What to Wear for your Photo Session | Tips

May 4, 2017

What to wear for your photo session is a big decision!  Not only do I get asked often by my clients, I also fret myself how to dress my own family for our pictures every year.  So I've compiled a list of styling tips that I hope you find helpful.

1.  Coordinate, but don't match

This is a big one and might sound a little confusing.  It's about picking a color palette and not having everyone wear the same color.  Pick 2 - 3 colors that everyone can coordinate with.  You can have one member of your family wear a pattern and everyone else pull colors from it in their clothing and accessories.  Here is a link to my Pinterest board with lots of color palettes and ideas:

what to wear for your photo shoot

coordinate clothing

color palette

2.  Layers & Textures

Layers & Textures create interest in photos.  Texture can be achieved using different clothing materials such as lace, tweed, ruffles, crochet, buckles etc.  Also adding different layers can create texture.  This can be done in a fun way with bright colors or can also look beautiful with neutral soft color palettes.  Go with what suites your own style.

Layers, colors & accessories were used so well on these cute kiddos right down to the stylish shoes.

canmore engine bridge


3.  Accessorize!

Accessories can complete a look and make your pictures pop.  Scarves, hats, jewelry, vests, ties, sweaters, jackets, boots and flowers in the hair can all add a little pizzazz.  The subject should be the most important thing in the picture, so don't let your accessories overwhelm you.  Accessories should compliment you, but not take the focus.

what to wear


4.  Think about your home decor

I'm hoping your pictures get hung up on the wall, so think about where you will hang your pictures.  Coordinate your clothing with the colors and feel of your room.

I picture this hung up in his man cave, but it could go anywhere to add some color and fun to a room. I also love the textured sleeve of her dress.


5.  Be Comfortable

Each family member should be comfortable in what they are wearing.  Wear clothing that suits each member's personality and body type.  Make sure kids are comfortable and happy in their clothing.  If they can't move, if they are scratching or pulling at their clothes they will just be grouchy and feeling miserable.

what to wear to be comfortable


6.  Patterns are great in moderation

I think patterns are great, but not everyone in the photo should wear a pattern or it becomes distracting in the final images.  Balance patterns with solid colors that work well together.

what to wear patterns

The purple and blue colors pulled out of Dad's patterned shirt look smashing on this family.

awesome mustache

Besides his awesome mustache, I love how the wife took the little bit of purple out his patterned shirt and coordinated to look fabulous.


7.  Think about the location

Where you are doing your family pictures should be taken into consideration.  If you are outside at the park you might dress differently than if you are downtown with a graffiti, urban backdrop.  Think about how the colors and patterns you've chosen in your outfits will stand out against your location.

winter family pictures

This family got it right for winter. Their clothes go perfectly with their surroundings.

what to wear for location

I love the vintage look on this couple that works fantastic with their cool vintage truck.

8.  Keep it Classic

Again I'm hoping these are going on your wall and I don't want them to look dated in a few years.  Think of simple, timeless pieces of clothing that will look great for years to come.

classic family picture


Here are a few don'ts:

  • Stay away from large logos, characters or graphics.
  • Shoes matter.  Avoid sneakers (unless they are cool Converse/Vans or something that goes with the session).  A fun, bold shoe on kids looks fantastic and can pull together the colors.
  • Get haircuts/trims a week or two before your photo session.
  • White socks on guys.  Please don't wear white socks.
  • Everyone wearing the same color shirt.  Matching is dated and boring.  Gone are the days of white t-shirts and jeans.





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