What to wear for family photos


Imagine this. You haven't had a family photo session in years, and you've finally saved enough to splurge a little. Basketball schedules and piano schedules and work schedules have all aligned and FINALLY you've got a session on your calendar. You are SO excited to finally get a family portrait on your walls.

And then panic ensues.

The question I get most often after a session is booked (and sometimes even before!) is..."What should we WEAR?!" In fact, I received TWO of these such emails today, which is why I thought this was a perfect time for a blog post.

I get it! You want everything to go smoothly and you want to look fabulous and you want your annoying cousin who you send a Christmas card to every year to notice that YES in fact you HAVE lost 10 pounds, thanks for noticing, and yes, your kids ARE the actual cutest.


And man, your family has great taste in fashion.

It's a lot of pressure!

I tell my clients that when they book a Mad Photo session, they're paying for more than my time for an hour and a lot of pretty photos. They also get my expertise when it comes to styling your family photo. Standing in the middle of Gymboree wondering if this shirt and those pants go with what your husband is wearing? CALL ME. Pinterest'ing family photo clothing ideas and totally overwhelmed? Shoot me a text. It's what I'm here for!

Ultimately, what you and your family want to wear for your photos is a personal decision. HOWEVER, I'm happy to help in any way I can! Here are a few of my best tips when it comes to styling your session:

Style Tips: What to Wear for Family Photos


Go bold with color. If I could offer only one tip, this would be it: don't be afraid of color! Fun, colorful outfits add an extra pop to your pictures. These pictures will be a reflection of the amazing person you are, so go ahead and have fun with your style and show everyone who you are! I know it can be hard to not wear neutrals (I wear them a ton!) but I HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommend against wearing black or white in photos. Both colors do not photograph well and end up looking quite flat. Color is where it's at! Every photographer is different in what they recommend, but chances are if you are booking me, you like the images I've captured before, right? I guarantee those families were wearing tons of color. DON'T BE AFRAID OF COLOR.

If color makes you nervous - I get it! - the easiest thing to do is pick one family member to wear the primary outfit. This can be a lot of things - the outfit with the most color, or maybe the brightest color. Maybe it has a fun pattern. Use that outfit to dress everyone else. Here, Mom wore a tank top with pink and blue in it, so Dad wore blue and their daughter wore pink. Perfect!


Here, Mom got little N an adorable outfit that had a bunch of fun colors in it: teal, seafoam, yellow, pink. It made it easy to dress Mom and Dad! Seafoam for Mom, teal for Dad, and we're done. See?! Easy.


Bring props! For family photos, things like bright colored quilts or fun blankets are perfect! Feel free to bring balloons or something fun for the kids to hold on to, too. This is NOT required, but it can be fun! I recently had a mom bring a TON of props, and we only ended up using some, but I was so impressed with your ideas and preparation! Bring whatever you want, and if there's something specific you DEFINITELY want to use, be sure to let me know. Otherwise, we'll go with the flow.

Accessorize! My family sessions include one outfit for each family member. HOWEVER, a fun and quick way to change up your outfit is by accessorizing. Feel free to bring jackets, scarves, different jewelry or shoes to quickly change up your outfit. As long as nothing is too bulky, layers can be a ton of fun for photos and look really great and stylish.


Don't be afraid to get dirty. I shoot primarily in rural locations. You'll be sitting/kneeling in tall grass, flowers, dirt - and it's going to look AWESOME! Your session will go much smoother if you're not concerned about dirtying your outfits. Obviously we will go to all lengths to prevent that, but it's best to not wear something super special in case it does get dirty.


When all else fails, keep it simple. Cute shoes are always fun - funky pumps, cute wedges, bright flats, adorable little sneakers for kiddos - but don't be afraid to go barefoot! Barefoot photos are my favorite.


I know it can be daunting, but it's really pretty simple: wear outfits you feel great wearing. Don't try to force yourself into something uncomfortable that you wouldn't normally wear. If you're uncomfortable or fiddling with your clothes, it's going to show in your photos. Now is not the time to buy and wear something totally out of character because it's trendy. Just be you :)

Love and Fashion,