How to Pick Family Picture Outfits

Eau Claire Family Photography, Family Photography, Lavender Green Photography

Jul 10, 2019

A family of five is wearing blue and purple tones, which stand out against the green, rust, and gold colors of the trees behind them. They are playing and smiling for their family pictures.
The colors, textures and patterns in these family picture outfits helps separate them from the background.

Are you wondering how to pick family picture outfits? You’ve already invested money into the shoot itself. It feels like the stakes are so high! And maybe you’re the type of family that rarely does family photos. You anticipate doing it once and likely not again for years. You want to get the wardrobes right! Or maybe you do family photos annually and you want to get them just right each time to represent your family at it’s best.
“What should we wear?!” That is my most frequently asked question. I get it! It’s not easy! Read on for inspiration on how to pick family picture outfits taken from my Lavender Green Photography style guide.

Find a Starting Point

I suggest you start with one outfit and build around that. If the session is something special because a Little One is turning one- pick his or her outfit first and build the rest of the family’s outfit around it. Is this a Generations session that Mom/Grandma is planning? Mom/Grandma can send the rest of the family a pic of her outfit and color scheme she’s hoping for and the children/grandchildren’s outfits can be built around it. Is Dad planning the family session? Let dad pick his duds and then find complimenting wardrobes for everyone else. (If I’m honest it’s usually Mom planning but shout out to the dad’s that do as well!)

Find a Family Color Scheme

How to pick family picture outfits. Complimenting color schemes help tie the family together without being too matchy matchy.
Your color scheme choice can compliment the type of session you choose.

Really, whatever color scheme you LOVE will be wonderful. If you already have a vision- build on that!

If you’re having a hard time settling on a color scheme, first I like to think about where the photos will go. Will they go in a room that is decorated with maroon and Navy? Consider wearing something that will look nice in the room where your printed photo will be hung.

If you need color scheme inspiration think about the background where you will have your photo session. Will the background be neutrals like snow or a foggy cityscape or will it be woodsy and green?

Bold colors will stand out against a neutral background. If you’re booking an early spring session where the background will be mostly browns, maybe warm pastels to add a light contrast to the muddy browns. Or if we’re headed to a wooded park in the summer- neutral tones will stand out wonderfully against the bold greenery.

If you have a color scheme already in mind- go for it! But if you’re drawing a blank, thinking about the scenery behind you will help you find a starting point to build outfits around.

Pairing Outfits Together

I often tell people not to be too matchy matchy. If Mom, Dad and Kiddo are all wearing maroon, and mom is holding Kiddo- everyone blends together in the photo. But picture this-

Mom is wearing a maroon dress.
Dad is wearing a color block t-shirt in tan and white.
Kiddo is wearing a maroon checkered shirt with tan pants.

No matter where I position people, everyone is tied together and still stands out. Because everyone’s style is a little different Mom can hold the kiddo and everyone stands out. Kiddo can be sits on Dad’s lap and everyone still stands out. The kiddo is in the middle of the woods running away from me as fast as he/she can and…. well it will make a cute picture. When he or she turns back around to find mom and dad- again, everyone will look great.


Friends, I LOVE textures. Mom in her silk blouse, Little Man in his corduroy pants, Darling Daughter in her knit sweater, and Dad in his cotton T-shirt. I’m really drawn to textures. That is not to say you need to vary all of the textures your family is wearing but if you feel like you’re hitting a wall on how to mix up the outfits but still have a complimenting vibe, thinking about textures may help steer you to something you haven’t thought of.

A Pop of Color

A family wears white, blue, and coral agains the dark green trees for their family photos. The pop of color stands out against the dark background.
A pop of color helps celebrate this little one turning ONE!

I LOVE neutrals. And a pop of color can help direct the eye to something in particular in the photo. Whether it’s a pop of color for the birthday girl while her family is in neutral tones, or bright or bold accessories on a couple having an engagement session, if you don’t know where to start when it comes to picking a color- you may want to consider neutrals with a pop of color to highlight someone or something. 

Finding More Color Inspiration

If you look through Pinterest and find yourself drawn to photos of families in pastels- consider pastels! If your family photo inspiration board is full of families in bold colors- take note. 

Pinterest is also a great resource for finding complimenting colors- hop on and search “color palette,” and scroll through for some beautiful color ideas. It’s also a great resource if you have one color in mind but don’t know what to do for coordinating colors. Just search the color palette of that color. For example, “Navy color palette,” and see what pops up.

Need another place to go for color inspiration? The paint store! Before Pinterest color pallets I used to head to the local hardware store and look through their paint books to find tones that looked great together. Then build your wardrobe around those colors. 

If you need more inspiration on how to pick family picture outfits, hop on over to my Pinterest and follow me or my color palettes board.

  1. Maria says:

    Such great tips and love the photos!!

  2. Vivian says:

    What a great idea to have information like this for people getting ready for their photo shoots! I know one of the first things I always ask before any and all photo sessions is, “What should I wear??” lol! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Great info! I looove that first image

  4. Mandy says:

    This is such a helpful post – LOVED your point about textures!! That’s always one I forget!