What should we wear to our family photo session?

With nearly every family session I book, I get asked the question, “what should we wear to our family photo session?”. In fact, it’s one of the first questions I get after we secure a shoot date.

It’s a great question that should be asked! Because your family images might live on your walls and in albums for years to come, you want them to be timeless and beautiful no matter when you did your session.

So I’ve put together a few quick tips and sample palettes to help you plan coordinating threads for the whole family.

Keep it neutral

My first go-to recommendation is always to keep it neutral. If we’re shooting your session outdoors (typically this is the case) you’ll want what you’re wearing to blend with the natural backdrop. I often photograph families in grassy fields, and typically around golden hour (an hour before sunset). This results in a lot of warm earth tones. You’ll want to reflect this in your wardrobe. I don’t recommend super bright white or solid black, as these can be visually distracting and skew the way the camera reads the light and your skin tone.

You don’t all have to match exactly, but coordinating neutrals really help bring attention back to you and your loved ones. And while your favourite colours may not be browns and greens and ivories, the idea behind this strategy is to draw the eye to your expressions and interactions. Trust me, that is what you’ll want to remember.

Avoid loud patterns and logos

Once we establish some colours for your session, my next strong recommendation is to avoid loud patterns and keep away from large logos, decals, etc. This might seem obvious to some, but if your favourite dress is adorned with a busy floral pattern, it might be hard not to choose it. Just keep in mind, we want the focus of your images to be your family and your connection to one another, not your outfits.

Your kiddo might not want to wear anything other than a favourite Spider-Man or Frozen t-shirt. I get it. One of my three is exactly like that. But I’ll say this – bribes work! The promise of a favourite meal or treat after your session can go a long way to securing cooperation from the littles. Not only to participate but to happily wear that boring shirt that mom or dad said they have to.

Make sure you’re comfortable

I can’t emphasize this enough. Dress comfortably. Stylish duds are great, but if you can’t move in them it’ll show in your gallery. My family sessions always involve some form of play. Depending on the age of your kiddos, this could mean we sit on the ground, toss them up in the air, chase and spin. Once you select your prospective attire, try it on and make sure you can move in it!

Stay true to yourself

Take all of the above advice with a grain of salt. My suggestions work well for most families I photograph. They help you achieve a consistent look within your gallery, and help blend any future session images you might add to your walls and albums, if you follow the same advice. But here’s the thing. These are YOUR images. YOU have to love them. YOU will be looking at them. If that means you want to wear that floral dress, then do it! If you absolutely hate browns and greens but love blues and grays, then do it!

Use the above as a general guideline if you’re stuck for ideas, but make sure that what you’re all wearing still feels like you. You may not wear these duds every day, but if you feel like you’d wear them to a casual summer wedding, then you’ve probably hit the mark!


Still have questions? Thinking about booking a session with me but not sure how it all works? Drop me a line! I’m a busy mom of three, but I endeavour to get back to everyone within one business day.

Want to peruse a little more? Check out my Family page for a few other highlights from previous sessions, read what my amazing clients have to say, and get to know me a little better and see if we’re a good fit.

Ready to book?

Click here to get your family session on my calendar. I only take a limited number of clients per week to balance family life with work and to provide each client with the best experience possible. So it’s best to secure a date at least a month or two in advance.

If we don’t know each other yet, I’m Katie – a family, maternity, and certified newborn photographer servicing the Simcoe County and Grey County region of Ontario. I work with families from Collingwood, Stayner, Wasaga Beach, The Blue Mountains, Thornbury, Nottawa, Creemore, and surrounding areas. Reach out anytime!

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