Fall is here which means so are fall family photo sessions. Choosing what to wear for your family photos can cause you to go down the rabbit hole, and if you’re not careful, cause you to waste more time than you intended. But it doesn’t have to be that hard. With a few simple tips, you can effortlessly choose outfits for each member of your family so that your photos look beautiful, cohesive, and timeless.

So today I’m going to give you my top tips for choosing outfits for your family to wear during photos. I’m even going to show you some of my favorite outfits for inspiration. Let’s dig in!

Consider the Setting

Talk to your family photographer about where you’re going to take the photos. Is it going to be downtown? In a field? At a lake? In the mountains? The beach? The clothes you wear should reflect the location to at least some degree… If you’re having your photos taken in a downtown-city location, it could be cool to get dressed up in semi-formal attire. Yes—even for the kids! Think about it: If you have a son or daughter who LOVES getting dressed up, how excited are they going to be to get extra dressed up for photos? (This also will help ensure smiles and guarantee extra cuteness during your photo session.

Or… if you’re having your photos taken at a lake, something a little more casual would be a better choice. The textures of your clothes play off the textures of whatever is in the background of the photo. For example, something with lace would play off a hard, rocky exterior wall.
But the setting is more than just the location. Setting also includes the time, the season. So when is your photo session taking place—in the summer? Winter? You don’t want to be wearing a sweater and boots if all of the plants and trees around you are green because it’s summer time.

Choose Something That You WANT to Wear

Have you thought about rocking a gown, tulle skirt or flower crown but just never had an occasion for it? This is your chance to do it up! Remember: There is no such thing as “too dressed up” when it comes to your engagement session, so don’t be afraid to have some fun! If you don’t want to add a new permanent piece to your collection, you could always check out Rent the Runway because you don’t have to spend a lot to feel like a million bucks. Plus, you can send the outfits back when the session is over. But you may also love having a great excuse to bring a new permanent piece (or two!) to your closet!

Or… if you don’t have a dream outfit like that… wear something that you feel comfortable in and that makes you feel like yourself when you’re in front of the camera, especially if you’re not used to it.

And this goes for each member of your family. Think about outfits that reflect the personalities of your family members. Not only will this help each person feel more comfortable in front of the camera, but the photos will  also be a true reflection of the makeup of your family.

But Kendra, what if one of my family members loves wearing something that I hate? Or what if one of my family members loves wearing one kind of clothing that doesn’t look good with anything the rest of the family likes? OK, I get it. There are multiple personalities in your family. That’s a BEAUTIFUL thing. So in these cases, consider compromising. Maybe your session has two different outfit changes. Or maybe you can talk to your photographer about snapping some pics of a family member in his/her favorite outfit and having him/her change for the full family photos. There are ways to compromise to make everyone happy.

Coordinate Your Colors Carefully

One of the things families struggle with the most is how to choose outfits that complement each other well without being too matchy-matchy. I recommend choosing lighter tones and muted shades. The camera loves these shades. So does nature. By avoiding ultra-bright, bold colors, the attention will be on your individual family members and the way you feel about each other. 

As you choose outfits, keep in mind that you don’t want to be wearing the exact same colors. Choose colors that fall in the same color family. You could each choose a different dominant color but then all other colors are within the same family.

Don’t Forget Shoes and Accessories

Don’t forget to make sure everyone has comfortable shoes in good condition that match each outfit. Shoes will be in photos, so make sure you’re happy with them.

Belts, headbands, hairbows, and suspenders—while minimal accessories— can pack a major punch.

This also means take your phones out of your pockets. It makes your pants bulky and looks awkward in photos. You might also want to consider taking off any smart watches so they’re not lighting up with notifications throughout your session.

Examples of Family Photo Outfits

Looking for some family photo outfit inspiration? Here are some of my favorite outfits that my families have worn in the past:

Favorite Places to Buy and Curate Family Photo Outfits

J. Crew

H&M 

Amazon

Zara

Gap

Ok there you go! Hopefully this helps you when it comes to choosing outfits for your next family photo session.

Still looking for a photographer to capture your family in photos? I’d love to chat (yes, I travel!)

Your Comprehensive Guide of What to Wear to Your Family Photo Session