• Gonzalo Novoa

What to wear for family photos

Updated: Nov 25, 2021

You booked a family portrait session and now you're wondering what to wear for family photos.


This can be a tricky question if this is the first time for you, but fear not, I'll give you a few basic pointers to get you started and then some other considerations for maximum flexibility on your family portrait outfits.


Start with the location in mind

What would look great on a sunny beach afternoon?

How will the outfit that you have in mind look at the park with lots of greenery?

Is it an epic hiking session? what are the colours of the rocks in the area?

You get the idea right? think of the outfit and the location together, easy peasy.


What are you going to do with your family photos?

If your photos are going into a photographic album, a memory box, or you will not be printing, then this specific point is relatively moot.


On the other hand, if you are planning to decorate the walls of your home with the stories of your loved ones by using Wall-Art, then you should stop and think in which area of the house will the wall-art live and how the colours of the frame (if any) will interact with location as mentioned in the previous section.


Framed prints hanging on top of a fireplace
A Wall-Art collection that blends with the room


Things to avoid

Limit Patterns: Clothing with patterns is nice, but if everyone's wearing patterns it gets very distracting from an image composition standpoint. Limit patterns to maybe one clothing item with people for a photo shoot of 3 or fewer people or up to two patterns for a photoshoot of 5+ individuals.


Darker tones get lost easily: Limit the amount of black or dark tones as they get lost against each other and potentially against the background if there are similar tones. Navy blue is probably the darkest I would recommend for trousers and skirts.


Footwear: Oftentimes we compromise comfort for style. Try to keep a good balance here, think about the length of the session and the location of the session. Will those high heels do well if there's any small hiking to get to your photo shoot location? How about a quick sprint to catch up to the kids? lastly, any strong colours in your shoes will bring massive attention to them... neon did you say? Forget it! 😅 Closed boots are often a very safe option.


Avoid logos: We're not here to advertise for Nike, SUPREME or anyone else. Now, this is just a suggestion, coming from the perspective that logos are distracting and bring attention to themselves instead of attention to your family members.


Too much of a single colour: Warm, sunny tones are my jam and one or two members in jeans is fine, more than that it starts to look strange as blue is the opposite of warmth in the colour palette.


Stick to a colour palette where possible

Using a colour palette will give you guidance and uniformity while not making everything the same.


To choose a colour palette you can draw inspiration from Pinterest or a Google Image Search by simply searching for "colour palette" and then choosing something that matches or contrasts your photoshoot location. Here are some examples


There's plenty of flexibility when using a color palette and this will make the job of choosing what to wear for your family photoshoot much easier.


I hope these ideas will help with what to wear for your photo shoot. Send me a message with other ideas! I plan to expand this article and your feedback is always welcome.