What to Wear for Family Photos

family walking in an open field in Roseburg, Oregon smiling and laughing during family photos

What to Consider When Selecting Family Photo Outfits

Picking out family photo outfits can feel like such a daunting task, and often can feel like the most stressful part of family photos. Even as a professional family photographer, I don’t love picking out my own outfits! So here are a few questions to consider when starting to select your outfits. You can also download my FREE what to wear style guide HERE.

If you’re new here, hi! I’m Sadie. Your St. George photo location expert, styling assistant, and family photographer (but, like the fun kind). I am here to do everything in my power to make this the least stressful, most comfortable, and most fun photo experience you’ve had. 

Since starting my business in 2019, I have photographed over 200 families in Colorado and Oregon. I am so excited to now serve families in St. George, Utah and the surrounding areas–the place that I grew up and now call my family’s home. I can’t wait to meet you and your family! You can learn more about me and my family photography business here.

  1. What does your home look like? This might seem like kind of a funny question to ask in relation to family photos, but hear me out. Your photos will likely be displayed in your home. So, if your home has a very bright and airy feel those types of colors would probably work well for family photo outfits. Or maybe if you have more blues or darker tones, consider those for colors.
  2. What do you want your photos to feel like? Do you want them to feel really casual? Maybe a step above casual? Or maybe even a bit more romantic and bold? This will help you decide between those comfy jeans or maybe a bold and colorful dress.
  3. Where will your photos be taken? What will that setting look like? If you are going to have a big scenic background, consider more neutral tones that will help you stand out without competing against the colorful background. Or, if you are going to be in an open field with green trees consider something a bit more colorful to help you stand out more.

How to Pick Colors For Your Family Photos

After considering those three questions and settling a bit more on how you want your photos to fit in your home you can really start narrowing down what colors would work best for you and your family.

First: Mom gets to pick her outfit!

This is always my first rule, mom gets to pick her outfit first. If mom loves her outfit, she is more likely to feel confident, beautiful, and way more likely to love the way the photos turn out.

Selecting Your Bold Color

This is optional, but always recommended. Start with a bold color that is still neutral. Meaning maybe instead of a bright red, leaning towards a soft brick red, same for orange. Lean towards a burnt orange rather than a bright or neon orange. These softer colors always photograph well and usually look more flattering as well.

Depending on how many people will be in your photos, I usually recommend only having one person wear the bold color and then everyone else can compliment and maybe have some subtle accessories of the bold color.

Select “almost neutral” colors

These are your “almost neutral” colors. The soft colors that still feel warm and offer a pop of color. If you didn’t select a “bold” color, select two of these colors to add to your family photo outfit palette.

If you selected a bold color, pick one complementing color to your bold color pick.

Fill in with Neutrals

You know what neutrals are! These are the soft colors that can literally be paired with everything!

Fill in your gaps with these colors. This can be a white dress, khaki pants, etc. I will say, I almost always opt for an off-white or a cream rather than a stark white.

Should Your Wear Black for Family Photos?

Black isn’t totally off the options, however I will say that it makes everything feel very heavy. So refer back to your answers to the first three questions above. If you want something a bit more bold, feel free to incorporate black. I know that black is so comfy and trust me, I have a closet FULL of black. It is usually a color that I steer people away from thought.

What shoes should you wear for family photos?

Don’t forget about shoes! These are a big detail that often get overlooked. Brown shoes are my favorite for everyone. Gray also works well for photos. Please don’t wear bright white shoes (unless they are sandals) because they stand out like a sore thumb and stay away from any and all athletic shoes. We want to make sure the first thing people see in your photos are you and not neon or bright white shoes. Boots are always perfect in the colder months and sandals or nice flats are great when it’s warmer. Nice-looking chucks are also fine if it goes with the outfit and doesn’t stand out too much.

Should you wear a dress for family photos?

I am a big fan of flowy dresses for family photos! Dresses also help break up the solid line that can be created when everyone is standing together with pants and a shirt on. The movement and texture from flowy dresses adds so much to your photos. Texture and flow can also be added by pairing something a little more fitted with a long duster too.

What should babies wear for family photos?

Let’s be honest, just about anything you put a baby or a toddler in is absolutely adorable. I strongly suggest making sure that their diaper will be covered. This is why I love jumpers, rompers, or little onesies that can be tucked into pants. I recommend avoiding skirts as those often just get squished up anyways.

What should boys wear for family photos?

For younger boys, rompers, and overalls are always adorable. For older boys and men henley’s, sweaters, and casual button down shirts are great. I recommend avoiding nice button down or polo shirts..basically anything that looks like they are heading into the office.

Sadie Peterson Photography: FREE What to Wear Guide

Want to see how this all comes together? Looking for a few more ideas on what to wear for family photos? I have a FREE what to wear guide that will walk you through everything. You can download it here!

Ask Your Photographer For Help!

Sometimes it’s super helpful to reach out to your photographer to bounce off ideas or even get their opinion on how things will look. I love to offer my clients as much or as little help as they would like. I’ve happily sent links back and forth and even hopped on FaceTime calls to look over outfits together. My goal is to always make photos fun and stress-free for my client’s. I’d love to help make your family photos memorable too. Let’s connect!