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  • Jennifer Bowen

What to Wear for Family Photos:: Spring & Summer Outfit Ideas for Arizona Portraits

Spring and summer in Arizona are quite warm and call for lighter fabrics, colors and typically softer palettes, especially in the beauty of the desert. As you plan your spring family photo session, choose outfits that embrace and enhance the soft hues and muted tones of the desert landscape, especially when the wildflowers start blooming in late March or early April.


When deciding what to wear for family photos in Arizona and the beautiful desert, please know that sandy beiges, warm taupes, soft greens, and subtle blush pinks all seamlessly blend with the natural surroundings, resulting in a harmonious look. Or, you can also choose brighter or more colorful tones of pinks, corals, yellows, blues, greens, white or other pastel colors.


When choosing colors and outfits for family portraits, aim to work from a palette of 3-4 colors for the whole group, mixing one or two soft patterns with solids. Avoid logos, strong bold patterns such as horizontal strips or chaotic patterns, and try and choose colors that flatter your unique skin tones. Here are several ideas::


spring colors and outfit ideas for portraits
What to wear for family photos
cute outfit ideas for family photos
What to wear for family photos

In Arizona, remember that "golden hour" is the ideal time to take desert family photos. The soft, flattering light, vibrant colors, and magical atmosphere create a breathtaking backdrop that will elevate your family portraits to a whole new level.


outfit ideas for family photos
dresses and outfits for family vacation

Blues and Greens are almost universally flattering. Similar looks: Blue wrap dress / Green high slit maxi / Poupette Short Floral / Denim dresses / Green V-neck / Blue Maxi top / Ruffle sleeve navy midi dress



outfit ideas for family photos in the desert
What to wear for family photos

Yellows, blues and browns always pair well. Similar mustard midi dress here and another patterned, wrap version here


Outfit details to consider and things to avoid:

  • You may want to avoid super low necklines if you don't wish to show too much cleavage or prefer a more modest look, especially for family photos where you kids may hug you or push into parts of you :-)

  • Avoid boxy, crop tops (unless you are a teenager). Boxy styles can actually add to the appearance of weight, not minimize.

  • If you always dislike your arms in photos, it's best to avoid sleeveless. While certain poses can help slenderize, for family photos where you will be hugging or holding your children at some point, that cannot always be the focus. 3/4 sleeve and long sleeve are always flattering options for most women.

  • If you are trying to reveal your waist, or make it appear thinner, try a belt.

  • I usually suggest avoiding linen fabric all together for photo shoots because it wrinkles incredibly easily - including in the car on the way to your photos. Clothing wrinkles can be somewhat minimized in Photoshop, but not always removed.

cute outfit ideas for beach photos
what to wear for family photos


cute dress photoshoot
summer dresses for women

Floral sundresses:: Boden / Revolve / Anthro / Evereve / Nordstrom / Poupette St. Barth / Lulus / Amazon

flattering sleeves for arms
flattering tops for women

For outfits with jeans or pants, opt for shirts and tops with pretty details like statement sleeves, flattering necklines, small ruffles, button down long sleeve blouses where you can roll the sleeves, and layering with a fitted blazer for a layered look or options.


While the 1990's trend of double breasted blazers is currently back in style, I will say, these can add the appearance of weight since they are boxy and longer fitting. I do recommend avoiding passing trends (unless you love it) and sticking with classics that will never go out of style for photos you may keep framed for years to come.



what colors work well in the arizona desert
Colors to wear for family portraits
what colors work well in the arizona desert
outfit ideas for family photos

Colors to avoid: Avoid neon colors if possible as they can photograph very weird, and can reflect color into light blonde hair (ie, neon green can cast a green hue up into the hair) and on to skin.


Patterns to avoid: Avoid wide, horizontal stripes (on adults) who wish to appear thinner in photos (the stripes accentuate width) and overly bold, busy patterns. Too much color and super bold patters can distract from the face and eyes and pull attention. Avoid heavy tweed or super thick sweaters as those can add weight as well. You may want to avoid big logos on clothing as well as your eye will go to that first.


Fabrics to avoid:

  1. Linen - It wrinkles upon touch, and will be very wrinkly by the time you get out of the car

  2. Very thin or see through silk or satin fabrics. Wear shapewear if you opt for these light fabrics

  3. Heavy tweeds or boxy big sweaters - can add the appearance of weight if you are trying to avoid this

  4. Itchy things you or the kids will hate and constantly pull at

  5. Old, repeatedly washed items that have lost their shape or coloring. Gift yourself a new outfit for this, or at least pick something well structured, clean and newish looking.


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