“What should we wear?”

Without a doubt, this is the most common question I am asked when planning a family portrait session. Booking? Simple. Selecting a location is a snap. But getting everyone dressed and looking their best can be challenging for families large and small!

You’ve chosen to invest in professional photography, so take special care to select timeless outfits that authentically represent you and your family and you can be sure to love your photos a decade later.

If you feel like you need a little wardrobe guidance, read on!


Consider your session location. Will you be taking a stroll downtown, frolicking in an open field, snuggling on your couch at home, trekking up a mountain at sunset? Each of these scenarios calls for a specific ‘fit! Match the edgy urban vibe of the city with dark denim, a fitted leather jacket, and sleek heels, or go full on glam with an evening gown and tailored suit. If you find yourself drawn to wildflower fields and mountain scenes, stick to earth tones and softer shades.


We’ve all seen the classic white top/khaki bottoms combination for family photos. But do you think those people match like that aaaall the time? No. Well, they shouldn’t, at least. Rather than matching each family member exactly, create coordinating combinations of textures, patterns, and colors. The easiest way to do this is by selecting a color palette with a few complimentary shades as well as classic neutrals. When in doubt, go for muted shades of your favorite colors— swap lavender for royal purple, olive instead of true green, peach instead of orange.

trendy vs. Timeless

Stay true to yourself and your style, but try to select pieces that will age gracefully. Avoid trendy clothing and opt for classic silhouettes that don’t belong to a specific era (looking at you, mini skirts and popped collars) so you don’t cringe at yourself in 15 years.


Add visual interest with layers, textures, and small scale patterns. Don’t forget to accessorize with some simple jewelry that doesn’t draw focus away from your face.

Balance and Fit

Oooo, this one may take you out of your comfort zone! Fitted clothing tends to look better on camera and will flatter most figures better than an oversized dress or top. Pair a full boho skirt with a shirred top, or a billowy blouse with skinny jeans. It’s all about balance!


Yes, they matter. Take your session location into consideration when selecting your footwear and select styles that are appropriate. Stilettos aren’t great for a mountain top but they look amazing on a city street! And please, pleeeease, leave your athletic shoes at home. There will be full body shots and your beat up sneakers will be a huge distraction!


This is tricky. Makeup should only be used to enhance what you already have. Too much and you risk looking overdone and cakey on camera, but too little and you may look a little flat. Use slightly more saturated lip colors within your usual shade range, and swipe on a little bit of eyeshadow for contrast. If you really want to go all out, hire a professional makeup artist! But make sure you still look like your beautiful self.


I cannot stress this enough! Don’t just lay the clothes out on the bed… put on the outfit BEFORE the day of your session. Preferably the week before! Have everyone get dressed and put on a mini fashion show in the living room. Not only will this help get the pre-session jitters out, you’ll be able to correct any clashing colors, patterns, or poorly fitted garments.

Things to Avoid

Neon. Neon colors will reflect onto your skin in the most unflattering way.

Very dark or bold colors are distracting. Opt for muted tones instead!

Large logos or graphics. That sportswear company isn’t paying for your photos!

Tight stripes or plaids can look distorted or wiggly in photos.

Diapers. Keep your baby’s diapers hidden by their clothing, or use a cloth diaper cover to neaten up a disposable.

Overall, wear what you feel comfortable in! You don’t have to buy a new dress to fit a specific aesthetic (unless you want to). Select clothing that you know you feel good in, and you won’t be disappointed.