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What to wear for your family photography session

May 21, 2019

What to wear for your Family Photography Session

There are many factors that go into planning for your family photography session. Your photographer will help you to choose a beautiful location and plan for the best light of the day, but how do you plan what to wear for your family photos?

Family photography is an investment that you are your loved ones will cherish for years to come. Spending time to plan your outfits can really bring your photos to the next level! But where do you even start?

Family snuggling in desert

Start with one person’s outfit and build off of that

Once you have chosen one family member’s outfit, take an element from that outfit and build from there. You can then use the colours and patterns to help guide you. I often suggest Mom to pick her outfit and guide the others from there.

Aim to “go together” but not to “match”

Once you have decided on one outfit, pick an element or two that you want to bring into the rest of your family’s outfits. You do not want to dress everyone in the same colour or have the whole family wearing competing prints. Patterns and textures that compliment each other photograph beautifully and can add interest to your images. Neutrals and organic tones are timeless and can be especially beautiful if accented with textured fabrics such as lace.

Don’t be afraid of colour!

If you love colour, don’t be afraid to incorporate it into your session. If you need some inspiration, take a look at some inspiration photos and base your colour tones on those that you are drawn to! Just be sure to aim for complementary colours. Jewel tones, fall colours, and deeper tones photograph best. I generally suggest avoiding colours such as candy apple red, royal blue, or bright/ fluorescent colours,  as they can reflect back onto your skin. Ensure the colours you choose compliment each other, but are not all the same.

What to avoid

Be sure to avoid logos and graphics on clothing if possible as they can be distracting. You want the focus to be on you and your family’s connection, not on your t-shirt.

Certain colors can reflect and cause a colour cast onto your skin. These are generally bright versions of colors such as reds, greens, and hot pinks. Instead, choose a toned down version such as rust red, sage or earthy greens. Earth tones can be very flattering!

Another thing to avoid if possible is baseball caps. The brim sits further down and shadows the face and creates harsh shadows. Smaller brimmed hats or hats that tip up for women are much more flattering. Either way, I suggest to have images with and without a hat on for variety.

little girl putting cookies in the oven
Nothing captures movement like a flowy dress!

Don’t be afraid to dress up a little! Aim to look like a polished version of yourself. Clothing like long flowy dresses can be extremely flattering on camera and allow for movement to be captured. If a dress isn’t your style, add interest with textures such as lace, knit, or through the addition of layers.

Don’t forget about your accessories!

Accessories can really make or break your outfits. Pay attention to the shoes you choose as they will be in many of the photos, and don’t be afraid to have some fun with jewelry or hats! If you have a little one, try a cute bonnet!

little boy feeding animals
Pay attention to the details such as hands.

I just love to capture the details such as your little one holding your hand, or there little head resting on your shoulder. Although your images will be edited, keep in mind that things such as bra straps are not easily edited out of photos. Women, be sure to choose undergarments that are strapless if you are wearing a top with spaghetti or thinner straps. Also be sure to choose the appropriate fit and colour such as nude or strapless undergarments to avoid lines or outlines showing through. Sticky bras are also great for those who can wear them! I use these from Amazon πŸ™‚

I suggest both men and women give a little attention to their hands before the shoot. Better yet, why not treat yourself to a mani-pedi??


Men tend to be more last minute when planning their outfits. Remember that what you wear will either compliment or distract from the rest of your family during your session. Please do not wear your every day runners! The bright colors on many runners are distracting in photos. Clean dress shoes or dressy runners only please. A reminder that your hands will be in many photos, so show them a little tlc also πŸ™‚ Don’t forget to add layers such as a nice sweater or jacket. Avoid logos or pictures on shirts and jackets as these can also be distracting. These photos are an investment, so don’t be afraid to invest in your outfit too πŸ™‚

Hair and Makeup

If you are able to have your hair and makeup professionally done before your shoot, why not pamper yourself? If this isn’t an option for you, add a little more than your daily makeup routine. Your daily makeup may not transfer over in photos as well.  I suggest that you add a slightly darker shade eye shadow or some eyeliner. It is best to apply makeup in natural light and avoid shimmery or sparkly eye shadows or very bright lipstick (of course if that is your style, rock it!). If you are looking for a more glamorous look, think about contouring, highlighting, and/ or false eyelashes or extensions. If you would like some recommendations for hair or makeup stylists, please don’t hesitate to ask!

I’m here to help!

I am always available to help you with your styling needs. If you are unsure about your outfit options, send me your ideas! I can help to point you in the right direction and even send you ideas based on your vision. I want you to love you family photos!

Still need some help? Don’t be afraid to ask your photographer for suggestions!

I am always available to review your outfit choices and to send you some ideas. I also send the link to my Angela K Photography style inspiration pinterest board!

family of four playing in grassy field

Contact me today!

Do you have any other tips to prepare for your family session? Do you have questions about your upcoming session? Send me a message! I’d love to help you plan your outfits πŸ™‚

You can also contact me via my website contact form here.

Don’t miss this blog post on tips and tricks to rock your upcoming family session!

How to rock you upcoming family photo session

mom snuggling little girl

Maternity style guide

If you are looking for a guide to help you style and prepare for you upcoming maternity session, you can check out my blog post here!

comments +

  1. Kat says:

    Float dresses and great accessories can really help dress you up. I’d also add, pick something you’re comfortable in. Discomfort shows immediately!

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  5. […] Do you need some guidance for styling your upcoming family session? Check out my blog post ‘What to wear for your family photography session’. […]

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