Family Photo Sessions: How to Look Your Best and What to Wear

Gone are the days when everyone would wear matching outfits for family photos. Complementary coordinating colors that allow for individual style are the name of the game now. Trust me, you can accomplish a cohesive look without every family member wearing exactly the same outfit.

The first thing I suggest parents remember is that expressions on faces matter much more than what you wear that day. Because of that, make sure that your children are comfortable in the outfit they are wearing in the shoot. That means comfortable physically and mentally. Scratchy or stiff fabrics can really irritate children. If possible, let your child have some input into their outfit choice so that they have a vested interest in the shoot. Try to embrace their own personal style. When possible try to avoid shirts with busy patterns, neon colors, or big logos/graphics as they can be very distracting in a shot. Attention should be on the faces of the people in the photo, not what they are wearing. If on the day of the shoot the child refuses to wear the outfit they were supposed to wear, do not force them to wear it. This will only result in tears and frowns instead of smiles during the shoot. Let them pick something else out to wear that they are comfortable in and don’t give it a second thought.

Choose clothes that are well tailored to your body, not ones that are too tight or shapeless. Tops like kaftans and chunky sweaters tend to make people look much bigger than they actually are in photos. Clothes that are too tight are also unflattering. Women should be aware of how much cleavage they are comfortable showing in a family photo. Avoid clothes that might show your bra straps by mistake. Try on your outfit in advance and see if you are happy with the look, don’t leave this crucial step out until the morning of your shoot.

Be sure to pick an outfit you will be comfortable sitting in. During family photos your photographer will often have you sit posing on the ground, on a rock, on a chair, or a bench. Very short skirts and tight skirts often make this type of pose difficult.

Parents, your job during the shoot is to keep your attention and eyes on the photographer and just keep smiling. Don’t repeatedly tell your child to smile and don’t worry if your kids aren’t smiling. It’s the photographer’s job to get them to smile, not yours. You don’t want the moment they do smile for you to be looking down trying to see if they are smiling or not.

If you need some more guidance on color choices for outfits, here are some general color combinations that work well together:

  • Denim and Tan
  • Brown and Maroon
  • Denim, Yellow, Crimson
  • Navy, Tan, Cream
  • Crimson, Tan, Denim
  • Crimson, Tan, Denim, Navy
  • Red, Grey, Black
  • Navy and Crimson
  • Blush and White
  • Light Blue, Tan, White
  • Navy, Yellow, White
  • Tan and White
  • Orange and Teal
  • Light Blue, Tan, White
  • Blue, Green, Yellow
  • Glitter and White
  • Teal, Purple, White, and Grey

You may also choose certain colors to play up the seasons in your family shoot.

Spring colors tend to be paler shades:

  • Pale peach
  • Blush pink
  • Mint green
  • Baby blue
  • Cream
  • Light gray
  • Soft yellow
  • Spring green
  • Lavender

Summer colors are bright and bold:

  • White
  • Yellow
  • Bold Red
  • Bright Orange
  • Bold Pink
  • Turquoise
  • Royal Blue

Fall Colors are warm tones:

  • Browns
  • Mustard Yellow
  • Burnt Orange
  • Dark Shades of Green
  • Dark Purple
  • Neutrals

Winter/Christmas are jewel tones:

  • White
  • Cream
  • Brown
  • Black
  • Medium to Dark Gray
  • Ruby Red
  • Dark Purple
  • Emerald Green
  • Blue

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