What to Wear for Family Pictures

One of the questions I get asked the most is about What to Wear for Family Pictures. Figuring out everyone’s outfits for your photo session can feel overwhelming but don’t worry, I’m here to help!

Think like a designer and start by choosing a palette of colors. Instead of trying to have everyone match perfectly; come up with three to five colors that compliment each other and then everyone can wear something within that color scheme. It’s a good idea to have one or two neutrals as a base, then the main colors and possibly one accent color that you will pull through to add interest… this could be in a scarf or pair of shoes. Sometimes kiddos get to wear the bright colors!

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If you don’t have a color palette in mind you can think seasonally. Here are hues for Autumn vs. Spring. I just hopped over to Pinterest to source these and you’ll find hundreds more with a quick search for “color palette” or something similar.

warm autumn sample color palette
warm spring palette

Another way to choose your palette is by location. Here’s a great example of a family that built their outfits around the colors at Red Rocks Park … and truly nailed it, I might add!

Red Rocks Family Portrait

Don’t be afraid to add stripes or patterns into the mix. This adds interest and looks fabulous as long as you don’t go overboard! Pro tip – BLUE is a solid color to build around. Almost everyone looks good in blue and it’s one of the most popular colors for family portraits.

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Now that we have sorted out colors lets talk about fit. I recommend wearing clothes you feel comfortable in and that are suited to your environment. If you are planning to be very dressed up (high heels, coat and tie) that will be best with a formal backdrop like downtown Denver or in a studio. If we are headed to the mountains it’s casual or “dressy casual” for the win!

A few more tips….

  • Fitted clothing will look more flattering in photos than something baggy and loose.
  • Stay away from big logos or super trendy outfits.
  • Layers are great!
  • A hat is always fun!
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There used to be rules about what to wear for professional photos but now those are really more like suggestions. Here are a few rules I learned back in the day with the reasoning behind each one explained. Have you heard of any of these?

  • “Don’t wear white” – The viewers eye goes to the brightest part of the photo or the area with the most contrast so if you wear white the viewers eye may go to your clothing rather than your face. White works in many circumstances, though. Especially with a bright background!
  • “Wear long sleeves” – again this goes to the possibility that the viewers eye will be drawn to the the skin on your arms rather than your face but it’s really not that much of an issue.
  • “Stay away from patterns and bright colors” – This goes to distraction again and sure, that can happen if you are wearing the brightest neon or extremely bold patterns but smaller, conservative patterns or bright colors can be lovely.
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There you have it! The secret to a cohesive looking family photo is to put some effort into coordinating outfit. Then instead of “everyone matching” think “everything complimenting” and you will look great!

father and son
natural family picture photography



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- Arvada Family Photographer-

Arvada Family Photographer, Beth Wedlake creates stylish images of your family, child and high school senior. 25 years in business, 30 years in photography. Home studio located in Olde Town Arvada, Colorado. Service area includes Denver Metro area - Denver, Lakewood, Wheat Ridge, Morrison, Golden, Westminster, Thorton, Brighton, Superior, Boulder, CO and more.

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