What to wear | Maryland Family Photographer

What To Wear To Your Family Session


It’s September which basically means the official busiest time of the year has started! For me, as a family photographer, my calendar is typically filled with portrait sessions for updated photos and Christmas cards. With this, my clients typically ask for help on what to wear. This is one of the aspects of my job that I love so much, and part of the service that I offer. Planning and coordinating your outfits will make for the best and most successful session. Here are a few tips on how to pick your outfit!


Pick your colors

Typically, I suggest two – three colors. Put one person in a print or patterned outfit and pull colors from there. Or just pick three colors, but with this many colors, it would be best to not have too many patterns. For example, in this photo, mom has a patterned dress, and from her dress she was able to pull white for the baby’s dress, and blues and khaki for dad’s outfit. It’s one of my go-to tip!

Another example would be picking multiple colors in muted tones. All the soft creams and pastels for this family session makes for a successful outfit because none of the colors overpower each other, and there are different textures present in mom and baby’s dress.


Introduce light patterns, and accessories.

On this session, the main outfit to pull from was their daughter’s top. They were able to pull pinks, blues, and whites, and distributed those colors to everyone else. A cream dress for mom with a necklace in the same color scheme, and the boys in the same color, but with subtle patterns were able to round out this set. Don’t be afraid to mix and match patterns, specially when there’s more than three people in your family. The best tip is to make sure that the patterns all have a similar contrast.  Having the outfits in the same color family works best!


Coordinate, not match.

I know we’re used to the idea from back in the day to wear the same outfit. Just think of it this way, on a typical outing with your family, would you all wear white shirts and khakis all together? It makes it look like everyone is wearing a uniform. If anything, the only thing to match your outfits to would be your walls in your home. Once you hang your photos, how would the colors you picked for your session look? Since most portrait photos are displayed, it’s good to keep in mind how your outfits would look when placed on your wall or mantle.


Take advantage of stores that offer styling

Did you know a lot of stores will offer to help style your whole family for a session? Stores like the Gap would love to pull looks for your whole family! Nordstrom is another store that offers the same service!



I enjoy having accessories in photos! It could be a statement necklace for mom, or headbands for your daughter. Need some? Don’t be afraid to ask me to bring my stash! I love bringing my own pieces for you to use for your photos!



Introduce layers in your photos. Along with textures, layers also add a lot of character and a lot more depth to your final product. Specially if you’re having a session during the colder weather, you can take advantage by introducing a lot of different aspects to your outfit choices.


Final Thoughts

Please don’t ever be afraid to ask me for help for your family session. This is part of your session! You can definitely come to me. Also, I do come handy with a few outfits also that you are free to use! If this is an option you’d like to take advantage of, please do not be afraid to ask.

In terms of things to avoid, these are just the few things I like to avoid:

Neon Colors – They never photograph well. They actually tend to do this thing we call “casting,” which basically means the colors bleed onto those near it. For example, a bright neon headband on a baby will also make her forehead neon, and if parents are holding her, they also will have that neon color reflect on them and their skin, making it harder for me during post processing.

Gym shoes – Some gym shoes may be fine, like Nike has come out with these Roshe Run styles that are pretty classic looking. But I’m talking about your typical running shoes. Opt for shoes like that are canvas, or boat shoes. Tom’s, Vans Classic, or converse are my favorites. Boots would also be a great option for the colder weather!

Character shirts – even though they are adorable, they tend to be distracting. Eyes will tend to be drawn to your child’s character shirt rather than your beautiful family.

Things to keep in mind:

And last of, BE COMFORTABLE! No matter how stylish an outfit is, if you feel uncomfortable, if your kids feel agitated by your outfit choice, it may be best to just opt for something else. Comfort makes for happy faces, and happy faces make for better photos. As great all the accessories may be, they can easily go overboard. We don’t want to spend half the time trying to just calm the kids rather than photographing. Remember, photographers can only do so much, but it’s hard to fake it if a child is unhappy due to outfits.

Wear outfits that fit now, not later. It may be tempting to buy clothes that your kids can wear later, but if they look like they have some allowance to them, they most likely will look baggy in photos too.

Highlight parts you love about you! For me, it tends to be my legs! So I love wearing tunics + leggings for my photos. The baggy top hides the things I want to hide, but the boots + leggings show what I want to flaunt.


Stores to shop

Here are a few stores I always recommend clients to go to. Not only are the pieces amazing, but the customer service is usually top notch to helping out when it comes to photo sessions!

– The Gap
– Anthropologie- H&M
– JCrew
– Zara
– Forever 21
– Madewell
– Urban Outfitters
– Nordstrom + Nordstrom Rack
– Zulily
– Mini Boden
– Tea Collection

I hope this little post helps you out for your next family session! And as always, please let me know if you need any help.

xo, Winnie

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