One of the questions clients ask the most is, “What should we wear?” Here’s one suggestion for a spring family photo shoot. I choose all these items from Old Navy. All you need to do is add a few of your own basics and accessories. Best part, these pieces come in under $100.

My best advice for what to wear for family photos is this:

  1. We want to wear matching polos and jeans. Is that okay? Please don’t match! It seems like a good (and maybe even easy) idea at first, but the photos turn out less interesting. Most of the time, the matching outfit, is not what someone would normally wear, and it’s obvious that they are uncomfortable. Not really what you want your face to say in a photo that will hang on the wall for a while. ((I am re-reading this and want to add, I have seen matching clothes (i.e. all white) successful when #5 is applied))
  2. Can you do my hair and makeup? No! And neatness counts! Go ahead and iron and remove those grass stains. Hair cuts are good too. Fresh skin and hair are a must. Photoshop can only do so much :)
  3. Is it okay if we try something new? Keep your style consistent with what you would normally wear. If you are not a leather jacket kind of person, family photos is not really the time to experiment with this look. Likewise, if you are not a pearls and ballet flat’s kind of mom, don’t force yourself into that either.
  4. What colors should we wear? Have you visited Pinterest? There are all kinds of great color scheme ideas there (for photos and otherwise). Again, this is not the time to experiment with colors you don’t normally wear. I think a good rule of thumb is to pick 3 coordinating colors, and one accent. For example my family’s last photo shoot we wore: Navy, white, khaki, and our accent was apple green. Check out my board on what to wear in photos on Pinterest. And this other color board might give you some inspiration too.
  5. Are simple outfits best? Layer, layer, layer. Some of my favorite photo shoots include styling where kids are dressed in layers and/or include multiple textures in their clothing. For fall and winter this is a bit easier, i.e. a t-shirt with button down shirt on top, covered with a sweater vest and a blazer. For spring or summer try layering with accessories, i.e. a hat and a scarf. Another idea: layer tank tops and skirts with leggings underneath. If you check out your favorite store’s home page or catalog, you’ll see great examples of how their stylists put the brand’s clothes together for their own photo shoots.
  6. Should I dress for the location? Depending on where you are taking your photos, the weather does not have to dictate your clothing. My family took our family photos on the beach every year. Sometimes we took a “summer” themed shot in November. Yes it was freezing, and we would grab our coats between shots, but my mother would have us wear summer clothes. We laugh about it now (and we cried about it then), but the photos look like it was a beautiful summer day. Same goes for using a more urban or industrial location. Free yourself up to choose clothing for the family that you like, and don’t limit yourself by the current season or weather conditions.
  7. Can we wear prints? You don’t really want your clothes to over power the subjects in the photos. This can happen with prints. Some people have amazing style sense and can pull prints off really well in ways I would never expect. Most of us don’t fall into that category. If you are going to put a few people in prints (stripes, plaids, patterns, flowers) Keep the prints varied in size. And try keeping some of them under layers of other things (i.e. a plaid shirt on dad, under a blazer. AND a printed shirt on your little guy with a solid tee underneath.)

Have any tips on what to wear in family photos? Or what NOT to wear? Would you like me to talk about this more often?

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