One of the questions that I get asked most frequently after a client books a session is how to start piecing together outfits for their family. The truth is that selecting session outfits should be given careful consideration. After all, these photos are going to be a part of your family legacy for FOREVER so it isn’t something you should overlook and scramble to put together on the morning of your session! Now, look, I’m not giving you a permission slip to max out the credit card and order new digs for every member of your family. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that you can piece together outfits that will fit the vibe you’re going for with clothes that are in your closet right now. So let’s dig in!

THE GOLDEN RULE is that mom gets to choose what she wants to wear and the other family members will coordinate around her. Yes, coordinate. Notice how I didn’t say match her…that’s the first step. Long gone are the days where we all wear blue jeans and white button up shirts. So now that we’ve got THAT out of the way…the secret to perfectly coordinated outfits is texture. Think linen, tulle, silk, flowy dresses, chunky knit items, leather, eyelet details. Clothes that move are a camera’s best friend. Don’t shy away from colors and prints! In fact, I encourage them! But keep in mind that if you’re opting for print, stick with one that’s a smaller print vs a larger print. When in doubt, mom, choose the maxi dress. You simply CANNOT go wrong with it! Oh, and mom, while I’ve got you here-I want to let you know that makeup photographs a few shades duller, so feel free to go a little bolder than you usually would and a big HECK YES to lipstick always.

Don’t make the mistake of picking something super formal to wear! Less formal looks lend themselves to far more comfort and authenticity. Plus, it will be much easier for everyone to move, run, jump, and snuggle when their clothes aren’t restricting them. I promise that if you feel comfortable, you are going to look comfortable so keep that in mind.

Babies (especially babies 1 year and under) look best in very simple clothing (or even a diaper if you’re shooting in home)! Clothes end up getting bunched up when you snuggle them and at that point, they’re more trouble than they’re worth.

When it comes to the men and boys, I always suggest pants rather than shorts and a pair of closed toed shoes that are NOT sneakers (bonus points if the entire family goes barefoot…’s one less thing to worry about wardrobe wise and the casual vibes that bare feet provide are priceless).

We’re off to a really great start and I can see the creative juices flowing as you mentally think of the items of clothing in each family members’ closet, but before I let you go, let me give you a quick list of things NOT to wear:

  • Anything with words or logos
  • Anything neon colored
  • Cotton polo shirts or golf polo shirts
  • Too many accessories-less is more here
  • Exact matching outfits or colors
  • The ‘safe’ option. Don’t go boring for family photos just because you’re shy or afraid to make a mistake. Show who YOU are!
  • Something that’s not YOU no matter what the Internet tells you.

My parting piece of advice will be to plan ahead and make sure everyone involved is happy about what he or she is wearing. It’s the only way you can guarantee that you’ll love your photos for years to come. I hope this has been helpful and that you’re well on your way to outfitting your family for what’s sure to be your best session yet! If you’ve found this post helpful, you might want to check out my timeline for a stress free photo session post here. Enjoy outfitting your family + feel free to comment below with any questions!

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