When people call us to book family portraits, one of the most frequently asked questions we get is “what should I wear?” We love when people ask us for help ahead of their photography sessions! With the years we’ve spent photographing families (and being photographed ourselves!) we have come up with a few tips! Here are three ways to nail your outfits for your family portraits.
Three Ways to Rock your Family Portraits
When considering what to wear to your family portraits, the most important thing to remember is that you need to feel beautiful. If the outfit doesn’t make you feel amazing, don’t wear it. If you aren’t sure if you like the outfit, don’t pick it. Above all else, whatever you decide to wear to your family photo session should make you feel confident. Here’s how to make sure you build an outfit that makes you look and feel amazing.
What to wear: Tip 1
Begin with the End in Mind
When you first set out to decide what to wear for your family portraits, think about the reason why you’re getting them done in the first place. Will this be a holiday portrait session to be used for holiday greeting cards? Is this a more glamorous photo session? Are you welcoming a new baby to your family? The purpose of your family portrait session will set the tone for how you want to dress. The colors you wear for a fall family photo session would be very different than a summertime family photo session. If your goal is to have a large photo framed in a prominent area of your home, think about the colors in that room. When you begin with the end in mind, it makes it easier to build your outfits and your color strategy.
What to wear: Tip 2
Plan your color story
The next thing to consider is the location for your family photo session. When you are planning what to wear to your portrait session, think of the colors in the location for the portrait session. Pick three colors from the background. Pick three colors to use in your outfits. The colors should complement the surroundings. For a beachy family photo session, you can pull colors from the sand, surf and sky. For a more tropical photo session, think of bright, rich colors. If you’re planning a holiday portrait session, go more traditional with reds, greens and golds—or silver and blue for a snowy photo session.
When planning out your colors, also consider your patterns. Be very careful when mixing patterns. I try to avoid bold patterns and wide stripes altogether. Think about each member of your family who will be photographed. Your outfits should complement each other, but not match. Don’t wear all the same color shirt and pants! The colors and patterns should vary from one person to the next. Remember that textures can also be very powerful to create depth and contrast in your portraits. Ruffles and lace contrast beautifully with denim, and a solid ivory dress can take on a life all its own if it is gauzy, light and airy.
What to wear: Tip 3
Focus on Fit
The biggest pitfall when choosing your outfits for a family photo session is fit. Properly fitting clothing really, REALLY matters in photos. Try on the outfits beforehand. Pay special attention to length. Pants and skirts that are the wrong length can be difficult to manage in photo shoots. Avoid shorts and short-sleeved shirts—even for south Florida family portrait sessions. Anything that you have to pull down, smooth out, or mess with is no good for a photoshoot. We don’t want to have to stop to hide bra straps, hike up long pants, or re-fasten buttons. The best outfits are the outfits that are easy to wear, classy and comfortable.
Pro tip: Make sure your kids are comfortable in their outfits. Itchy, scratchy fabrics, fussy accessories and ill-fitting outfits make kids cranky, squirmy and altogether unhappy. Make sure they are comfortable in their outfits so they can be comfortable in front of the camera.
For a fun finishing touch, consider hiring a hair and makeup artist or a good friend who is good with makeup. It’s a great way to boost your confidence and really make you feel camera-ready on the day of the photo session.
Our Favorite Stores for Family Photo Session Outfits
Again, the best thing to wear to your family photo session is something that you feel great wearing. That confidence will shine through in your final images. That’s always our goal: to capture the emotions and happiness of a family together. The whimsical magic of childhood, the happiness of a family together. No matter what you wear, that’s what we will photograph. And we’ll all have fun doing it! Here are a few of our favorite stores and brands for family photo session outfits. We look forward to capturing your family!