Deciding on what to wear during a photo session can be one of the most important aspects of your preparation, but also the most daunting. Especially if you have a large family, it might feel like a big task to coordinate everyone's outfits. As I organise most of my sessions outdoors, I've discovered over the years what can work really well on a green backdrop. The look and feel of your photos also depend for a great deal on what you wear, so I always advise taking some time to plan an outfit that works best for you. To help you out, I've written down some tips & tricks how to create the perfect combination of styles without being too matchy-matchy.
7 tips on what to wear during a photo session
Here are my 7 tips on what to wear during a photo session with me. Scroll down for some photo examples and inspiration.
1. Choose a colour palette
I generally recommend my families to go with earthy and/or natural shades for their family photo session outfits, with a pop of colour or a pattern to add to the photos. Styles including:
- Browns and oranges, including beige, off-whites, taupe, and burnt/rusty orange
- Greens, like dark green, olive green and sandy colours
- Light blues and greys
- Subtle patterns, including floral, botanical and abstract designs
These shades go extremely well with the locations I generally shoot at, such as parks and bushland in our local area. You don't have to match up entirely, for instance by making everyone wear beige tops and brown bottoms. Match up the colours so they complement each other but also don't feel too coordinated. Subtle patterns like florals and abstract shapes also look great in photos, just try to avoid (large) stripes and bold patterns as they generally don't look that great in photos. Light fabrics like cotton and linen are generally comfortable to wear and look great in any photo.
2. Choose your outfit first
The truth is, most (young) kids won't mind what they wear as much as you and your partner will. It's important that you feel comfortable in what you wear, so decide on your outfit first and use this as a basis to coordinate everyone else's clothes. You might have a favourite dress or shirt in your wardrobe already that you'd like to wear to your photo session. Look at the colours on this piece of clothing and find matching tones and shades for the other outfits. Say your dress has a pink and orange floral design, then you could find a nice plain dark or light pink, burnt orange shirt for your kids and partner. Beige and taupe are colours that pretty much go with anything and can form a nice foundation of the outfits you choose.
3. Work those accessories
If you like wearing hats, or your child likes wearing bows or their favourite shoes, please feel free to wear them to your photo session as well. This photo session is all about you and it should reflect your personality and personal preferences as much as you want it to. Accessories add a wonderful element to photos and I always encourage my families to bring them along if they like. Just be aware that hats and bows might cover faces, so I might recommend wearing them slightly different in the photos during your session than what you might be used to.
4. Avoid black and branded clothing
When looking at what to wear to your family photo session, I would try to avoid choosing black clothing or an outfit with visible branding. Large logos can be quite distracting in photos. They're also not as timeless as plain clothing. Black clothing on the other hand can make photos look quite dark and gloomy which is why I often advise against wearing black.
5. Don't forget shoes and socks
Although shoes and socks aren't always going to end up in the photo, it's good to put some thought into what will cover your feet. I'd also recommend choosing a shoe style that will suit the location of your photo session. If you're going to a local park, sandals could be a good option, but this might not work in bushland or in tall grass. You could always bring an extra pair of shoes along to wear to the location, and then change for the photo session.
6. Layer up!
If your family photo session is outdoors, I'd suggest bringing an extra layer of clothing if you have an evening session booked in or during cooler months. This won't only help keep your family warm, but it also looks great in photos. Added bonus: it will look like you've had an outfit change halfway the photo session, just by adding or taking away a layer of clothing. For younger kids that still need to be held, I recommend a cardigan or something that you can zip or button up and down. This is just to avoid the jumper bulking up when your little one is picked up.
7. Be comfortable in what you wear
I've saved the most important piece of advice I can give you regarding what to wear to your photo session till last. Please choose something that you feel comfortable in! It will help you feel more relaxed in front of the lens and this definitely shines through in the photos. Do you prefer bold colours instead of the earthy, natural tones I suggested earlier? Then please, go ahead and ignore what you've just read. Your family photo session is about you and your family and I want you to recognise yourself when you look back at your photos. So always add a personal touch to your outfit, that will make you shine!
Bonus tip for families with young children
If you're looking for an outfit for a little one that isn't quite sitting up or walking by themselves yet, I recommend choosing an overall or (light) jumpsuit for their family photos. These aren't only comfortable for bub, but also ensure their clothing doesn't scrunch up too much in photos. Things like shirts and dresses with ruffled sleeves are incredibly cute, but can cover your little one's face (or someone else's) in the photos if they creep up.
“Please choose something that you feel comfortable in! It will help you feel more relaxed in front of the lens and this definitely shines through in the photos.”
Favourite Australian clothing stores
Some of my favourite stores for that are run by (local) Australian businesses, include:
- Little Clothing Co (for newborn + kids)
- Ziggy Lou (for newborns + babies)
- Bohemian Traders (for women)
- Auguste The Label (for women + kids)
- Snuggle Hunny Kids (for newborns + babies)
- Seed Heritage (for everyone)
For more budget-friendly options, I can also recommend paying a visit to your local Target, H&M or Best & Less. They often have beautiful collections with earthy, natural tones and subtle designs.
If you have any questions about this, or would like some personalised styling advice for your next session, please feel free to reach out!