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What to Wear to Your Family Photo Session Without Buying New Clothes

Updated: Aug 6, 2021

"What do we wear to our session?"

Colors? Stripes? Patterns? It's all so stressful sometimes, right? So, I'm going to make this simple and give you some rules to get you started for when you're prepping for your family photo session. Best part is, you won't have to worry about buying new clothes!

If you think you have this down and just want some outfit inspiration, you can go here for my pinned board on that.

1. Biggest one: dress for the weather!

I can't stress this enough. Please check the weather and dress for comfort. If you know it's going to be windy, maybe don't wear that hat that always flies away. If you know it's going to be cold enough for you to want to wear a sweater, don't plan to show off that sleeveless knee-length dress. If we're outside, don't wear heels that will dig into the ground. If you're not comfortable in your outfit, you won't be comfortable in your photos. You don't want that.

2. Coordinate colors, not matching colors. Neutrals and earthy tones win.

I know it's traditional for everyone to be wearing the same outfit or the same colors, but trust me-- you do not want that! What happens is when everyone wears the same thing, the first thing everyone will notice is the clothes instead of the beautiful people in them! You don't want that.

You can't really go wrong with those colors: brown, beige, tan, grays. Then add some pattern or a splash of color. If you're like me and would rather have a visual, I've got some an inspiration board of coordinating outfits here.

3. Avoid all black/all white, neon colors, characters or big logos

All-black loses detail and and all-white makes the photos look bland. Neon colors almost never looks good photographed and will hurt your eyes. Characters and big logos can be distracting in photos, but I say, if it's a huge part of your child's personality at this stage in life, keep it! You want to remember them for who they are right now.

Please wear something that's comfortable and shows your personality. Don't go out and buy a form-fitting dress when you like to rock jeans and boots! (Also, a form-fitting dress would make it difficult for you to interact with your kids and lose the connection that these photos are all about. So, just be comfortable.)

4. Limit patterns. Utilize simple layers.

Patterns are fine, but use sparingly! If everyone in the family has a different pattern, your photos will look busy. Instead, find clothes with subtle patterns and have only a few family members wearing it. If you want something more from your outfits, consider adding layers. Add a scarf. Wear tall boots over your pants. Wear a headband. Wear jewelry (but think simple!).

5. Look at the decorations and wall colors of your home.

This one often gets overlooked. But the point of getting photographs taken is so you can look at them! Right? Almost all my families say they want these to go up on their walls! So, does the color scheme in your home go well with the outfits you were planning? Most of the time, the answer is already yes because we're drawn to the same color scheme whether it's on our walls or in our outfits, so I wouldn't stress too much about it!

There you have it! These are some tips for you to get started with, but know that if you show up without doing any of this, you are going to be just fine. We'll still get some great shots and what's important is you showed up and are getting in the frame with your kids!


Some obligatory SEO to help awesome families find me on Google: This post is written by NH Family Photographer in New Hampshire. She serves Seacoast NH towns like Portsmouth, Durham, Dover, Exeter, Seabrook. Maine family photographer and Kittery and York Maine. Newborn photographer, sessions can be lifestyle or documentary. This post is on what to wear to a family photography session with Karen Wituszynski.

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