Frequently I’m asked by my clients “what should we wear for our family portrait?” Picking the perfect outfit for family pictures can cause a lot of stress, but doesn’t need to. Preparing and dressing for your family portraits is pretty simple.  When it comes to deciding what to wear, the goal is to make the people stand out, not the clothing.  So here are some tips and suggestions for mastering your photo outfits and making everyone look good.



  • Solids colors are best.  Busy, loud patterns or logos draw too much attention to the clothes in your photos, so solids are always a safe bet!  Especially avoid clothes with fine, repetitive lines. The camera often distorts these lines.
  • Avoid wearing all white or all black since it can be distracting. These colors throw off camera exposure and often washes out your complexion.
  • Everyone should dress in a similar-style, All casual or all formal.
  • Dress in the same color palette (see aqua, tan and beige below) or pick 2 or 3 complimentary colors (see yellow, red, black below) and have everyone wear different varieties of those colors. When everyone wears the same exact thing it can be too matchy. On the same note avoid “rainbow” photos where each family in an extended family wears one color. Women’s clothing is more colorful than men’s clothing.  A good rule of thumb is to start with picking a color they like best for the girls, then put the guys in a more neutral color.  And don’t forget to accessorize the ladies with scarfs and/or headbands.
  • Textures and layers always look nice.  Knits, scarves and sweaters for the fall and winter portraits are great on camera! Short sleeves in a winter scene look silly and make you COLD and MISERABLE during the session.
  • Consider wearing dresses or tops that cover your arms partially or fully, especially if you are concerned about how your upper arms look.  Bare arms tend to stand-out in a photos.FAM050
  • Shoes and Socks matter.  If you’re thinking your socks and/or shoes don’t matter because they won’t be in the photo….think again!  Many times I will pose families in a seated or kneeling position on the ground which will definitely show shoes and socks.  Please wear socks and shoes that match the color of your clothes and your clothing style
  • If you wear eye glasses all the time you will want to wear them in the pictures, but if you have a pair that are not transitions, have non-glare glass or are frames without glass…BRING THEM. If you have contacts this is even better.


Below are some color combination ideas, but feel free to come up with your own combinations.