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famiy photo wearing shades of blue on the beach

8 Simple Wardrobe Ideas That Work For Family Portraits

We broke down the most common questions we get from Moms into 8 simple wardrobe ideas that work for family portraits. When mom asks "What should we wear?" I might not be a fashion designer but I do know a thing or two about what looks good in photos.

When planning your outfits ask yourself these simple questions. What is the style or look you are going for? What do you plan to do with these photos? Will your photos be taken at a local park, beach, or other type of setting?

Learn more about Christopher Todd Studios' family photography today.

Below you will find our 8 simple wardrobe ideas the work best for family portraits.


1. Choose The Right Outfit

family portrait of siblings on rocks at laguna beach
  • Wear clothes that make you feel good and that you are comfortable in.
  • Choose outfits that fit your style. In other words, avoid clothes that are drastically different from your norm.
  • Choose something that you would wear on other occasions. To a dinner party, a play, or a nice night out.
  • Ask family members to help you decide on your outfit.

2. The Best Fit

  • Make sure your clothes fit properly.
  • Wearing clothes that are too small or tight is usually not flattering in photos.
  • Pants that are too long look sloppy. Use a tailor to hem pants professionally or fold legs in and use safety pins to secure. They can easily be removed from a finished photo.
  • Wear clothes that complement your body type.
  • Baggy or loose-fitting clothes can also look unflattering.
  • Clothing that fits will look great in photos and be more comfortable to wear.

3. Buy New Outfits

  • This is a perfect time to find the right look and make sure everyone will be styled to perfection.
  • Don’t think of it as a one-time purchase. The clothes you buy can be used for other purposes as well. Special occasions, school dances, family celebrations, or date nights just to name a few.
  • Remember, your portraits will reflect a time in your life that you are capturing and will look back upon.

4. Say No To Bright Colors & Busy Patterns

  • Avoid that blouse with a busy pattern. Yes, it's probably cute but save it for a dinner party or a date night.
  • Loud colors can be visually distracting. We want your faces to be the first thing you notice in your portraits.
  • Family portraits are all about personality and connection. When planning your family portraits keep these tips in mind. Don't distract them with loud clothes.

5. Use A Color Palette

  • A color palette is a range of colors.
  • We recommend choosing one color palette.
  • For example, don't have everyone wear blues and have mom in a red dress.
  • Use a color wheel for a reference guide. We also provide clients with a style guide to help them choose a color palette.
  • Your color decision can also be based on the season. We talk more about the right color for the right time of the year below.

6. Choose Warm Or Cool

  • Warm tones such as browns, yellows, and oranges, are nice tones for Fall sessions because they tend to look fantastic with typical Fall backgrounds. Think leaves changing colors.
  • Cool tones such as Blues, Purples, Greys, and Blacks are great for winter.
  • Summer portraits on the beach can have warm or cool tones, as long as the colors are light and airy.
  • I like to see each member of the family with different colors of the same palette.
  • Say no to matchy-matchy. Avoid perfectly matched colors. When the entire family has the exact same color, the group tends to merge together. Instead, have everyone wear slightly different shades of the same color. It will look great and give each family member more individuality in their images.

7. Wear Outfits That Compliment Location

  • The location should be the main factor in your clothing choice.
  • Dress in clothes appropriate for the environment.  For example, you would not normally wear a suit and tie to the beach. So think about the context of the environment and your outfit. See our top 10 favorite locations in the OC. 

8. Consider Your Wall

  • Do you plan to print the photos?
  • Where are you planning on putting your family portrait?  What color is the wall, space, the light in your home?
  • We want to create portraits that look incredible where you intend to place them.
  • For example, if the style of your home has a beachy cottage vibe, we would recommend a portrait session at the beach. In addition, the best color palette for this would be blue tones because they look great on light airy walls.
  • See the products we offer here.

Pro Tips For Simple Wardrobe Ideas For Family Photos

  1. Don't wear exact matching shirts. When everyone wears matching patterns or colors the photos tend to look like the family is wearing one big blanket.
  2. When you pick the style and colors for your photos make sure all family members are on the same page. If everyone is beachy casual and dad looks like he is going to the office your photos will look out of sync.
  3. Don’t get sucked into trends or fads that will come and go. Aim for a style that reflects your personality and matches your house.

Start planning today and find out what you need to know to start preparing for your family session.  

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