Photography Tips

How to dress for a portrait session – family

Summer is almost here; it’s a beautiful time to gather with your loved ones for family portraits. A quick photoshoot is all it takes to capture memories for everyone in the group! Of course, your family’s clothing choices will make all the difference in the session’s outcome. Dressing for family portraits is pretty similar to dressing for a couple’s shoot, but with one great challenge: more people. There’s a lot of coordination and communication involved in making sure that every family member arrives at the shoot with the right attire. Check out these family portrait session tips to be sure your family is dressed for photoshoot success.

Dress your kids for the setting

You probably know what happens when you mix young children with muddy areas… When you’re having family portraits taken outdoors, try to dress your kids in clothing that will be appropriate for the setting. Sometimes, grass stains and mud are unavoidable when you have an explorative child who loves to get dirty. If you know that the setting has the potential to get messy, try dressing your children in darker colors where grass and dirt stains won’t appear as much. (Yes, that does mean avoiding white.) Additionally, you’ll probably want to stick to a more semi-casual dress — we don’t want any formal wear to get ruined!

Coordinate clothing; don’t match

Your first instinct may be to keep everyone uniform in the same color, or even the same outfit. Truthfully, identical dress in photos may not always give the greatest results. Your best bet is to choose a main color and two coordinating accent colors. If your primary color is white, try giving a few family members the option to wear pale blue or pink. For a color like maroon, you could add some teal and dusty rose. If you’re unsure which colors work together, you can check out Oberlo‘s color combinations guide.

Once you’ve chosen your colors, make sure that everyone in the family knows! You may wish to assign accent colors to select members of the family. For big family portraits with extended family members, another idea is to assign a color to each smaller family in the group. That way, you can mix everyone up in the photos and anyone will be able to easily spot who belongs to which family. For example, you’d be wearing one color, while your cousins would be wearing another.

family portraits
Image taken for Ashley Canning’s family in 2020 by Shannon Christopher Photography
Be consistent with style

If you’re planning on wearing khaki shorts and a short-sleeved button-down to your beach photoshoot, make sure that your brother doesn’t show up in a business suit. Nailing down a single style is important for group photos, especially with bigger families. Again, make sure to take the setting into consideration. The beach would call for more casual dress, while holiday photos at a studio may call for some formal wear.

Discuss footwear (or lack thereof) ahead of time

Your family should coordinate from head to toe, literally! People often overlook footwear when it comes to family portraits and group sessions, but it can look unusual when everyone is rocking different shoes. Even if you plan to go barefoot on the beach, make sure that everyone knows, so there won’t be one pair of sneakers in the mix. Footwear shouldn’t stand out too much, so skip the sparkly knee-high boots! At the end of the day, it’s really all about communicating with everyone in the family. As long as you’re all on the same page, your photo shoot will be a success!

Contact October Dreams Photography today to schedule your family portrait session!