What to Wear for Family Photos | Denver Photographer

What to Wear for Family Photos

Do you ever wonder what to wear for family photos? An excellent question, as your session results in high quality, fine art portraits. I want you to walk by and smile everytime you see your family portrait on your wall.

Here are some loose guidelines on selecting your family’s wardrobe for portraits. Please let these ideas inspire you, but don’t feel pressured to abide by each item on the list. This is your session! I am sharing a few personal family photos to illustrate–I couldn’t possibly choose from all the adorable families I have photographed!

▪ Coordinate, but do not match. The entire family in white shirts with khaki pants is outdated and visually boring.
▪ Pick up to 3 main colors, plus a 4th vibrant pop of color (I like to start with a neutral, add some rich color and then picking something bold (i.e. tan/cream with chocolate brown and coral plus green accents).
▪ Use a favorite softly patterned dress or top for mom or sister as a jumping point for the rest of the family’s outfits.
▪ Layers and textures can add visual interest (cable knit tights, subtle ruffles, lace accents).
▪ Avoid fluorescent colors as they photograph poorly and reflect on skin and hair.

Colorado Photographer

Here I picked a version of primary colors: navy blue for my neutral, a rich red, plus a pop of mustard yellow. The yellow went well with the fall foliage, and plaid undershirts add some fun layers and patterns without being too distracting. I didn’t want to buy new shoes, so I kept it simple with neutral Converse minus the socks.

▪ Avoid green as a main color when being photographed in lush grass, it’s just too much green!
▪ Don’t forget the details: shoes, hair, accessories should tie your look together.
▪ How will you display your portrait? If you plan on hanging a canvas in your living room with brown tones, pick brown versus grey as the neutral in your outifts.
▪ What season and location are you using? A colorful outfit with funky accessories might look best in an urban setting versus a lush forest, while rich earth tones fit best with fall scenery not spring.
▪ Start by shopping in your own closet. There is no need to spend a fortune to dress well for family portraits. Plus, you already own what makes you feel and look great! Pick out a few favorite pieces that work together and fill in any gaps if necessary.
Colorado Photographer

Here is an example of mostly shopping from our own closets. I bought a green sundress for our family vacation, but didn’t want to spend money on outfits my children might never wear again. I would have preferred a little more green in my boys’ shirts, but the green stripe in my husband’s shirt helped tie together all of our colors and patterns. I kept the shorts neutral, and put my husband in a different color of shorts to keep it from being too matchy. The blues and greens complemented the stunning backdrop! Photo by Michelle Rooney.

Check out my pinterest board for more ideas!

Some favorite places to shop for clothes and inspiration: Old Navy, Anthropologie, Target, Forever 21, H&M, and ZaraWhat to WearThese outfits are far from perfect, but I chose a bold palette of black, red and silver, as we waited too long for pretty fall colors and the winter scenery was drab and colorless. Red was also fun for our holiday card! Stripes, plaids and a layered vest add some visual interest, and my husband’s plain shirt keeps the patterns from being too distracting. Our shoes definitely aren’t the best choice, but they were the best we had!

Now booking –please email me info@julielivermorephotography.com for more details!


Hello, I am Julie. Wife, mom of two boys, photographer, adventurer and coffee lover. I live in Colorado and never run out of places to hike, explore, and play with my family. Some of our most recent adventures include white water rafting, tent camping, and exploring Rocky Mountain National Park.