It is the first question every family asks once they’ve booked their family portrait session. What to wear in their family photos. I can almost hear the stress in mom’s voice as she asks. And as a mom of two little kids. I get it! Dressing and looking pulled together can be challenging enough, never mind trying to dress the whole family!

I’ve learned a lot over the years of helping my families simplify choosing outfits and looking picture-perfect. And I want to share my favorite tips for what to wear in family photos with you!


It may sound simple, but this is one that can easily be overlooked. Some colors look great together and some… well, not so much. Before thinking about what to wear in your family photos or what color scheme to choose for your outfits, start by thinking about where you plan to display your portraits. And where your portraits will be taken. If the wall where you plan to hang your family portrait is brightly colored, you may want to avoid brightly colored outfits so the colors don’t compete. Instead, opt for soft neutrals or muted tones. On the other hand, if your walls are neutral, pops of color in your outfits would look great!

The location you choose will also impact the colors you choose to dress your family in. Think about the overall colors of your location. If it is mid-summer there may be lots of green in your portraits. Including red clothing, choices may unintentionally leave your portraits feeling a little Christmassy.


Gone are the days of everyone wearing white t-shirts and blue jeans. Today’s family pictures are more about coordinating than matching. Cue a sigh of relief! Ahhh! Everyone doesn’t have to wear the same color. Or dress in the same style! Each person in your family can dress in a way that fits their personality. And you can still look pulled together in your family pictures.

I’m sure you’re wondering, How do we pull that off? And still, look coordinated? Below are a few general tips. Be sure to ask your photographer too. They usually have lots of experience in helping families decide what to wear in family photos.

4 Steps to Perfectly Coordinated Outfits

  1. Start by selecting a color palette This is usually 3-4 coordinating colors. I have multiple examples for you to view throughout your read.
  2. I usually recommend that mom picks her outfit out first. Pick something in your color palette that you fall in love with and that makes you feel amazing. When you feel amazing, it will show! And you will look amazing in your family portraits.
  3. Select outfits for the rest of your family based on your color scheme.
  4. Use accessories to pull your look together and help each member of the family coordinate with others..


Your family pictures will be enjoyed for many years to come. Hopefully, they will be passed down to your children and grandchildren someday. Crazy to think about it that way, right? To avoid having your family portrait look outdated when next season’s fashion and color trends change, lean toward more classic styles.

Navy, Blue and Hot Pink Color Scheme

Navy, Greys and Yellow Color Scheme


This may be the first in a long time. And may not happen again for a long time. But mom, you get to go first! Pick an outfit that you feel amazing in! Let’s celebrate the fact that you will be in these pictures. You will get to love on and play with your family and create amazing memories. As a mom myself, I know that opportunity is rare. I am usually the one snapping away pictures. I am rarely in them. And… if I am, they may not ever see the light of day. I’m usually covered in baby spit-up or have my hair up in a bun so my little one can’t yank any more hair out of my head.

So, moms, I get it. This family session is special and important for so many reasons. And one of those is that you get to be in them! As a family photographer, I want to make sure you not only love your portraits but also love the way you look in them. And one way to make that happen is to make sure you feel fabulous in what you are wearing. When you feel amazing, it really does show in pictures. So, just this once, you get to go first! Go shopping! Find something that you love. Something that makes you feel amazing! And enjoy!


You will see that I often use dresses in my inspiration boards for what to wear in your family photos. There are two reasons. Dresses tend to be flattering on women and in photos. Second, using dresses helps to add variation to the overall image and avoid a strong horizontal line in your image. Imagine if everyone in your family wore a light-colored top and dark pants. If I took a picture of your family standing up, there would be a visual line at your waist separating the top half of the portrait (light-colored shirts) and the bottom half of the photograph (dark pants). By having different colors on tops and bottoms as well as using a variety of styles (skirts, dresses, pants, and shirts) you can avoid this dreaded horizontal line and create a much more interesting family portrait.

Gold, Mauve and Brown Color Scheme

Navy, Red and Blue Color Scheme

Blue and Yellow Color Scheme

Navy, Cream and Tan Color Scheme


There are a few items of clothing that are best to avoid altogether. Graphic tees or clothing with large logos can look great in casual everyday wear. But in pictures, they tend to steal all the attention. So it is best to save them for another occasion. The same is true of any neon colors.


So far we have focussed only on the clothes. But it is the little details that can truly make or break a picture. Take a moment to pick out shoes to match each person’s outfit so an old pair of sneakers or flip flops don’t get thrown on last minute on your way out the door. You can also use your choice of shoes to add a pop of color to your outfit or to help pull two outfits together.


Maybe you found a color scheme above that you fell in love with. Great! Before you raid your closet or hit the store, let’s look a few tips to help you make sure that color scheme is a perfect fit. Or help you narrow your favorites down to the best one for your family.


When selecting color schemes for your family photos, be sure to keep the location of your session in mind. While bright and vibrant colors my look perfect for a downtown urban style session, they may feel a tad out of place nestled in a field of tall wispy grasses. Or, if your setting is full of lush green foliage, wearing lots of red could accidentally leave your portrait looking Christmassy.


When you are selecting the best colors for your outside family pictures, start by looking inside your home. Where do you plan to hang your final portraits? You may want to pull colors from your decor so that your final artwork looks like it was made for your walls. If your style is soft and muted tones, outfits in the same soft and muted style would be a perfect choice. Decorate in cooler tones? Be sure to dress in cooler tones as well.


We all have that favorite color. You know. The one that everyone compliments you in when you wear it. We usually gravitate toward colors that work well with our skin tone without even realizing it. For example, if you have a warm skin tone, you will tend to gravitate towards and look best in warm colors like brown, gold, oranges and reds. And if you look best in and find yourself always wearing cool colors such as grays, purple, and blues, then you most likely have a cool skin tone. But when you have a family, there can be multiple skin tones. And you still want to make sure the colors you choose compliment everyone. While that may sound impossible if you have some members of your family that are cool tones and some that are warm, there is an easy solution.


Maybe you love the aqua and blue color scheme above. But aqua doesn’t look great on your daughter. You could dress her more dominantly in the neutral anchor color. In this case navy blue. Then add an aqua belt to tie her outfit in. That way the aqua in her belt is resting on the navy dress and not up against the skin tone of her face.

I’d love to hear what color scheme you wore for your family photo session.



COordinate By Season