Planning outfits for family session can be one of the hardest parts of planning a family photo session, especially if you don’t know how to properly coordinate so everyone looks great together, while still having their own look and style. Outfits can make or break a photo session which is why I put so much emphasis on helping you choose your outfits and making sure to match the look of your session to your outfits. You will often see me post advice on choosing clothing for your session on Facebook or blog posts like this one, however that doesn’t mean you’re alone from here, part of my session workflow is talking to you about outfits and helping you choose base on your family, style and home decor (they need to look great hanging in your home!).
Below I am giving not only my best advice for choosing the perfect outfits but also two samples of styles I love for spring!
Coordinate don’t match
Ok I know that I sound like a broken record here. If you have been following me any amount of time you have probably heard me say this, but it is so important! Go search family portraits on Pinterest or Google and note a few portraits you really love. Are they all dressed in matching blue shirts and jeans or khakis? I’m guessing your answer there was no. Most likely they are wearing 2-4 colors mixed between the group, which is what I always recommend to my clients. In the examples below I kept it easy by choosing 2 main colors that you could also pair with a neutral (I suggest white, cream or khaki/tan for spring sessions). You will typically want to mix the colors evenly throughout the family. I have more tips below on how to make that happen!
Dress mom first
When choosing clothing for family portraits its typically best to start with your clothing mom. I do this for one main reason, if you don’t love the way you look, you won’t love the portraits. Choose something that fits well, baggy clothing will make you look bigger than you are. Make sure to select a style that flatters your body type, and most importantly choose something that you LOVE the way you look in. I love of floral pattern on mom so that you can easily choose two colors from your outfit for the rest of the family, however this can also be done from your daughter’s dress or a patterned shirt or tie on your husband or son. Or if you choose a solid color and want to keep it simple you can use neutrals to mix it up.
Don’t be afraid of patterns
For the longest time I recommended solid colors for portraits, its what I was trained to say back in my studio days, but it made some some pretty boring portraits. Over time I realized that many of the family photos I was drawn to where those where the family was not afraid of a little pattern. I already talked about dressing mom in a floral or pattern above, but her pattern does not mean the rest of the family need so go for a solid color, a few ways to use patterns without making it overwhelming are to dress one of the boys in a plaid or striped shirt or a subtle pattern like small spots or shapes throughout the shirt.
Use your accessories for balance
This is one of the most overlooked tips when coordinating families. Lay out all of the outfits and see what colors you need more of. For example, if you chose yellow and blue and mom is in a blue dress but your little girl is in a yellow and blue dress and your huband’s tie has a bit of yellow you may want to add more yellow to the mix. Try adding a yellow necklace or sweater to your outfit. The best items for balancing the colors are jewelry, scarves, sweaters, floral crowns, other hair accessories, ties or bow ties, vests and suspenders. Use them wisely to add pops of color or balance out the colors as needed.
The mint and coral look
I found this mint and coral dress that I absolutely love for family portraits and used it for the base of this family look. For your convenience all of the clothing shown below is linked from Amazon so if you see something you love you can click straight over there to purchase (full disclosure, these are affiliate links) however you could easily take these ideas and find clothing from your own closet or local stores as well. The main idea is to show a variety of ideas that can be used for different families no matter the number or ages of the children.
The Dusty Rose and Blue set
I have to admit these colors were actually harder to coordinate and find however I wanted to show a look with matching mommy and me dresses since I love this idea for portraits and while they are great for mommy and me sessions they can be used for family sessions as well.
I hope these tips and ideas help when planning for your family.
Limited edition Spring Bloom session dates and time for families will be announced soon. Make sure to contact me if you would like to be notified when sessions open so I can add you to the wait list!
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My name is Jennifer Tavera, the photographer behind Truth Photography. I am a Northglenn Colorado family photographer and gallery designer seeking adventurous, free spirited families. I believe that your life is epic and deserves to be captured with photography!
I specializes in creating unique photo sessions that will be an adventure for your child or family and turning the finished portraits into beautiful wall art for your home. I can’t wait to photograph your next adventure!!
~Jennifer Tavera Photographer and Gallery designer