What to Wear in Family Photos - Outfit Ideas & Color Schemes for the whole Family

It's the first question everyone asks once they’ve booked their family portrait session: What should they wear for their photo shoot? Honestly, as a Mom myself who has been in front of the camera, it can stress me out a little too, especially when trying to find colors and patterns that will coordinate for the whole family.


But in my 15 plus years photographing families, I've learned what outfits and styles and colors photograph well -- and how to help families look their best for their photos. Here are some tips for outfits & colors that work well together for family photo outfit planning!


I am starting with outfits that work great in the fall, in most locations and will specify below which backgrounds/locales might work best for each grouping. I also tried to pair together casual options as well as dressier options.


(Keep in mind that these are really to show what color groups photograph beautifully together -- you can of course modify the style of clothing for your size and taste.)



FALL COLOR SCHEMES



This classic 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.




This neutral black and tan color scheme would work well in nearly all locations, 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.




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.



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.



Another black and tan, but more relaxed, and to show the versatility of neutrals. This poncho is currently available here. This would work beautifully in any location.



A gorgeous and slightly dressier option that would work especially well for the desert or a mountain location. 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 ground everything. This color combo works great with any background.



Here are some color pairings for the ladies hopefully giving options for skin tones, ages and styles. All these colors also work together as a group so you could have Dad in some green, Mom in some ivory and the kids in burgundy, navy, black or dark denim.



Coral can bring a pop of color to more neutral navy, blue and taupe - or gray. The key with pops of accent color is to keep it to just a couple people in the group if possible rather than overwhelm the scene with everyone wearing the same color, or too much of one color. Those wearing the pop will pull attention first, so many families limit it to Mom (the matriarch!) or put it on the kids.




Another dressy option that feels classic, timeless and holiday-ish. If you are going for a classic red-black-white holiday photo, you can wear the brighter, orange based red, but it's best to keep it limited to 1 person or with small accents of color. Here, this darker variation of red -- burgundy or wine -- still keeps it grounded for the whole family without overpowering the scene. This version of red can work in almost any background whereas the brighter cherry red does not look great in the desert.


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.


I also wanted to add some current clothing finds from this past week, and share a list of places to shop online:

Women's & Men's Clothing

Bohme - Boho dresses & interesting tops for women and teens (see below) - www.bohme.com

Zara - Edgy, modern, unique Euro style: www.zara.com

Joie - beautiful blouses & dresses, very tailored & well structured - www.joie.com

Anthropologie - dresses, jeans, tops, etc. https://www.anthropologie.com/

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

Boden - Conservative, English brand - www.boden.com

Lulus - maxi dresses & on-trend affordable clothing for women and teen girls www.lulus.com

Nordstrom & The Rack - deep sales right now - www.nordstrom.com

Revolve Clothing - designer clothing, higher end prices. www.revolve.com

Sundance Catalog- Tailored, yet casual clothing for 35+ women and men

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


This is in addition to all the name-brand, mall stores such as J.Crew, Banana Republic, Ann Taylor & Loft, Tory Burch, etc.


Teen & Older Kid Clothing

A&F - https://www.abercrombie.com/shop/us/kids

American Eagle - https://www.ae.com/us/en

Tilly's - www.tillys.com

Aeropostale - https://www.aeropostale.com/women-teen-girls/dresses-rompers/

Urban Outfitters - https://www.urbanoutfitters.com/


I know some teen girls like Brandy Melville but as a mom of a teenage daughter I don't love that she only makes one size fits all, and its basically a size 0-2. You can find the same exact styles at all of the stores listed above in a variety of sizes.


Children & Baby Clothing

H&M: https://www2.hm.com/en_us/kids.html

Zara - www.zara.com

Crew Cuts by J. Crew - https://www.jcrew.com/kids

The Gap & Baby Gap - www.thegap.com

Old Navy - www.oldnavy.com

Nordstrom - https://www.nordstrom.com/browse/kids

Mini Boden - https://www.bodenusa.com/en-us/children-clothing

Janie & Jack - https://www.janieandjack.com/

Masionette - luxury items https://www.maisonette.com



(Image above) The top four dresses are all pulled from Bohme (fall 2020). Bottom row: Revolve / Zara / Bohme / Anthropologie

Image above - these are all taken from Sundance. Pretty fall colors with layering pieces and accessories.




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