As a professional photographer I get to work with a lot of amazing families and I know that one of the most challenging things for them is choosing what to wear. I’ve put this what to wear article together to help you with this and to offer you some suggestions with what will look great in your upcoming family photo session.


  1. Choose versions of primary colours. Softer colours are more pleasant whereas fluorescent colours tend to colour cast on faces, necks and hair.  I also suggest that you stay clear of wearing all black.  It can wash skin tones out and a pop of colour adds a tremendous amount to a photograph.  I always recommend versions of primary colours. Yellow (mustard), red (maroon, brick), and blue (navy, royal).  Dark purple (plum) also photographs wonderfully!
  2. Stay away from wearing a lot of green when having photos taken in grassy/wooded areas. It’s just too much green. Green as an accent colour is great, though! In your family photos you want to stand out amongst all the greenery you’re surrounded by.
  3. To get the flow going with wardrobe for your family photo session, start with one outfit that you really like. From there, build from it for everyone else. In the images shown, it was the mustard accents that started the whole theme of their wardrobe.
  4. Wear what you feel good in! Moms and dads, this tip is for you specifically. If you aren’t comfortable in what you’ve chosen for pictures, it will show. If you can’t find a dress you feel good in, but you rock a good pair of skinny jeans, do that. If you can barely walk in heels, there’s no harm in doing cute and comfy flat boots or pretty sandals. If you can’t do a heel, a wedge is a great alternative, too.
  5. Layer, layer layer! Layers add dimension and depth. In the summer? Layer your dress with a cute belt and pendant necklace. In the fall and winter? cardigans, belts, statement necklaces, scarves, hats, blazers, etc.
  6. Purchase clothes to fit. And fit well. I know we all have a hard time buying clothes for our kiddos that don’t leave a lot of room for growth, seeing as they do grow so fast. However, keep in mind that for your family photos, too large of a polo shirt, saggy ill-fitting jeans or a jacket that’s falling off the shoulders looks sloppy. You’ll be purchasing outfits specifically for pictures, most likely, so choose something that fits perfectly, or even just a little bit snug. Make it look almost tailored. Go a size smaller in jackets, cardigans or blazers. A too-big jean jacket will not compliment shape. It hides hips and waist for moms. If you typically wear a size medium jacket, try on the small. Even if it’s just a little snug in the shoulders, it should lay nicely around your hips and waist, creating a tailored look.
  1. Matching is out. Coordinating is in. And anything goes nowadays! We know your family is together. We’re photographing you together! So, wearing the same coloured shirt, pants, shoes, etc. looks a bit awkward. Coordinating colour is what really brings wardrobe together. I usually choose two to three main colours of wardrobe, and maybe one accent pop of colour. Also, mixing stripes with plaids and tweeds is okay! Expression is important. We want to see your personality through your wardrobe reflected in your photos.
  2. Dress for the situation. Just as dressing for weather is important, dressing for the situation is just as important. A fancy black dress and a dress shirt and tie wouldn’t be the most appropriate wardrobe for a forest or grassy setting. More formal wear would be appropriate for an urban setting.

The photos shown below were taken during a family photo session and are a great example of the use of accent colours and coordinating.  They also show how wonderful layering looks and how prints can bring a whole new dimension to your images. You can also look through my family portfolio for more inspiration.

a family photography session in the woods of Saskatchewan that show what to wear to your photography session.

Here are a few more examples of different hues and what coordinating outfits look like:

an example of clothing colours for a family photography session

Recommended stores:

One of my favourite shops for children’s clothing is Zara. They have the most amazing colours and styles for your little ones. I’m also a massive fan of Free People. They provide a lot of variety and always have that perfect flowy dress for mom. And don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about dad. Men typically don’t like to go to crazy and therefore I always send them to The Gap. They can find simple clothing that pairs well with almost any pattern or style of clothing.

I hope this article helps you decide on a wardrobe that not only makes you feel amazing but looks fantastic in photos.


Comments Off on What to Wear to your Photography Session