What to Wear to a Family Photo Shoot

Coordinated outfits are icing on the cake of spectacular photos! The most important thing to remember when it deciding what to wear is keep it simple. Avoid distracting accessories and crazy patterns. Stick with colors that go well together. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, start with Mom’s outfit and build on that. Or pick a simple pattern for one person and then pull colors from it. Here are a few more tips & tricks to help you get the most out of your photo shoot:

Coordinate, Don't Match

I'll be honest, I don't enjoy photographing matching outfits! The mini me thing is cute cute in it's own way, but I don't believe that the cuteness translates in the photos. It's like, too cutesy and sometimes a little funny. Not at all the vibe I go for in photos. So instead, decide on two to four colors that go well together. The goal isn’t for each family member to wear the same exact thing but for the outfits to jive together. Click here for some ideas.

Dad holding baby and parents holding daughter's hands while walking in a field
When done right, bold colors and patterns can look really nice! The trick is not to mix too many patterns and pull a color from the pattern.

When in Doubt, Stick to Solids

A subtle pattern to add in a little variety is fine, but try to limit crazy prints and patterns as much as possible. A funky animal print or character on a kid’s t-shirt can be quite distracting on the final photo. Also, try to avoid sentences and numbers on clothing because it will take the attention away from your gorgeous faces!

A Little Pop of Color

Daughter tickling dad. Dad with son on his shoulders and mom giving son a piggy back ride.
This photo was taken during a family photo session in Elm Creek during golden hour. The yellow, white, and blue combo was simple and went well with the fall vibe. I love how soft the lighting is and how this photo captures their natural connection.

Simple & Neutral

I don't believe you can have too much simplicity. Especially inside the home, solids and neutral colors work great! And you can never go wrong with a baby in a simple, white onesie.

Simple & Solid

mom holding baby while dad and baby make faces at each other
Here's another example of simplicity well-done. The solid colors help keep the focus on the faces and the newborn. And a simple white onesie is really all you need!

Search Pinterest for Eye Shadow Color Palettes

Eye shadow color palettes can inspire unique color combinations! You might find something that you wouldn't think would go well together, but it just...works. Go this route if you're wanting something a bit more bold.

Minimize the Bling

Too many accessories are distracting and can take the attention away from others in the photo. I recommend removing scrunchies, hair ties, watches, and large bracelets from wrists. Also be mindful of bandages and that sort of thing.

Consider your Background

Make sure your clothes won’t blend in with your background. Is your shoot in the woods? Try to limit greens in your clothing. Taking Christmas photos in the snow? Then steer clear of white so I don’t lose you!

A special note to all you overachievers out there: If you're going for the gold, consider your home decor and how your outfit color choices will mesh with it.

In-Home Sessions

I strongly recommend neutral, solid colors for in-home shoots. This is because homes tend to have stuff in them, sometimes more stuff than we want and I want your outfit to stand out from your background. For in- home shoots, it's most important that you're comfortable and what you're wearing feels natural. I've photographed families in sweatpants, moms without makeup, parents glammed up—it's really up to you! To sum up my advice, be comfortable, feel good in what you're wearing, and avoid distracting prints and accessories.

Winter Sessions

Layers, layers, layers. I don’t want anyone getting lost in a puffy winter coat! Wear an under shirt, a cute top, then another warmer layer. Feel free to add in scarves and hats. You can't bring too much when it comes to layers and winter wear. You can always take something off if it ends up being too much.

Maternity Photos

For maternity shoots, I recommend a dress with a lot of flow. This helps me capture movement. If you're opposed to dressed, this can also be a flowy top. If you're whole family will be in on the shoot, definitely start planning with your outfit and pull colors from it for everyone else's outfits. You're the star of the show, my dear!

And if you're comfortable with it, I say do the bare belly shots! These can be taken with a flattering swim top, regular bra, or bandeau bra for extra coverage. You may choose to use my floral lace for a little cover up.

Have a session scheduled with me? I'll be sending you my more detailed style guide, but don't be afraid to reach out! If you also want me to take a look at your closet, I'm happy to do that. All you have to do is ask! Sometimes you just need a fresh set of eyes.

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Looking for a Newborn Photographer in Maple Grove?

Based in Maple Grove, MN and servicing the Twin Cities metro, Kara Joy Photography is a lifestyle & documentary photographer who specializes in newborn & family photography. Kara Joy Photography is known for capturing raw emotion & authentic expressions through a laid-back approach. Her unforced images have a glaze that is natural yet polished. The cherry on top? A quick turnaround time.

If you're on the hunt for a newborn or family photographer, I'd love to chat with you and answer any questions you may have! Click the link below to send me a message or you can shoot me an email at karajoyphoto@gmail.com​.