What To Wear For Family Photos: Ideas & Color Palettes

Wondering what to wear for family photos? Whether your session is already booked, or you want to know what to wear before you even find a photographer, here are some ideas and color palettes to help.

What to wear for family photos — do’s and don’ts

First things first, do not strictly match each other. All white clothes, or all beige simply washes everyone out and voids any individuality. Instead, seek to complement each other. Light blue and lavender, white and beige, denim and lace. Soft textures and patterns — no loud logos or distracting graphics.

Don’t wear anything that doesn’t feel like you, or that isn’t comfortable. If you’ll be constantly tucking things in or fixing the sleeve on your shoulder, another outfit would be better — something you don’t even have to think about. The less you’re worried about your outfit, the more you can be in the moment, and that will come through in the photos.

I usually recommend a closer fit for at least half of the outfit — a flowy top with fitted jeans or a dress with a cinched waist and long, loose skirt.

Keep your shoes simple, clean, and comfortable. Minimal accessories are a nice touch, but shouldn’t be anything over the top.

Don’t forget to think about what your photos will be used for — is this a Christmas card or the photographs that will be on your walls for years to come? The more timeless, the better.

Family photo outfit colors

Here are the exact color palettes I use with my family photo clients.

  1. Earthy (oakmoss, almond, terra, powder, olive, ink)
  2. Romantic (coral, blush, butterscotch, smoke, duck egg, emerald sea)
  3. Neutral (nude, ivory, charcoal, camel, midnight, approachable gray)

Family photo wardrobe inspiration

Here are photos from my Seattle family photo sessions to help you figure out what to wear.

What to wear for newborn family photos

The same concepts apply for newborn photos. That simple, elegant look goes a long way.

How to tie your wardrobe into the location

The colors

The last thing we want is for you to feel totally out of place, like in a summer dress in a desert landscape, or overdressed while we’re strolling along the beach while the waves crash into the rocks. I usually recommend looking at the colors in the landscape, and then tying one or two of them into your color palette.

If we’re taking your photos in a field, let’s incorporate some light and golden colors so they don’t clash with the background.

If we’re at the ocean, something coastal or even floral will look incredible.

We want your outfits to either match the landscape or stand out calmly (not loudly), not clash or look like your wardrobe is a little off somehow. Otherwise, it could feel like visiting a new place and packing the totally wrong clothes. That simply doesn’t feel good.

The temperature

If it’s warm and humid, a light and loose outfit will work wonders. For colder days, use layers to stay warm without looking or feeling bulky. Check the weather a few days prior just to be sure. You can always bring cute jackets that we toss to the side once you warm up.

Tips for bringing the outfits together

  1. Pull out the pieces ahead of time. Lay them out side by side so you can see how the textures and colors bounce off each other.
  2. Try on the outfits in natural lighting to see how the true colors come out, and how they’ll look in the photos.
  3. Bring backups — littles tend to get dust and dirt on their clothes.

The Salt & Ink client wardrobe

If you’re reading this as one of my Seattle or Tacoma family photo clients, many of the outfits you see are in the client wardrobe that is included with your session cost.

Reach out to learn more. And stay connected with me on Instagram.

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