Family Sessions - Dress Tips
Updated: May 9
I am often asked by families about the best clothes to wear to a family photo session. Clothing and styling is a subjective and personal choice, so we would never want to be too prescriptive. However, here are some general guidelines and recommendations that we are happy to offer:
The most important consideration is that every family member should dress in a way making them feel confident and comfortable. This will help achieving the relaxed and natural photos in order to show the family members’ true personalities. Please bear in mind that because family sessions often involve sitting on the floor, your choice of clothing should not restrict movements.
These photos will be on your walls and be treasured for years to come. By choosing simple and classic clothing, you will help giving your images a timeless feeling.
Keep it clean & natural
A clean-shaven look for men is the best (but if you’ve always rocked a beard, I’m not saying that you to shave it off!). Haircuts for boys and men should take place about a week or so before the session.
For women, hair should be styled naturally. That means try not to change too much from your normal self. The same principle applies to makeup. Choose natural makeup that makes you feel beautiful, and then add a light layer of powder to reduce shine just before the session.
Coordinating colors, but not matching
Our advice is that some degree of color coordination is great, but families should not be too worried about matching their outfits. Generally, keeping the number of colors between 1 and 3, or 1 to 3 coordinating colors with 1 color theme that stands out and links everyone’s outfit works fabulously well.
Bright pastel colors work really well for children photographed together even if the colors are not especially coordinated. Pastel colors just seem to offer a sense of fun to the occasion and final images.
I enjoy having an outfit in the mix that has all the colors in it. However, not everyone in the photo should wear patterns as it may distract the final image.
Texture and Accessories
Texture and layering is a good and when used appropriately, can really add dimensions to your photos. A cute scarf or knit cardigan over a simple shirt can really add some character to your look. Watch out for items that make you look and/or feel bulky or weighed down. Jewelry is also great (we always encourage accessories that help reflect personalities), but we don’t want it dominating the image. Have them ready and we can always decide before the session.
Prepare in advance
It helps if the clothes are clean, pressed, and on hangers for a few days before the session. This way, you don’t have to worry about it on the day of the session.
And don’t forget about shoes if the session includes outdoor shooting! They are an important part of your wardrobe. There’s nothing worse than a beautiful outfit ruined by scruffy shoes or tattered flip flops.
After we have captured the family group shots, we often take a range of individual portraits (typically the children). This is where we welcome props, which can offer creativity and variety to the photos. Families are always encouraged to bring along plenty of cute hats and outfits for your child(ren).
Outfit changes during the session are welcomed, so don’t feel that you have to stick to one look.
The biggest question that we receive from clients concerns family or generation groupings. Our advice is that some degree of color coordination is great, but families should not be too worried about matching their outfits. Generally, keeping the number of colors between 1 and 3 works really well.