What to Wear for Family Pictures | 7 Tips for the Perfect Photos

It's the season for family portraits and nothing strikes stress into a mom's heart like trying to figure out the perfect color palette for a family photo session! What to wear for a family photoshoot is one of the most common questions we see asked this time of year. There are so many different options: solid colors, bright colors, neutral colors, white shirts... how's a hardworking mom to decide what will look best on each family member?


We've got lots of great ideas and examples of perfect outfits; plus how to tie it into a color scheme for the entire family. Never let this time of year stress you out again!

  1. Bold colors are one of the most popular outfit ideas for family photos, especially if the pictures will be going on holiday cards. There are a few different ways to pull this off: you can choose to do the whole family in different shades of the same color family (i.e. all different shades of blue or green); you also might try putting pops of color here and there while the majority of the family wears neutrals (everyone in black and white and just the little girls wear red, for example); or you can have everyone in a different outfit in varying bold colors (you'll just want to make sure that you choose coordinating colors so that they look harmonious together).

  2. If you're mostly interested in a casual look for family photo outfits, putting everyone in blue jeans is a great way to accomplish this. Then you can have everyone wear nicer button-up shirts or blouses and still have a classy, timeless look (just stay away from really trendy denim cuts or lots of distressing).

  3. Fall family pictures obviously lend themslves to a fall color palette. Take a cue from nature and stick to autumnal reds, oranges, yellows and browns or other warm, dark colors. Turquoise, forest green and navy blue also work well with these as they are complementary colors.

  4. Another great choice is just to ask your professional photographer what they recommend for your family's outfits. Not only will they tell you what colors and prints work best with the camera (for instance, tiny stripes can become distorted when photographed), but they can tell you a little about what other families have been wearing so you don't end up looking like everyone else's holiday cards.

  5. Because we're fans of women's fashion here at Novalie, we we think it's a good idea to start with a fabulous look for mom's outfit and then dress the rest of the family in color combinations that match or coordinate with her. After all, if momma ain't happy (with the pictures), ain't nobody happy! Start with our favorites if you need a new dress.

  6. If you'd like to incorporate different patterns into your photo wardrobe, try simple, classic prints like polka dots or florals (or leopard, anyone?). These work especially well on the lower half of an outfit since they won't be seen quite as obviously as the top half.

  7. As you get closer to making decisions, you might consider creating a private Pinterest board to gather some great examples of photos you love as well as specific wardrobe pieces you might want to gather or purchase. Then you can always go back to it next year and choose different colors for the next photo session!

Finally, just have fun! A good family photographer should make the whole experience fairly enjoyable so don't stress yourself out about it ahead of time. Start with some great pieces already in your family's closets and only purchase extra if strictly necessary. The important thing is saving this moment in time for years to come!