Photo Shoot Outfit Ideas

What you wear can make or break a photo session, and finding just the right photo shoot outfits can be super stressful for Mom. To give you a few ideas, here are a few DO’s and DON’T’s for what to wear for family photos.

DO:

  • Plan ahead– There’s nothing more stressful than digging through your children’s closets the night before looking for something, ANYTHING that will look decent in photos. You’ve made the investment into a custom portrait session, so take the time to plan ahead on clothing, and give yourself 2-3 weeks to decide on a color palette, browse fashion boards on Pinterest, look through magazines, raid your family’s closets, and purchase the remaining items for  your photo wardrobe.
  • (SIDE NOTE: If you are planning to return the clothing you purchased after the shoot (yes, I see this ALL the time), cut the tags off. There’s nothing more distracting than a white tag sticking out of a child’s sleeve, and this takes a good amount of my extra time and your extra money to edit the tag out.)
  • Coordinate– But DO NOT wear matchy-matchy clothing. Matched outfits look stiff and staged, and we are going for casual, candid, and fresh images of your family. Pick 2-4 colors and coordinate them throughout the group so there is continuity and flow. If you and your husband are wearing darker colors, don’t put your little girl in bright yellow.
  • Have fun with prints– Some photographers say NO PRINTS, but I like them, if they are coordinated tastefully. If you plan to introduce prints, do so subtilely and share the love. If at all possible, don’t put a plaid shirt on only one person because they will stick out like a sore thumb. Bring in two coordinating plaids, and if weather permits, layer on some solids on top. (Sharing the print love can be challenging with smaller families.)
  • Accessorize– Chunky jewelry, hats, scarves, belts, and hair accessories really add visual interest in photos, so play it up!
  • Layer– Layers are wonderful. They add interest to your outfit, and are an easy way to change it up during your photo session. When you are looking for layers, think vests, jackets, cardigans, short sleeve shirts over long sleeve shirts and sweaters over button-up shirts. Layers can help you bring in a color or print to add interest to the photo.
  • Ladies, wear a little extra makeup– Photos tend to wash you out, and a little extra makeup than you might normally wear is helpful.
  • Be authentic– Your family photos should showcase the real YOU. If your family is a jeans and sandals kind of family, please don’t show up in velvet and lace.
  • Involve me– I love when clients send me snapshots of outfits and choices to ask for my advice. You hired me for many reasons, one of which is my eye to create a certain look. I’m always glad to offer my candid opinion on your choices, but I won’t be pushy. After all, this is YOUR shoot.

DON’T:

  • Wear all white– Solid white is tricky to pull off and tends to wash out skin tones. In contrast, I’m not a big fan of all black either.
  • Be afraid of color– Color is wonderful. Color is our friend. Play up the color! I’m a big fan of jewel tones and also pastels.
  • Wear clothing with large logos, numbers, or slogans– Nothing wrecks a family shot like one person wearing a shirt with a sports team logo emblazoned across the front. EXCEPTION: If we are doing a styled shoot around your favorite sports team, then bring on the logos! If it’s your baby’s first birthday, and you have a shirt with writing that is meaningful to you, put it on the baby (but bring a second outfit as well).
  • Forget the shoes– I’m really bad about this. I’ve planned my own family’s outfits down to the last detail… except the shoes, which can really make or break a shoot. No casual flip flops or athletic shoes, please, unless it completes the look of your session.
  • Wear uncomfortable clothing– Wear something that feels good on you and makes you feel good about yourself. The confidence this creates will shine through in your photographs.

 Extra Tips for a Great Session:

  • If you have littles, I recommend bringing “bribes” or “rewards”. Something (usually snacks) that your kids like and that help motivate them to behave. We will use these “big guns” when they start to lose interest.
  • Another good idea when you have little children, is to bring their favorite toy. Even if it isn’t something you think will photograph well, it can often make the session so much more enjoyable for the child, and help them behave naturally.  It also adds that “real” element that I so love.
  • It’s never a bad idea to bring a blanket in a color that coordinates with your clothes. I love ground shots, but my blanket repertoire is limited to mostly ivory.
  • If so are so inclined, a glass of wine or a beer before your session might be just the thing to loosen you up a bit. Cut it off at one though, please. ;)
  • Please don’t stress. Keep in mind that all children have about 20 good minutes, and then they are done. I will work with them right up front to get the best I can out of them. Most husbands have an expiration time of about 45 minutes. (Sorry fellas, but it’s true!) You will be pleasantly surprised how many great shots we can get out of even the most grumpy children and husbands.

Family Photo Shoot Outfits For Your Perusal:

Navy and gray family photo session outfits

Taupe, coral, bright green and dark green family photo shoot outfits

Navy, green, and white family photo shoot outfits

Navy with pops of color family photo session outfits 

Burgundy and navy photo shoot outfits

Muted green with blues photo shoot outfits

Coral, pink and grey family photo shoot outfits

Yellow, gray, and brown family photo session outfits

Red, black and white family photo session outfits

Lindsay Polyak Photography Lindsay Polyak (87 Posts)