Every quarter for my newsletter, which you can sign up HERE to receive, I get my family dressed up for a family photo. I enjoy getting all the outfits together, deciding where to shoot, and doing my DIY family photos. If you stress out about choosing outfits for your family sessions this is the post for you! Let me walk you through how I make the decision and easily put together family looks.
Is there a theme?
Are you taking photos for a specific holiday or are you wanting a more year round look? This is the first question to ask when planning family photo outfits. The collection below was for my July newsletter, which I turned into a 4th of July theme.
I had the plaid shirt for Christopher already in the closet and I liked that it was red, white, and blue but that the red wasn’t a deep red. The red shirt for Chris and the blue shirt for me were also items which were already in the closet and they matched the tones in Christopher’s shirt perfectly. Once I had these three pieces pulled (I hang clothes on the blinds when I’m putting together outfits) I had to find something for Ada. I went a teeny bit overboard here and ended up making this dress from some Lilly fabric I found on E-bay. The colors were perfect and I normally don’t make clothes but I just couldn’t help myself. The finished product turned out perfect!
Pull clothes you already have
I mentioned this in the tip above but I really do try to pull from items we already have especially since buying brand new clothes several times a year isn’t the most budget friendly idea. For the collection below I had the pink dress and the plaid shirt the kids are wearing so I found other pieces that went well with the plaid and were also nice for a beach shoot.
For beach shoots I love COLOR!! The classic mono color theme is fine but color really makes the photos pop! If you are thinking about a beach shoot and aren’t sure where to start with color thoughts you can check out my Pinterest board for inspiration.
Use Pinterest for color inspiration
Pinterest is my go to for color palette inspiration!! If I have an idea with a certain color I will pull Pinterest up then search “specific color palette”. For the outfit below I bought the green bubble for Ada so I took to Pinterest and searched “mint green color palette”. The results came back and I decided on this color palette since I knew I had a sweater for Chris in the gold color and I had something I would be easily able to put together for myself. The green is a little off from the palette but that’s ok, it doesn’t have to be exact, it’s more for the inspiration.
I did have to buy Christopher a brown shirt for this shoot but I easily found a cheap one on Amazon and he will be able to wear it under sweaters through the winter.
Coordinating over matching
This tip is a personal preference but I’m just going to say it. COORDINATE DON’T MATCH! I know there are options for everyone in the family to wear the same shirt but just take a second and consider how much we make fun of those photos from the 80s and 90s where everyone is wearing the same sweater. It’s the same thing LOL! If you want to do the matching thing, you do you, but just give it a second thought and maybe match the kids but coordinate the parents.
A few years ago I did photos of the kids where Christopher had a plaid shirt and Ada had the same plaid on her dress. I’m all for some cute aspects and hints of the same pattern but the everyone completely matching isn’t my style.
I should note here that there are places where the complete match is fine in my opinion. I like the matching family pajamas and if you’re trying to be funny then go for it! I’m also not saying you will never see me in a matching situation, I’m only saying if I’m pulling a family selection for a session I’m not likely to choose all matching.
For this year’s Christmas family photo I HAD to go with a classic plaid for Ada then coordinate for the other pieces. Chris has owned this red sweater for years and for my outfit, I had everything from years past. For Christopher I choose a blue sweater, which I found on Amazon and like the brown shirt from the fall photos, I know he will be able to wear a good bit through the cooler months.
A secret for Christmas outfits, especially for the expensive things you really like but aren’t sure you want to pay full price for when it might only be worn for a photo…buy it used! Duh, right. Seriously though, the Beaufort Bonnet Company outfit Ada is wearing I purchased last year right after Christmas from a Facebook group and honestly I’ll likely sell it after this Christmas on the same site. There are lots of buy sell trade options out there and there’s nothing wrong with planning ahead especially if you LOVE a print or an outfit.
Ask a friend
Everyone has that person you can send 20 photos to and ask “do you think this looks ok together?” If you don’t have that person, I’ll be happy to be that person for you!! Seriously, send your questions my way firstname.lastname@example.org
When I start planning outfits I’ll send my friend, Crystal, 10+ versions of what do you think looks better especially if I’m about to buy something (I HATE having to do returns). She and I usually lean the same way so it’s not like she’s are giving mind blowing advice but it’s a great feeling to have someone agree with your choices. There have been some key points she’s made over the years though!!
Now that you have your outfits ready…
What should you do with the perfect family outfits? Book a session or go out and DIY those family photos! I would love to be part of your family photo adventure. You can CLICK HERE to get started on booking a session!