What to Wear| Family Session

Ever wonder what to wear for family photos? As a photographer it is one of the primary questions I get asked, especially as client’s approach the holiday season!

I’ve added a comprehensive shopping list on Pinterest here for my 2018 families or other inquiring minds 😉 

After years of inquiries I finally decided to write a DO’S list for family clothing, specifically targeted towards clients who live in Phoenix-Scottsdale-Tempe Arizona because of our beautiful and available desert back drop! The desert provides such a wonderful, neutral canvas. While I tend to be a fan of soft colors as the focus of an image is more on my client’s beautiful faces, color pops so well!!

Location plays a HUGE part in what a family should wear to their session. When you’re shooting at a location with a lot of green, it’s really important to avoid wearing GREEN because you’ll get lost in your surroundings. Images tend to look muddy. I recommend finding colors that fit the season you’re shooting in, even if the weather hasn’t quite caught up yet 😉

I tend to encourage client’s to avoid anything too “match-matchy” however I think sticking with the same color palette can look AMAZING as evidenced with the blues above and neutrals below with these two families!

The tones and different patterns provide congruency and contrast at the same time! They did it perfectly in my opinion.

You can see how the rich browns and oranges the below family wore, contrasted in different textures and patterns popped out from the green field yet complemented the tones of the trees!

Sometimes styling kids can feel tricky…one thing I like to do for inspiration is to check out my favorite kids clothing boards on Pinterest to see how companies are styling their clothing! Websites I look to for kid’s clothing inspiration include Gap kids, Zara, Joyfolie and H&M.

I’ve shot Kayce’s family for a number of years and she always NAILS styling her kids, just look at how cute her boys are below!

Lyndee did a great job at playing with textures with their girls that coordinated with their own dresses. I always recommend starting with mama’s outfit and building the family’s clothing around what mama feels best in! And again you can see how these soft colors look stunning with the desert landscape!

This sweet little family nailed integrating color without it being over-powering. I recommend sticking with a similar color tone–in this case, neutrals and gem tones. While none of the family members are wearing the same color, they are all wearing clothing in gem tones which completely compliments one another.

Sometimes we think that we have to dress in formal wear for a family session, however sometimes the best photos are pictures of what your kiddos look like just being kids!! Kayce did a great job below with the boy’s tattered jeans. The kids look like they’re living life which I just love! She also did a great job at integrating some different patterns (striped head band and leopard leggings) however it worked best because the rest of the palette was neutral.

This. Is. Perfect.

Lastly, here’s a short list of things not covered above 😉

  • DO wear more make-up than you’re daily wear, especially if your photos are outdoors. The sun will wash it out and some contouring helps all us ladies out! Better yet, consider having your make-up professionally done, you’ll feel and look amazing.
  • DON’T wear graphic tees. The wording won’t show up or read well in photos.
  • DO wear fitted clothing! Baggy clothing will look significant;y more baggy and you’ll likely look bigger. A great fit, even a slightly small fit will look better than something too big!

In addition to wardrobe, two tips I LOVE to share with families in preparation for their sessions include: 

  • DON’T worry about whether your kids are smiling or performing! That’s your artist job. The BEST thing you can do is to hire a photographer who understands how to interact well with children and is willing to draw out their personalities and capture your family as is without forcing a pose or shot.
  • I am not above bribing however I believe that a photo session should be FUN for little people, and that bribing isn’t necessary if the kids feel comfortable and you are having fun as a family! We want to capture what’s organically so precious about your family and so taking time, having genuine fun and connecting remain central to the session.







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