One of the most overwhelming parts of updating your family photos is deciding what everyone will wear. It can feel daunting to put together outfits that work together, but not spend a fortune on new clothing. Choosing the right outfits for your family photo session doesn’t have to be complicated or stressful or expensive.
With a little forethought and preparation, you can easily put together looks that are both stylish and flattering. In this post, I’m going to tell you everything you need to know to select perfectly coordinated outfits, with links to some of my favorite shops!
As the saying goes, “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” The same is true for family photos—if Mom isn’t happy with her outfit, it’s going to show in the pictures. So, when it comes to choosing what to wear for your family photo session, start with yourself. Pick out an outfit that makes you feel confident and beautiful. Once you’ve found THE dress (or pantsuit, or jumpsuit), you can build the rest of the family’s looks around it.
Step 2: Create a color palette based on mom’s selection
Once you’ve selected what you are going to wear, create a palette of 3-4 coordinating colors to include in everyone else’s outfits. I recommend either doing all neutrals, or neutrals with one “pop” color. This could be mustard or a pretty blush pink. Be careful having too many colors that stand out or “pop” as this can look messy. Here is an example:
Now that you have your color palette, it’s time to add in outfits for everyone else! For dad, I recommend keeping it simple. A nice button down or henley shirt in a coordinating color, paired with dark jeans or trousers, will look great in photos. Plus, he can wear these again for other occasions. For the kids, have fun mixing and matching patterns and textures! But make sure to stick with your color palette so that everything coordinates nicely. The one exception I sometimes make to a palette is denim. Generally navy denim will go with any palette. Here’s an example of a whole family’s selections based on our example palette:
When you’re choosing outfits for your session, it’s important to consider the location. If we’re going to be shooting in a park, for example, you might want to avoid wearing heels or dresses that could drag in the grass. If we’re going to be in downtown Knoxville, you might want to steer clear of super casual clothing like t-shirts and shorts. The key is to find something that will complement the location without looking out of place.
Gone are the days of family photos where everyone is sporting a white button down and khakis. Sure, you might still see a few beach photos with this attire, but it’s becoming less and less popular. Rather than matching your outfits, I recommend coordinating them so that the colors and patterns all fall into one palette. If you are ever going to break this rule, choose two people to wear the same outfit, like twins or two younger siblings.
Accessories are a great way to add interest and personality to your outfit. If you’re stuck on what to wear, try starting with a basic outfit and then adding a statement necklace or scarf. And for kids, don’t forget about hats, bows, and other fun accessories! Just be sure not to go overboard—you want your family’s personalities to shine through, not get lost in a sea of stuff.
One thing to keep in mind if you are a KFP client, is that we offer a client wardrobe. We have a variety of dresses and boutique clothing for mom and kids. We’ll send you a link to view the pieces in the wardrobe before your session, so that you can add in pieces and save money on some outfits!
Kayla is a Knoxville family photographer offering family, maternity and newborn photography in a natural light studio or on location in Knoxville, TN and the surrounding area. Want to read more about what it looks like to experience a KFP session? Click here for more details or contact us to book your family or newborn photo session.