What To Wear For Family Pictures

I’ve always loved having family pictures taken and sending holiday photo cards. Even before we had kids, I remember setting our camera on a timer to get a picture of us with our cat in front of the Christmas tree so I could send holiday photo cards to friends and family.

Then as our family grew beyond the fur-baby stage, we would always try to get at least one good family picture each year. Often we would have my mom take one when we were on vacation in Maine, sometimes we would plunk the kids down in front of the tree and snap away until we got something decent, and every once in a while we would splurge on a professional photographer. I love to look back through those years of holiday photos and reminisce.

This year, we’re kind of at a crossroads as a family. My son is a senior in high school and will be heading off to college next year. *cue tears* Plus the kids are all in between braces at the moment, which is nice, and they’re all old enough to cooperate and enjoy the process… okay, well, at least they cooperate.

I decided to do it up right and get a professional set of family photos that I can use for the holidays and also to capture this exciting stage we’re in as a family, so last weekend we met up with Alison Cornell at Valley Forge Park. The fall foliage is at its peak right now, and the scenery couldn’t be more beautiful.

Okay, so it took some time to get everyone’s attention focused in the right direction.

But Alison worked her magic, and before long, we were all on the same page… even the dog!

I couldn’t be more pleased with how our pictures turned out. Alison did a great job engaging the kids (and the dog, ha!) and I love how we have so many poses to choose from. If you’re local and looking for a family photographer, reach out to Alison. She’s super talented and fun and easy to work with.

Next comes the hard part… creating out our holiday photo cards!!! I’m going to be ordering from Minted again this year because I love how my photo cards from there turned out last year, and they’re running a 15% off sale this weekend.

What To Wear For Family Pictures

This post was supposed to be about what to wear in family photos, so let’s discuss that! Here’s my strategy for coming up with our outfits for family pictures, and hopefully it’s helpful to some of you.

#1. Dress as yourselves.

If you look up what to wear for family photos on Pinterest, you will see so many adorable families in completely coordinating outfits with little splashes of color here and there. There are lots of layers and accessories to make it fun and interesting, and that’s great if that’s your jam. But we are plain people, and I want our family pictures to represent us — perhaps a slightly better version of us, but I want us to be recognizable.

Plus it’s just not worth the angst to put everyone in outfits they would never normally wear because they be uncomfortable and that will show. I literally spent less than 20 minutes coming up with our outfits on Sunday morning with stuff we had in our closets, and I think it worked out just fine. (That said, I don’t really recommend that!) It’s better to plan ahead so you can go shopping and fill in any wardrobe gaps if you need to; but if you’re in a time crunch, do your best with what you have. It will be fine.

#2. Don’t match, but do coordinate. 

If you all wear the same color shirt, you’re going to look too matchy-matchy, so I like to choose three colors and have everyone wear some combination of those. Choosing three colors that work well together allows everyone to look a little bit different, but no one stands out. In this case, we all wore some combination of burgundy, navy, and grey.

I decided we should all wear jeans because it’s easy, they coordinate, and we all wear jeans every day anyway (except my son — these are his one token pair of jeans that he will wear when I insist, but he takes them off as soon as he can. I’m not quite sure how we’re related!!!)

#3. Choose a hero piece and work the other outfits around it. 

It’s fine for everyone to dress in solids, but I prefer to have one or two in a print to add interest since we don’t do a lot of layering. I was folding laundry on Sunday morning and looked up and saw the shirt my husband is wearing hanging on the rack, and that was my inspiration. It’s a shirt that he loves and wears often, the colors look good on him, and it has colors in it that the rest of us have in our closets. BINGO! Once I had picked out Paul’s shirt, the rest came together fairly quickly.

#4. Lay all the outfits out on the bed so you can see how they all work together. 

I always do this, and I wish I’d taken a picture to show you, but as I said, I was doing this last minute on Sunday morning before church! It’s a great way to see how it will all look together and fill in any missing pieces or make last minute swaps. I did have a couple outfit ideas for two of us that I was trying to decide between, and when I laid it all out, it was pretty obvious which ones were the better choices.

#5. Do wear something that makes you feel pretty. 

As moms, we tend to put ourselves last, but this is not the time to be the martyr and leave your outfit as the last priority. You are probably going to be the one choosing the poses, and you will be looking at these pictures for years to come, not to mention it can be a significant financial investment. Make sure you make your outfit a priority in the selection process, and if you need to go out and buy something new that you love, do it!

So that’s about it! It’s not that complicated, but it’s amazing how overwhelming it can feel to put it all together, so I hope this post is helpful if you’re planning family pictures this year.

Jo-Lynne’s Outfit: sweater (40% off) //  jeans // boots // necklace

Paul’s Outfit: shirt // jeans // shoes

D’s Outfit: similar t-shirt // jeans // shoes

C’s Outfit: similar sweater // jeans // similar booties

R’s Outfit: sweater // jeans // boots

Did you like this post?

Subscribe to get updates in your email inbox! You can also connect with me on Instagram and Facebook.

This post contains affiliate links. When you shop through my links, it helps support my business (at no additional cost to you) so thank you!

Join The Conversation

28 Responses

  1. Beautiful pictures! Those are exactly the steps I followed for our beach pictures, I chose clothes in our closets, a new off the shoulder dress that fit my 9 months pregnant belly at the time and we were lucky that someone offered to take a few shots of us as a whole family! They turned out great!

  2. Such helpful advice! I really liked the idea of laying out the outfits to see if they work together and the advice about dressing as yourselves and not being too matchy – matchy ….I have often tried to force my kids to wear what I like for them instead of what they like.
    You look so lovely in these photos BTW!
    On a somewhat unrelated topic; I would be very interested in finding out how you got started as a blogger. Maybe you actually did a post on this and I missed it?

  3. Lovely family photos, Jo-Lynne. And Valley Forge Park was a perfect spot!! Your husband’s plaid shirt really does pull everything together. Thanks for sharing those “candid” photos, too. I love the ones on their phone and your expressions! Priceless!!!!! We hope to do this right after Christmas with 9 of us (3 little kids), outside! Hoping for a light dusting of snow, we’ll see!

  4. I love family pictures. Last ones we had were two years ago and I had all the outfits picked out for our fall photo shoot – jeans and sweaters. The day of our pictures it was unseasonably warm – short and tshirt weather! So that’s what we did – that morning, I did what you said and took 3 colors that all of us had and we had these beautiful pictures in our shorts and t-shirts with the fall colors in the background!. I wanted to get more done this year, but my son (who will also be graduating this year) said we will get lots of family pictures in the spring. 🙁 ok – I’m going to hold him to that!

  5. Beautiful pictures, loved the advise for family picture outfits and the candid pictures thanks for sharing them to cute

  6. Awesome pics…love the jeans that’s how my family would roll!!  I really need to get on the stick and get some new family photos…last we did a family photo, I think the kids were 2 or 3????

  7. I love everything about the pictures. The background, the poses and the outfits. Perfect. I had to laugh at the looks you gave your son when he was on his phone. 🙂 To me this is so much better than getting all dressed up. Great family pictures. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Wow! Nice family photos! Thanks for the advice for having one piece to be the inspiration. Looks like it was great weather for pictures! Love the phone shots! 🙂 That’s what it’s “really” like.

  9. Great pictures Jo-Lynne! I love the candid shots. The posed shots turned out beautiful! Will be lasting memories for you and your family.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Close this search box.