8 Tips for the Perfect Family Photo Session Attire

by Ella Farrell | Lifestyle, Fashion

It’s 2023, and you’d think we’d have the technology to pick our outfits Cher-style a la Clueless, but unfortunately we’re just not there yet! Not to worry – I’ve taken my experience of photographing hundreds of families to come up with some tips for choosing the perfect outfit for your family photo session! 

Coordinate, don’t match

You’re not all the same, so you don’t need to dress the same. Coordinate complementary colors (use the color wheel!) instead of trying to match. And don’t be afraid of adding in patterns and textures. As long as you’re not clashing, a fun pattern (such as a floral dress) and nice texture such as a cable knit sweater can enhance the overall look and feel of your outfits. If you choose a pattern, I suggest building the other outfits around the colors in that pattern. Typically, I suggest choosing 3-4 colors for your photo session.

Avoid logos/characters

Generally, unless it’s small, I like to avoid loud logos or characters on clothing. You are the focus of the photograph, and a big Spiderman or Elsa on someone’s t-shirt can be distracting!

Accessorize

Statement earrings/necklaces, a nice summer hat, a beautiful blanket, a stellar flower crown – these can all add to the overall look of the photo shoot. Don’t be afraid to accessorize. When I photograph families, I like to get some images of everyone sitting. Bring a blanket that goes with the overall feel of the outfits. I’m personally a huge fan of a nice chunky knit throw blanket (another great way to add texture!). 

Scout the location

Or at least do a Google Image search! Is your location in downtown Boston, surrounded by red brick? Or is it the beach, surrounded by sand and blue sky? Consider the colors in your location and choose outfits that complement those colors already existing in the scenery. 

Neutrals, neutrals, neutrals

If you’re completely at a loss, you really can’t go wrong with neutrals. Tans, creams, grays and whites look good against almost any setting!

Be intentional

What are you going to use these photos for? Are you looking for a perfect image to frame in the living room? If so, consider your home decor and what would look best against your wall color and overall decor. 

Glam it up

Now this is not for everyone, but do not be afraid to dress up. I LOVE a good tulle skirt and wore a formal floor-length tulle skirt in my last family photo session. If you’re someone who loves to get dressed up, go for it! Don’t be afraid to be a show stopper – there are plenty of locations I can recommend that would be perfect for a black-tie affair. 

Hair and make-up

Pamper yourself! What better occasion to get your hair and make-up done than for photos that you will have for the rest of your life? If you’re someone who loves getting a nice blow out or getting your make-up done, then go ahead and treat yo’ self! I have lots of wonderful recommendations for talented hair and makeup artists who come straight to you. 

Ella Farrell
I am a lover of beauty in all its forms. From a couple deeply in love to the bond shared between family members, I adore these moments and am always humbled when clients choose me to capture their forever memories. When I'm not behind the lens, you can find me spending time with my family. I have two littles that keep me busy and I wouldn't have it any other way. To relax, I watch and re-watch (and re-watch!) the Office. I also love listening to True Crime podcasts while editing - I find the happiness of my photos coupled with the dark narrating of crime podcasters really balances me out! My photography philosophy is simple - I strive to capture editorial images worthy of a magazine, images that will stand the test of time. I provide a mix of posed and candid photos, everything from that "must-have" shot to the little moments in between.

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