We are heading into fall, which means it is time for family photographs and planning your outfits! Selecting outfits is a stressful part of any family session, and one of the most commonly asked questions that I receive. I get it. The right look can make your images feel more polished and put together, and you want that feeling! Selecting the right color combinations or picking the right fit that flatters, those details can enhance your photographs. I am here to breakdown how to select the right outfits for your family!
1 | Think about the location.
As a photographer in Louisiana, our outdoor areas are filled with greenery. Even in fall, our leaves change later in the season. Think about the area where will you be photographing. Is it an open field? Is it a tree lined area? What are the common colors in the area? You want to select outfit colors that coordinate with the area versus blending into the background, which leads me to my next tip…
2 | Think about the color palette.
The right color palette can make or break your photographs. Some colors photograph better than others. I find that incorporating a mixture of soft, neutral colors in your color palette enhance your photographs. This includes colors like creams, whites, ivories, soft greys, pastels, soft blues, blushes, and taupes.
I recommend selecting 2-3 colors in a color palette, and then adding variations of those colors throughout your outfits. For example, think about a selecting a blue, cream, grey color palette. It may look something like this for a family of four:
- Mom: Long-sleeve navy maxi dress with a v-neckline/a-line silhouette paired with taupe open-toe booties
- Dad: Dark denim jeans, pale blue/white checkered button down shirt, dark brown belt, and dark brown dress shoes
- Older Sister (3 Years Old): Chambray long sleeve dress with cream leggings, brown boots, and cream colored bow
- Baby Brother (6 Months Old): Denim jeans, pale blue button down onesie with a light grey sweater on top
Or, a neutral color palette. Think khakis, taupes, creams, whites. It may look something like this for a family of three:
- Mom: Cream off-the-shoulder sweater paired with dark denim jeans and taupe booties
- Dad: Dark denim jeans, long sleeve navy shirt layered with a taupe sweater and brown dress shoes
- Baby Boy: Light colored khakis, baby blue button shirt, and brown dress shoes
Those color combinations work together well, and you have just the right amount of colors where your photographs will not appear too busy.
3 | Think about coordinating colors versus matching outfits.
The best tip for a family session is to make sure you wear colors that coordinate together versus completely matching each other. Avoid dressing your family in the same exact outfit, and try selecting colors in similar hues. For example, shades of blues (like soft blues, navy, denim, chambray), or popping shades of blue with a little pink (think navy and blush). The right color coordination brings a since of balance to your images.
4 | Think about dressing up.
Family pictures are a special occasion, and you want to look put together since these photographs are sent for Christmas cards and displayed in your home. I suggest taking your everyday outfit, and just enhancing it a bit.
For women, I recommend wearing a dress or a skirt as this brings a feminine, elegant touch to your photographs. Long, flowy dresses tend to photograph beautifully and add a touch a movement to your images (trust me, you will love the movement). If you are an expectant mama, I definitely recommend a long, flowy maxi dress as it will hug your bump in just the right spots. Also for expectant mamas, the flow of a long maxi dress gives you more options to position your hands as you hug your bump. If you prefer wearing denim, I suggest dark denim with a feminine top softer in color (think soft pink/blush or cream in color). Also, think about textures like lace, knit, chiffon, etc. Textures are a great way to add a “pop” to a photograph, especially when you select a solid color.
For men, I recommend dark denim or slacks with a polo or buttoned up shirt and closed toe shoes. Layering is a great option for the fall. Think about adding a sports jacket or a sweater layered on top of a button down shirt. It will enhance your outfit and look great on camera!
A Few Additional Tips:
- Avoid bright colors (think bright red or orange). With an outdoor session with lots of greenery, avoid green (specially dark green), as you may blend into the background.
- Best advice with where to start, pick your outfit first. Think about an outfit in your closest that every time you where it you feel good. How does fit? What color is it? When you look back at these photographs 10 years from now, will you love this outfit? You want to feel comfortable and beautiful in the from the camera. From there, select your husband and children’s outfits next.
- “Move” in your outfit, and make sure it “fits”. I include a few photographs with everyone smiling at the camera with every session, but my love is candid photography. I love laughing and playing and swinging and twirling with your children. I love snuggles and kisses and hugs. All that to say, I love to include movement in my posing. You want an outfit that will move with you.
- Places to Shop: Gap, Old Navy (great place to coordinate colors for children – also check out the “family matching” tab), J Crew, J Crew Factory, Nordstrom (free shipping and free returns), H&M (great spot for neutrals for children), Target (I love the Cat & Jack Brand), Amazon, Wren and Ivory (for those expectant or nursing mamas), and ROOLEE (for those expectant or nursing mamas) to name a few. `
Whether you have a dressy style or a more casual style, it always fun putting together a cohesive look for your family! When in doubt, reach out and connect with your photographer. I am always excited to be a part of the planning session with my clients and offer advice. Good luck, and happy family picture season!