May 31, 2021
May 31, 2021

5 Tips on What to Wear (& not to Wear) for your Family Portraits!

5 Tips on What to Wear (& not to Wear) for your Family Portraits!

Deciding what family photo outfits to wear can be just as challenging as finding the perfect photographer! These are photos you are going to hang on your walls and cherish for years to come. It can seem overwhelming when considering what to wear for your family portraits but it doesn’t need to be.

Here are some useful tips to help you choose the perfect outfits for you and your family.

1. Coordinating colours not matching

Long gone are the days of everyone wearing a white shirt and matching jeans.

Choose one outfit that you absolutely love and base all the other outfits around that colour. Add to it with pops of colour of jackets, cardies and don’t forget hair accessories for little girls. Adding blocks of colour to your outfit will really add to the style of portrait.
If you need some inspiration, Pinterest is great or take a look at my portrait samples below.

Neutral colours are great! Keep everything simple, denim dresses, shirts, greys, blues all work really well. Clothes with soft natural colours and textures will always photograph well.

2. Look for clothing collections

When shopping for clothes for you and your children, consider shops that typically have colour coordinating collections. You can then purchase clothes for all the children from one store.

Check out CYGNET and Bow & Baby for little ones and for yourselves, it’s sister shop Bow & Pearl all located in the Swan Centre in Rathmines, Dublin 6. Another gorgeous shop for children’s clothes is The Little Wooden Peg based in Dún Laoghaire. Don’t be afraid to lay all the clothes on the floor of the store to see what they will look like together. You can see in my sample portraits with colour palettes that we started with the kids clothes and then moved on to the adult outfits.

3. Seasons

It goes without saying that if you are having a portrait session outdoors, follow the seasons for your colour palette. If you’re having a studio portrait session, choose whatever season you fancy!!

4. Things to Avoid

  • Logos on clothes, any branded clothing and football jerseys.
  • Everyone wearing patterns.
  • Clothes with horizontal stripes.
  • Chunky jewellery and items that you think won’t stand the test of time!

5. Iron your Clothes!

Please please please iron your clothes!! It is much easier (and less expensive) to iron your clothes than photoshopping out creases!

I have different clothes recommendations for different sessions.
Here they are…


Avoid the ‘plain white shirts and blue jeans’ look. It really is about showcasing you and your families personalities.

For family sessions, usually shoot on a dark grey backdrop so colours that work really well are denim dresses/shirts, greys, blues, greens all work really well. Also earthy tones and feel free to have a pop of colour/pattern with your children outfits. Generally parents should wear plain coloured, long sleeved comfortable clothing.

I also shoot on a light grey/almost white background but generally only for your children, depending on their colouring. All the colour clothing recommendations above apply here but pastel or light colour work really well here too. See example.
Less is more and think timeless!

Family portrait with colour swatch


Parents should wear long-sleeved dark clothing, black, navy or dark grey tops. Dark colours usually work best as my style for babies first portraits is always classic black and white! If your baby has a sibling(s), have your child or children wear a colour or light coloured outfit. Your baby will be swaddled in a white wrap.

Family portrait with newborn


Dark colours aren’t great outdoors in large groups of people so avoid wearing black or very dark coloured clothes! Pick one outfit and choose the other outfits around this one.

Neutral colours are perfect! Keep everything simple. Clothes with soft natural colours and textures will always photograph well.

The simpler the better. For example, if the guy is wearing a checkered shirt, ladies stick with co-ordinating colours and a simple outfit with NO patterns OR if you want to wear a pattern/floral shirt or dress, have your man wear a plain light coloured shirt with no patterns.

Dress comfortably!! Wear something that makes you feel confident and fabulous.

Family portrait on location

Hope this all helps, it really worth putting some time into stying your session. Afterall your portraits need to stand the test of time!!

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