One important element to consider in advance of having your portrait taken is what each person will wear. In order to create a stress free day, I suggest planning each family member’s outfit well in advance of picture day. 


Here are some important guidelines for styling your family:

Do: Consider colors.

Choose flattering neutrals (such a gray, beige, pale pink, white) and simple patterns (such as stripes or polka dots.) Avoid fluorescent colors (and green when shooting outdoors.) And don’t forget to plan for the shoes!

Do: Consider the climate.

Freezing, or being unbearably sweaty, can ruin the experience of a portrait session. I suggest bringing layers that allow family members to remove or add pieces (such as a cardigan over a sleeveless dress) if the temperature shifts. 

Don’t: Wear items of clothing with text, images or distracting accessories.

Avoid items such as tee-shirts with slogans or images printed across them. The same goes for giant bow headbands or clips. Items such as these will draw attention away from the subject of the photographs: your beautiful family!

Do: Consider the trendiness vs. timelessness of your outfit.

We’ve probably all had that moment where we uncover old photos of our parents or grandparents and marvel at (or make fun of) their fashion. Items that are particularly trendy will feel dated in the future. That may appeal to you (as it captures a moment in time) or you may prefer a more timeless look. As long as your choice is intentional, there isn’t a wrong answer, so choose according to your personal preference.

Do: Coordinate. 

Often my clients will choose two to three main colors to draw from. If they are lovers of color, they may add a pop of color as an accent as well. Avoid dressing the family in outfits that exactly match, because it looks very forced.

Do: Check the fit.

Clothing that fits perfectly always looks best. Ironically, that means if you are purchasing clothing for your toddler or baby, consider sizing down (for example, dressing your 13 month old in size: 6-12 month.) This is because clothing for children often leaves considerable “room to grow” which, although convenient for everyday use, don’t look best in photographs. For adults, just remember to try the pieces on in advance of the portrait day so you can evaluate if the fit is best for your current shape.

Do: Dress for comfort.

Mothers with a nursing child are encouraged to wear nursing dresses. Especially for newly post-partum moms, please don’t feel pressure to squeeze into jeans or pre-pregnancy clothing! Wear something that makes you feel happy, easy and unselfconscious. 

Do: Ask for help!

I love styling, and am happy to help you sort through your choices, as well as to direct you to some of my favorite places to shop for clothing that photographs well. Feel free to reach out with questions!


What to Wear to your Family Portrait Session