Getting family photos done can be stressful. Not just the actual photo session, but trying to get everyone dressed in an outfit that looks nice and all look nice together. This is something I hear from my clients all the time. I think about this too. When I know I will be taking photos of my family for Christmas cards or other, more formal, photos, I deliberate on outfits beforehand.


Here’s the advice I give my clients and what I try to remember myself: 

How do I dress my family for a family photo shoot?

First off, I want to say, don’t stress about it! The photo shoot should be a fun process for your family and clothes can add an unnecessary element of stress if you think too much. Also, don’t think you have to spend a small fortune on new clothes for the whole family. Most likely you can use what you already have in your closets.

7 Simple Tips to Dressing for a Family Photo Shoot

1. Dress comfortably and naturally.

The pictures should be a true reflection of who you and your family are. It should capture the time in your life when the photo is taken. If your little girl never wears a dress on a regular day, she doesn’t need to wear one for the photos. It is equally as important to be comfortable during the photo session. When deciding what to wear, choose clothes and shoes that will be easy to move in and will allow for natural looking poses. Being uncomfortable will show through in the photos so make sure you and your kids are comfortable in the clothes you choose.


How to take better photos


2. Wear coordinating colors, but don’t match perfectly.

If everyone in your group decided to wear blue jeans and the same color shirt, you will lose much needed variety in your photograph. Instead, let one person wear a color on the bottom while another wears the color on the top. Add in an accent color that is seen throughout the group in different way; an accessory, socks, shoes, jewelry, hair bows, ties, etc. This advice is similar to what a designer tells her client when decorating a home. Use two main colors on your walls throughout the house and then choose an accent color that can be intertwined in small ways. Think about this as you are choosing outfits and you will no doubt be successful!


3. Think about layers or easily altered outfits.

It’s nice to have outfits that change slightly so you get different looks without having to completely change your clothes. You can add a sweeter, button up, or light jacket. (Of course, I live in Colorado and adding layers comes so naturally here because of the weather.) If it is too warm, think about changing the look with an accessory like a purse, scarf, or bulky necklace. It only takes a subtle change to have a big impact in your photographs.


4. Don’t forget about shoes and sock

Sometimes we think so hard about the outfits our kids are going to wear that we forget about the choice of shoes and socks. This isn’t the end of the world, but try to choose footwear that compliments the outfits because it will most likely be photographed at some point. The same goes with the color of socks. I have had many clients realize they were wearing white socks with an otherwise dressy outfit and feel self conscious about it the entire time. Just be aware that your shoes and socks may end up in the photographs along with the outfit and you don’t want them to become the focus of your favorite image.

dress for your family photo session

5. Choose accessories that don’t steal the show

Like I mentioned above, accessories can add a lot to a photo, but they can also take the focus off of the face. Choose accessories for your family photo shoot that won’t stand out too much. If you look into the mirror or look at your child’s outfit and the first thing you see is the accessory, than it might be too much. If you aren’t sure, you can always take it with you and your photographer can help you decide if it adds to the photo or takes away from the image.


6. No large logos or pictures

Any piece of clothing with a giant logo on the front will steal the focus of your image. Unless you are making a statement, you want to choose clothing that is mostly plain or patterned, but without any large labels front and center.


7. Watch your wrists

This one is easy to forget, even for your photographer. Don’t leave hair ties or other objects on your wrist. A watch is okay as long as you like the look with your outfit, but anything else should be left at home. If it doesn’t add to your look, go ahead and take it off. This is such an easy one to look passed because these items are generally just a part of our everyday wear, but not necessarily something we want in our family photos. I have a hair tie on my wrist almost all the time so this is something I have to think about when I am getting my photo taken. It may sound a little silly, but trust me, you don’t want these items in your nice photos.

dress for your family photos

Enjoy getting dressed up for your shoot, but don’t let it put a damper on the joy of the process! If you are wondering how to dress for your family photo shoot, use these 7 tips to help you and you will be just fine. Let your kids have a say in their outfits too. This will give you a bit more cooperation which will go a long way in getting the photos you want.


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