. This may seem weird, but bear with me for a sec. Do you like bright colors? Do you lean more toward neutral colors? Think about where you’ll be hanging these family photos in your home and make sure the colors of your clothes fit with your homes color scheme.

2.     Coordinate colors, not matching. Gone are the days of everyone wearing white or black shirts and blue jeans! Let personalities shine with colors. Pick a couple of colors and then choose clothes that will fit into this color scheme. Pinterest can be a great resource for defining a color palette! You can check out my pinterest board here for some quick insp.

3.     Limit patterns. Consider picking out one outfit for a member of your fam that has more colors or a fun pattern. Choose this outfit first. This will then give you plenty of colors to choose from for the rest of the outfits to pick your coordinating colors.

4.     Avoid all white or all black clothing. As mentioned earlier, your best choice is to coordinate colors than to go all white. Another reason to avoid white is because it’s very easy to blow out parts of your shirt in photographs, causing it to lose detail. What I mean by 'blowing out' is the shirt no longer has any of the details; it’s completely white as if the sun is shining brightly on it. The same can be said with all black, it’s easy to have clipping in photographs on black clothes and the detail is lost. 'Clipping' is where the black clothes lose the depth and details.

Black being minimizing is somewhat of an outdated tip – especially if you’ve dressed the entire family in brighter colors and you’re the only one in all black. Your eye will go directly to the person that is different. However, black works in that it hides shadows and highlights that normally show our shape. You can use this to your advantage if you’re self-conscious about your stomach, just make sure to add something fun and bright like a scarf or fun boots that will pull the look of the family all together. It will also draw the eye away from the fluffier bits. 😉

5.     Texture can be your friend. Texture communicates feeling through sensing. Adding textures such as scarves, lace, or belts can really add depth and interest to a photograph, as can a good statement necklace or other pieces of jewelry. 

little girl standing in front of mom and dad on a bridge

6.     Think about your location. The most popular time of year to get family pictures taken is during the fall, so here you should consider choosing outfits with warm earth tones such as burgundy, dark greens, and mustard yellow (like this amazing family did above).

If getting family pictures done at a beach, you may feel the need to wear matching family outfits like all white, but it isn’t ideal for everyone to be in white. Instead, consider wearing cooler tones like blues and greens and maybe even adding in pops of coral.

No matter what, just make sure you set yourself apart from your surroundings with contrast.

7.     Think about your skin tone. If you’re about to put on your favorite red winter knit, look in the mirror (with natural light if possible) and look for any color reflections under your chin. Does the color of your top give your skin an altered appearance? Does it make your normally rosy complexion more ruddy? Does that grey top make you look washed out, or does that rusted color give your skin a sallow appearance? Use color and contrast to bring out the best in your features and skin tone.

8.     Just say no to characters and logos. If you listen to nothing else, listen to this one! Yes, your little one may love their Toy Story shirt but you may want to skip it for the family photo session. Just like patterns, characters on shirts can be pretty distracting. Characters, like too many patterns, can make your photo look too busy.

9.     Know your child. If your daughter hates bows and wont keep them in her hair, make sure to plan an outfit that doesn’t need the bow. Let go of “perfection” and let the kiddos be who they are. Just make sure the hair is tidy and neat. Same goes for stockings – will she immediately run for the dirt and turn them brown and black? Then white stockings are probably not a good foundation for her outfit.

10.    Know yourself. Don’t get your face done full of makeup if you’ve never done a test run. Make sure you love the final look because you want to be able to recognize yourself and feel comfortable and confident at your shoot. If you’re self conscious about any body parts and unsure, feel free to ask me about what would be flattering. This will also give me a heads up when posing you for the session. I don’t hide moms as I think everyone is beautiful and should be featured equally, but if this is important to you, please say something so I will work this into our posing. There are simple things to think about – like if you don’t like your arms but love your legs, sleeveless is not a good option, but a dress with a slit is. This can make all the difference in how you feel at your session. 

mom and dad walking with toddler in fall leaves

The basics:

  • Clean nails
  • Booger-free faces
  • No food smears
  • Hair managed
  • No late nights the night before
  • Shirts & pants should be tested for mobility (No flashing, diapers showing. Also, no shirts that get untucked every 3 seconds, no pants that keep falling off)
  • No shoes that are too big and trip your child, and no shoes that are too small that make them angry
  • Avoid fluorescent/neon/overly saturated colors
  • No bulky items in pockets
  • Avoid collars that block your child’s face

The best thing to do is put outfits on your child at least a week in advance of your photoshoot. Stand in front of a full length mirror and hold them on your hip, lift them in the air and have them scurry around. If you're struggling to fix collars or tucking in shirts, consider a change.

The most important thing is for you and your family to be comfortable!

If any of you are uncomfortable, cranky, rushing, hungry, etc – it will result in a not so great session experience for the whole family which will in turn show in the final images. Know the limits of your expertise and know when to ask for help. I’m here to answer any questions you might have! The preparation is what allows the success to happen naturally. 💕

I’ll also be posting a blog soon with tips on what you can do to help prepare overall for a successful family photo session, so stay tuned! 

brother and sister throwing fall leaves in the air
brother and sister being posing silly on a bridge
brother and sister laying in grass looking up at camera