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Updated: Feb 7, 2022

That is in fact the most important thing that we need from you in order to have a successful photo session.


When you’re trying to create beautiful and timeless family session photos, it is important that you choose the right clothing. Many people worry too much about the posing, the make-up if the kids are looking at the camera, and all sorts of things. But when it’s time to tell your family story you really want to get your outfit right!

The best advice is to plan AHEAD. Don't let to the last minute to buy your family outfit. There are things that can go wrong like, size, color discrepancy, delivery time, and so on.

It is important that you plan in advance so you can get your wardrobe soon enough so you can try, make sure it fits, it is comfortable and you like.

Start with mom's outfit first. Find something that you really like and matches your personality and compliments the location where you will have your family photo session. After you find your outfit, start with the kids and let dad for last since it is usually the easiest one.

Not too long ago it was popular for the whole family to wear the same, like white shirts and blue jeans. If you Google family photos you will probably see a bunch of those. These days, however, the trend is to coordinate, not match for a couple of reasons. First, this is the best way to show off each family member’s unique personality. And second, not every outfit looks good on every person.

So when you ask yourself “What should we wear,” I understand that this might drive you crazy. And that is ok, it is normal, I myself have the same problems when the time comes for having my family photos. It is always what color pallet should we pick and what put in our kids etc. It can be very difficult enough to dress oneself, so I feel the pain when it comes to the whole family. But I say this, use 90% of the photo session effort on this than anything else. WHY? Because the rest is up to me. Come to our session in a nice combination and well-planned outfit that I assure you you will have amazing photos.

That is why I help all my clients with styling. I offer a free consultation so you can have peace of mind on selecting the right outfit!

I’ve outlined some simple recommendations below to help you narrow down your wardrobe choices for your next family portrait.


  • Dress for the season and for the location you will be having your photos taken.

  • Neutral, coordinating colors. Do not match! Like I said above, not every color or fit works for every person. Mix colors that go well together but are not exactly the same. That is called "complementary colors" and you can find many examples online. Search for wardrobe complementary colors and you will have tons of information on that.

  • Solid muted colors are usually the way to go. But don't be afraid of mixing things up. You can layer things on the top to give some contrast.

  • Fitted clothes will always look better than loose-fitting clothing. For the kids having a little bit of room is better so they don't complain about the tight outfit.

  • Closed-toe shoes. Avoid sports shoes, logos, and colorful elements on that. There are few instances when you should go barefoot or wear sandals like on the beach, some trails, lake but in general, most people should wear closed-toed shoes. This can include fashionable boots, dress shoes, and sneakers.

  • Jeans. We all love jeans and it is not an absolute, but don’t be afraid of them, including torn jeans if that’s your style.

  • Sleeves. Of course, take the season into account when choosing the cut of your top, but most people should wear sleeves.

  • Layers. Family sessions usually move along rather quickly as we try to fit in as many shots as possible while children are cooperating. So by layering rather than bringing a change of clothes you can quickly and easily change up your look.

  • Bring accessories like hats, suspenders, bows, beanies and whatever may describe you and your family personality.

  • Here in San Diego, it is sunny most of the time and usually you don't need a lot of layers but if you are doing a beach session in the winter, bring extra clothes.


That answer to that can go in many different ways depending on the age of your kids.

For the very little one, try your best to hide diapers. Bloomer pants are a great choice, and a longer shirt will help as well. It is important that you try the wardrobe selection in your kids way before our session. That way you can see their comfort level, if fits and looks good.

One of the most wardrobe items that kids complain about is new shoes. If you are buying new pair, make sure to get half or one size bigger, so they don't complain when running around. We want your kids to be comfortable and in a great mood. So pay attention to these details.

Another thing that helps is to let your kids choose their favorite colors. Of course, we still need to keep the entire family wardrobe consistent and make sure the colors go well with each other. But let's say that your kid's favorite color is orange. We can find a muted orange that can go well with mom's outfit and the rest of the family as well.


  • Unfitted t-shirts. This includes any kind of loose t-shirt or sports top.

  • Anything with logos or graphics. Unless that is really part of the mood we are going to. For example, one of the kids (teenager) loves music and we combined a Ramones t-shirt that was stylish but not out of synchrony with the rest of the family's wardrobe.

  • Office clothes. Oh gosh, yeah that happens all the time, especially with dads. Let the regular stripe, suit, and social shirt out of the game. It is different when you want to dress nicely for a wedding and for a photo shoot. In a photoshoot, you should let your personality talk and not the appearance. Most of the time I tell the dads to just use a plain button tee and that is it. In my wardrobe consultation, I will share many options that you can choose.

  • Anything that is too vibrant. Fluorescent green. Lollipop pink and so on.

  • Anything that shows your bra straps or underpants.

  • Cargo pants.

  • All white or all black.

  • Havaianas or Crocks.

  • Short dresses (not always). A short dress can limit your ability to pose comfortably for your photos. Test out your favorite dress to see if it’s appropriate for your session by sitting on the ground. If you cannot comfortably sit in it, it will be best to choose a dress that is longer or opt for pants.


As I mentioned before, it is really important that you and your family try your outfit before your photo session date. remember the 90% effort above, that is all you need to worry about your wardrobe. Trust me, I have seen all kinds of stuff, and nothing better than being comfortable in the outfit you choose. The last thing that you want is an uncomfortable face in your photos or an outfit that you thought would fit great.


I hope you learned a few things here! We go deeper in details in my styling consultation so don't freak out, we are together on this. It’s easier to dress for family portraits than you might think. By focusing on your personalities, complementary colors, and testing your outfit in advance is a formula for a successful family photo shoot. Don't be shy and go wild!


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