What To Wear in Family Photos

Today we’re going to talk about What to Wear in Family Photos. We actually have family photos scheduled for next week, so I’ve been perusing Pinterest for ideas and trying to plan our outfits based on what we have in our closets.

I like to work with 3 colors when planning family photo outfits. It’s a fine line between coordinating and being too matchy-matchy. Three colors seems to be enough to keep it interesting while still keeping it cohesive so the outfits aren’t distracting. It’s best when at least one color is a neutral.

One year we did shades of red and pink with gray and denim as our neutrals. Oh my gosh, we were ever young!!! LOL!


Then we did this one a few years ago, where we all wore shades of navy, gray and purple.

FAMILY PHOTO web version

And we clearly like purple and grey because we ended up using those colors again a couple of years later, this time with black instead of navy as our third color. You notice I don’t really count denim, although I suppose it is technically a fourth color.


That one is our most recent “official” family photo, and it was two years ago. It’s amazing to me how much the kids have changed in just two years.

This year, I think I’ve decided to go with a combination of gray, navy and red. We all tend to look best in bold colors. I was trying to make a really cool wintry palette work with white, grey and pastel pink or ice blue, but I would have had to purchase way too many pieces to make it all come together. And I think my boys look best in bold colors anyway, so I scrapped that.

When I’m trying to decide what to wear, I have to lay it out. Not only does it help me picture how the pieces are going to all work together, but it also ensures that I don’t forget an essential piece of clothing so picture day goes off without a hitch. I know, this is gross. I could have at least made my bed, right?? You can see my attempts at gray and pink and white in the background, lol.


By laying it out, I can see that I need more red. I ordered red tights for the little one and a red t-shirt to go under my older daughter’s grey sweater that is on the far right. it has short sleeves, so her red sleeves will show. I also have ordered a sweater for my son that is grey and navy with one red stripe. I think it’s coming together nicely!

I also want to split up the pairs. My husband and I are the tallest, so I don’t want us to both be waring the same color on top and bottom. I’m planning to wear red on top and will let him wear navy or red.

Here are some family photos that may inspire you as you plan for your next family photo session! 

My friend Mel did shades of blue and white.

Angert Family Photo

Steph is a photographer, and she has a whole post on What to Wear for Fall Family Photos. This family looks amazing in red, black and off-white.


I love how Annie used a combination of pink, blue and turquoise for a colorful combo. I love the pops of pink.


My friend Tara dressed her family in shades of grey and pink. This is the kind of muted palette I was thinking of gong for.

gray and pink family photos

Here are some tips for planning your family photos.

Tips for Fabulous Family Photos

1. Be YOU in your family photo. Don’t wear something for your family photo that you would never otherwise wear. If you are casual people, go casual. If you like to dress up, go for it. Shop your closets and only add a few necessary pieces. I like looking back at family photos and seeing much loved and well worn clothing.

2. Ditch the matchy-matchy. Instead, coordinate outfits based loosely on a color scheme or theme. Not sure where to begin selecting a color palette? Find a piece you love and want someone to wear. Then coordinate around that. I’ve been advised by photographers in the past to choose my own outfit first. We moms tend to put ourselves last, but you won’t want to hang that photo if you don’t feel good about how you look. I usually end up working around one of the kids’ pieces, but then again, I have so many clothes I can always find something to work into the look, lol!!!

3. Don’t get caught up in the perfect. It is okay if not everyone is smiling and looking at the camera. Sometimes candid shots are the best of all.


Lindsey actually used the portrait studio we are going to next week! I love how she’s looking down at her son.

4. Crop ’em out! Don’t worry if everyone’s outfit isn’t “picture perfect” — sorry, I couldn’t resist. If you’re not happy with the outfits, then crop ’em out! And focus in on the subjects that really matter. I love photos that crop in real close and just show the faces. This is easier with fewer subjects, of course. It’s a great way to showcase your kids.

5. Use natural light. If you’re taking them yourself, outdoor pictures are almost always best. There is a magic hour just before sunset, but if you’re taking photos during the day, direct sunlight is harsh so take your photos in the shade. Cloudy days work well, actually.

6. Learn how to position yourself and take 10 years off. SERIOUSLY. Be sure to sit up straight and point your chin down and even jut it out just a bit. If you retract your neck, then your face will look much heavier than it is. Also, tilt your head just a bit so that you aren’t looking dead-on into the camera. Stand slightly sideways, with one shoulder towards the camera. And ideally, the cameraman (or tripod) should be taking the photo from slightly above you. Practice in the mirror, I mean it. It takes a few tries to get it right.

UPDATE: We went with grays and black and white for our family portrait. I couldn’t be more pleased with how it turned out.

family picture photo 2014

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11 Responses

  1. I read the same comment about mom picking her outfit first. And then decided my husband has the fewest clothes so I started with him, lol. With just 3 of us it wasn’t too hard that way.

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