How to Dress for Family Pictures
Classy & Silly Work Well Together

Whenever a family books a portrait session with me, they ask about dressing for it.

There are many common misconceptions about how families should dress for portraits.

Many families have these ideas that themes matching are essential, or the family portraits would be ruined.

That’s not the case. However, there are some things that can definitely enhance the session, and the end result.


Coordinating colors can be beneficial. Not matching identically, though. Maybe parents wearing bright colors while the kids wear white shirts. Or the other way around. Maybe stripes on the parents and solids on the kids.

Your Style

Bring your style into the portraits. Look around your home, and at places you enjoy. Are the colors bright and vibrant? Are they neutral tones? Think about making a Pinterest board of things you love. Then examine those colors to determine what might suit your family the best.


Nothing brings more fun to a family portrait session than a prop. If there are items that your family cherishes or something that you love to do together. Then bring it with you. Let’s incorporate it into the photos.


Themes are ok, but not essential to your session. If you like themes, then find a collection of clothing that works with the theme. Maybe you all wear a cowboy hat. Maybe it’s a type of shirt. Maybe you all wear fun bow ties, scarves and belts. Whatever you want can work. Just make it fun.

Plan Ahead

Family Portrait Posing
My niece and nephew are getting older and so fast.

This is probably the most important thing I can tell you to do. Think about your portraits ahead of time. Think about what you want the final images to look like. Do you want smiles goofy faces? But what about the clothes? If your session will be outdoors in a field, then green might not be the best color choice. Or if you’ll be near water, maybe you want to avoid blue. Think about the environment where your session will be, as you’re choosing outfits to wear.


I’d avoid full costumes unless you’re really into that sort of thing. But my personal recommendation is to leave the costumes for Halloween and let your family portraits show your faces.

White or Black

Please avoid everyone wearing all black or all white clothing. It can be too much, and too little color. It’s important that you are the subject of the photos. So if you’re all wearing a similar color, then whatever is in the background might be more colorful than you.

I hope that this advice helps as you’re planning your family portrait session. If you have any questions or would like to talk more – please get in touch.

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