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  • Jennifer Bowen

What to Wear in Family Photos:: Fall & Winter Color Schemes & Outfit Ideas for the Whole Family

It's the first question everyone asks once they’ve booked their family portrait session: What should we wear?

When planning your family portraits in Phoenix and Scottsdale, remember that the colors you choose can greatly enhance the overall aesthetic of your images. In the fall and winter, embrace earthy tones, layer with textures, and coordinate your outfits for a visually pleasing and cohesive look.

For Spring & Summer clothing tips and color suggestions on what to wear for your family photos, please click here.

In the Arizona fall and winter consider outfits in warm hues such as rich browns, deep oranges or darker reds (cabernet, merlot, cranberry, etc), shades of blue, and mustard type yellows. Following are several ideas on how to create a a visually appealing and cohesive look for the whole family with colors that harmonize with the desert landscape, or even the pine trees and colorful aspen trees of the mountains. Please note that gray (all shades of gray) work with almost every color grouping, so it can be incorporated into almost every color scheme:


what to wear for family portraits
What to wear for family portraits in Arizona

Gone are the days of everyone wearing identical outfits for family portraits. Instead, aim for coordination by choosing a color palette that complements each other. Select a primary color and then incorporate various shades and tones of that color throughout everyone's attire, or a soft pattern that complements. This will ensure a visually pleasing and harmonious look without appearing too matchy-matchy.

Above: Mustard yellow paired with browns and chambray blues works well in almost any background setting.

outfit ideas for family portraits
What to wear for family portraits

This color scheme above works well in most Arizona locations for family photos including: rustic locations, green locations, desert locations, mountain locations, and those with scenic views. Its causal, but still nice enough to look a little more pulled together than everyday wear.

black and tan outfit ideas
What to wear for family portraits

This neutral black and tan color scheme would work well in nearly all photo locations in Arizona, including: rustic locations, green locations, desert locations, mountain locations, and those with scenic views. Edgy meets classic with a little bit of trendy pattern mixed in -- and a timeless group of colors that would also work with most family's home decor.

bold jewel tones and neutral colors for family photos
What to wear for family portraits

This bolder but classic color scheme would work well in most locations -- and brings a pop of color into the mix. A beautiful combo for the mountains, or rustic locations or desert locations, this pairing is timeless. Every year you will see variations of the rust/terra cotta/burnt orange meets dark dusty rose so any of those will work well for Phoenix family portraits, as well as most brown & tan shades.

ideas for christmas photos
Dressy outfit ideas for family portraits

Bold, dressier and with a dash of a winter vibe. Jewel tones such as this emerald green are great for rustic locations and the desert, or backgrounds with lots of white because they will pop. The only time I might avoid emerald green is when you are surrounded by a lot of green like in a green field location, or perhaps a mountain forest with all dark green trees. This could work well in a park that has other things going on besides just green grass -- and certainly would work well in the desert or in a location with rustic backdrops or more urban or city backdrops. The green is a nice alternative to the classic red & tartan plaid we also see during the holidays.

fancy outfit ideas
dressy outfits for family portraits

For a more classic holiday take, any red would work well here, including Christmas (cherry) red, or plaid. For desert based photos with Saguaros and softer hues, I recommend darker variation of red such as these cranberry/merlot shades, as they will complement the background more. Cherry Christmas red would work beautiful in a sea of dark pines, a very green park or rustic locations with lots of green trees.

outfit ideas for the whole family
What to wear for family portraits

Neutral black and tan outfit idea that blends well with jeans, black, patterns and shades of blue.

The desert loves softer colors like this! They cohesively complement with the soft serenity of the desert, especially at sunset when everything softens to these exact colors. Dusty rose and soft blush pink are very popular in the desert, or on a light beach, because these soft hues don't overpower the scene. Shades of deeper brown (or charcoal gray) ground everything. This color combo works great with any background.

Pops of mustard, paired with neutrals, is another popular combo that works for almost all seasons. You can pull this off in the fall, spring, summer and even winter. Yellow comes in all sorts of shades and typically photographs in most scenes and backgrounds very well.

If you would like more tips on planning for your photoshoot, you might like this post as well.


For ideas on places to shop for

Women's & Men's Clothing

Evereve - upscale boutique with trendy clothes for women of all ages, but especially 30+ years and Moms (stores at Kierland, Biltmore and Chandler)

Bohme - Boho dresses & interesting tops for women and teens (see below) -

Anthropologie - dresses, jeans, tops, etc.

Vici Collection - Boutique for women and teens with very on-trend pieces & reasonable prices

Boden - Conservative, English brand -

A&F - Younger vibe, trendy, but generally well made clothing (ponchos above found here)

Zara - Edgy, modern, unique Euro style:

Joie - beautiful blouses & dresses, very tailored & well structured - (expensive, but I often see pieces at Marshalls & TJMaxx)

Lulus - maxi dresses & on-trend affordable clothing for women and teen girls

Nordstrom & The Rack -

Revolve Clothing - designer clothing, higher end prices.

Sundance- Casual, outdoorsy but tailored clothing for older women and men but on the more expensive side

TJMaxx, Marshall's and Ross are all hit or miss, but I often find great tops or dresses at these stores

Teen & Older Kid Clothing

American Eagle -

Tilly's -


Children & Baby Clothing

Zara -

Crew Cuts by J. Crew -

The Gap & Baby Gap -

Old Navy -

Masionette - luxury items

Target, dept stores, etc.


Images from client photoshoots where the clothing combos photographed beautifully!





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