Are you wondering what to wear for family photos? Getting the whole family ready for a photo session can be a challenge. Choosing outfits for everyone can add more stress to the mix. You may wonder if you should buy new clothing for everyone. Should you dress up or just wear your everyday clothes? What about everyone wearing matching shirts and bottoms? For answers to these burning questions, read on for advice from Washington DC photographer Julie Kubal. She has 15 years of experience working hundreds of families that include babies and kids of all ages and their parents.

Plan What to Wear for Family Photos Ahead of Time

DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT wait until the day before or morning of the photo shoot to decide what to wear and try to pull outfits together last minute. Take the time to lay out all the items of clothing for every family member to make sure all of the outfits look good together. Not only will you be able to see how the colors work together, but you can address the minor emergency when you can’t find that shirt you wanted to wear. You’ll have time to remember that it’s in the hamper and still needs to be washed. Those pants you had in mind for your son or daughter? They’re too small, but now you have enough time to buy a pair that are the right size. 

Take Advantage of the Planning Consultation

I want all my clients to feel relaxed and prepared when it comes time for their family photo session. That’s why all of my sessions include a planning consultation, which I recommend is scheduled at least 1-2 weeks before their session date. During this meeting, I always go over my clothing recommendations and have clients show me what outfits they have in mind. I make sure they know that they are welcome to text me cellphone pics of their outfit ideas and/or any clothing questions.

What You Choose to Wear For Family Photos May Depend on Photography Style

My style of photography is somewhat laid back and less formal, but still thoughtful and intentional. I want parents and kids to interact and play like they normally would so I can capture them authentically. Kids should be able to sit down on the ground without parents worrying about them getting a little dusty. Likewise, parents shouldn’t hesitate to sit down with their kids. That’s why I advise my clients to choose comfortable clothing that parents (and kids) feel good wearing. Forget any overly-fussy outfits that need to be straightened out or tucked back in only interfere with the flow.

How to Incorporate Bold Colors and Patterns in Your Clothing Choices For Your Next Family Photo Shoot

Other photographers sometimes recommend avoiding busy or colorful patterns, but I personally love bold, bright splashes of color and there are easy ways of incorporating them that will look great. Coordinating (not necessarily matching) the colors in everyone’s outfits, even with colorful patterns thrown in the mix, will give a cohesive look that will give the images that extra polish.

Not sure how to pull together coordinating colors? You don’t need to limit yourself to just 2 colors. Ideally, you do want to stay within the same color family with three or four colors though. But how do you decide on a palette? Let’s say you have a cute, colorful dress that you absolutely love on your little girl, like the dress in the first example below. Take other colors from that dress, in this case, blue and brown, to inform the rest of the palette.

Check out this blog article for my tips for choosing outfits for your family photo session:


You can also check out some ideas on my Pinterest page here: https://www.pinterest.com/jkubalphoto/

Still wondering if you clothing choices will look good when you have your next family photos taken? Feel free to send me your clothing pictures and I’ll provide feedback—even if you’re not a client.

Julie Kubal family portraits Washington D.C.About the Photographer and Author:

Julie Kubal is a child and family portrait artist and photographer serving Washington DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia. She is passionate about creating warm and meaningful artwork through modern portraits and lifestyle photography at a location of your choice!