what to wear | family photos


What to wear, what to wear- that can be the hardest part of having your family’s pictures taken! It’s been a while, but since fall is a popular time for family photo sessions, I thought it was time for another ‘what to wear’ post. First, some general guidelines:

  • When you’re choosing clothing, think first about where you plan to be photographed, and choose clothing that would be right at home in that area.
  • If children are part of the session, the most important thing is comfort- if they’re in itchy/hot/tight/stiff clothes, they’ll be unhappy…and unhappy kids just don’t make for great pictures. Luckily, there are plenty of options out there that are stylish and comfy.
  • Think coordinating outfits, not matching- as Stacy and Clinton would say, ‘it doesn’t have to match, it has to go‘. One good tip I’ve heard is to lay out everyone’s outfits together, and think of them as one large outfit- does anything stick out? Do the colors complement each other? Is there enough visual interest without being overwhelming?
  • Two things that photograph beautifully are layers and texture. Layers can include jackets, sweaters, vests, etc.  The bonus to wearing layers is that you can get several different looks without changing clothes- just take off a layer and you’re wearing something different. (Way easier than putting something completely new on!). Textures include things like cable sweaters, wool tweeds, fur trim, etc,- fabrics with variety that add interest.

Where to start? Here are several tried and true methods:

  • choose a pattern for one outfit, and then pull colors from that pattern for the other outfits. You don’t have to stick to solids for other clothing- a check or small stripe or plaid may work, too.
  • choose a color palette with 3 colors, and outfit everyone in a variation on that color scheme.
  • choose one main color, and dress everyone in various shades of that color.

Ready for some visuals? Here are several possibilities- don’t feel you need to copy exactly, but let them provide inspiration-

a colorful dress provides options for colors for the rest of the family


 a neutral color palette with some pops of color


mustard, rust and khaki with denim


yellow, red and gray- effectively mixing patterns

If you need more ideas, visit my Camera Ready Clothing board on Pinterest

a huge thank you to Corina Nielsen for the great clothing example boards!



Serving Kalamazoo & Portage Mi
will travel throughout southwest Michigan
1920 Brentwood Ave, Kalamazoo MI 49008
Phone: (269) 267 - 7083Email: ellendykstraphotography@gmail.com

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