Somehow, summer has once again flown by in the blink of an eye. It’s incredible to think that we are already at the time of year when people start thinking about the holidays and their annual family photos. And with the thought of family photos comes the inevitable question: “What are the best outfits for family photos?”

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It’s the number one question I get asked before every single photo session, and I offer an extensive prep guide (as well as a client closet for the mothers!) in an effort to make this part of your experience a bit easier. Even if you aren’t working with me for your family photos this year and are just looking for some guidance, I’m here to help!

Disclaimer: None of the following links are affiliate links – all are simply there to help you. I have not purchased any of these clothes personally and therefore cannot speak to the individual items in terms of sizing, quality, or colors. Please make sure to allow enough time to select your outfits prior to your session so that if something arrives and doesn’t fit or is not the color or quality you expected, you have time to find something else. 

Selecting colors:

Let’s start out with some of the basics. When selecting colors for your outfits, begin with the end in mind. What are you planning on using those photos for? Will you be decorating your home with framed artwork? Will you be using your favorite family photo on a holiday card? Will you be sending gift prints or a grandparents’ album as a holiday gift? Each of these options has the potential to direct you to different colors for clothing. 

a family of three walking together in the  sun

If you are planning to decorate your home with beautiful custom artwork then it is best to take the color palette of your home into account. If your house is decorated in creams and sages, you wouldn’t want to dress everyone in deep jewel tones.

If you are planning to use your images for a holiday card, I would highly recommend finding the holiday card template that you would like to use and planning your colors around that. It is much easier to select outfits to fit the color scheme you are going for than it is to find the perfect template to match your location and outfit selections! Another option is to keep a more traditional holiday color scheme in mind when selecting your outfits so that you will coordinate with a majority of the templates.

A quick note on colors: light, neutral colors photograph beautifully and help draw the focus to your face rather than bringing attention to your outfit. 

Building your outfits for family photos:

When building your outfits for family photos it is best to start by selecting one person’s outfit and then building the rest from there. I typically recommend starting with Mom’s outfit (especially if you are using my client closet!) and then choosing everyone else’s. 

The trick here is not to match exactly! Your images will be more visually interesting if everyone is wearing something different, but in coordinating colors. For example, if mom is wearing a blush-colored dress, dad might wear a white button-down with khaki pants and a light gray sweater, one child might wear light gray pants, a white shirt, and a blush bow tie, and another child might wear a cream colored dress with a tulle skirt, a blush headband, and blush shoes. Using layers, different textures, and different fabrics will also help to increase the visual interest of your images. 

A quick note on outfits: It is best to avoid large, bold patterns and obvious logos. Wearing solid colors, small and discrete patterns, and avoiding logos makes sure the attention is on your family’s connection with each other in your images. 

So let’s dive into a few options! 

This first set of outfits is built around the woman’s dress. We are bringing the colors from her dress throughout the rest of the family’s outfits.

options for outfits for family photos with a gray and blue theme. there is a floral dress for the mother, a gray romper for the baby, a blue dress for the daughter, a white button down with gray jeans for the son, and a gray sweater with cream colored jeans for the father.

 

Women’s Dress

Men’s sweater

Men’s jeans

Baby’s romper

Girl’s dress

Boy’s shirt

Boy’s jeans

Here’s the next set of outfits for family photos. This one is built around the child’s outfit with the sweater.

options for outfits for family photos with a cream and brown theme.

Child’s sweater

Child’s pants

Men’s sweater

Baby’s romper

Women’s dress

And here is a final set out of outfits. This set is based on the little girl’s sage green dress.

Style Board blog post 1 1

Girl’s dress

Women’s dress

Child’s sweater

Child’s pants

Men’s sweater

Men’s pants

Hopefully, these style boards have given you some inspiration and direction on selecting your outfits for family photos this year, and have helped to take a little bit of the stress out of planning your session. If you’d like to work with me to capture your family’s photos this year, you can click here to learn more about the process or here to contact me about your session. I can’t wait to hear from you!


Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing the work of some fellow photographers to help inspire and educate you. This week head over and visit Donna of Seventh Wave Photography for some stunning beach family and maternity photography inspiration!

  1. What a great post, Kate. Choosing outfits truly is the most difficult decision to make in addition to deciding on a perfect location when it comes to preparing for a photo shoot. These are all great inspirations and will help make your client’s life a lot easier.

  2. Samantha says:

    Such good information here, Kate! I think my favorite outfit combination is the blue and grey one, but I also had to say that first image with the pier behind them is just INCREDIBLE!! Beautiful work!

  3. This is a great blog post for everyone thinking about a family session. I am always drawn to naturals, but this post made me realise I actually really like a pop of colour too.

  4. Becky Furry says:

    These are great ideas! Thanks for sharing…our family session is coming up and it’s so much easier to have a starting point.

  5. Ellen says:

    I spy some of my favorite dresses and kid outfits to recommend to clients on this list! This is so helpful to make styling your family for photos a bit easier 🙂

  6. Julianna says:

    This is such a helpful post to help plan photos! Love that you mention considering framing so the outfits match the home decor. Such a great point!

  7. […] from around the world. This week, my dear friend Kate Voda just shared the perfect tips for Outfits for family photos. Go check out this wonderful resource on how to style your family for your next […]

  8. Jasmyn says:

    Kate this is wonderful for family planning outfits! I always need to see them paired together to truly get an understanding of what looks best. This is definitely a valuable resource for all families!

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