What to wear for family photos

I’m a family photographer (well, an everything photographer really) offering Westchester photography, NYC photography, Hudson Valley photography & Hamptons photography. After over a decade of experience taking family photos of many different families in many different places, I’ve found a few things that really work when dressing for your family photography session.

Here’s the most important thing about what to wear for your family photo shoot – I want you all to feel comfortable, confident, and express your unique personalities through your outfits. That’s my number 1 priority! Everyone should feel fantastic. Here are 4 easy tips for dressing to make your photos as beautiful as they can be.

  1. Embrace individuality aka no matchy matchy. Please, no khakis and white shirts for everyone. The only situations I support matching are: parents and small children & siblings. I’m not saying these combinations should match, just that if you’re into that, I’m also into it. No adults should match exactly. I repeat: adults do not all wear the same outfit! I’m all about celebrating each individual’s style and personality. Encourage your family members to choose outfits that make them feel like their best selves. Whether it’s a flowy dress, jeans and a tee, wide leg pants and a blouse, a stylish jumpsuit or shorts & a button down, let each person’s outfit reflect their own unique taste and preferences. This will not only make everyone feel comfortable but also create authentic images that showcase the unique beings that make up your family!
  2. Decide on a color palette. While we’re celebrating individuality, it’s also essential to create a sense of cohesion in your family portraits. Choose a color palette that complements the greenery and outdoor setting of Westchester and ties your group together. Soft pastels, earthy tones, & light neutrals are some of my favorites. Think about where you might want to hang these photos in your home and choose colors that match the space. This is how I decide on a palette: First, think about the colors in the space you want to hang your images. Then, one person (usually mom or a child) chooses something they LOVE in colors that work with that room. This special person can wear a piece with multiple colors, and then the rest of the crew pulls their colors from that pattern. It’s fine for a few people to wear patterns as long as they aren’t super busy and clashing.
  3. Beware of bright whites under bright sunlight. While bright white clothing may seem like a classic choice for an outdoor photoshoot, it’s important to consider the lighting conditions. On bright sunny days, the sun’s rays can reflect off white clothing and blow you out (the shirt will be SO bright and distract from your beautiful faces). Instead, opt for off-white, cream, or lighter pastel shades that will keep a soft and natural look in the photographs. These colors will beautifully complement the greenery and prevent any distracting highlights.
  4. Comfort and confidence are key. Prioritize breathable and lightweight fabrics to ensure ease of movement. Dress in layers if it’s cooler out. This is especially important when you’re playing and having fun outdoors. Avoid overly formal attire that might restrict your family’s ability to enjoy the shoot to the fullest (unless you’re doing an elopement, in which case wear whatever the heck you want). When everyone feels relaxed and confident and LOVES what they are wearing, it makes our shoot better and shines through in the final photos.
  5. Limit patterns and absolutely no words or logos! This goes back to #2 – it’s great to have one or two people in complementary patterns. Too many patterns can get clashy and distract! Logos and words are an absolute no-no unless there’s some meaningful reason to include them. By logo I don’t mean a tiny little polo horse, but rather something that says like “NYC Marathon 2015” (adapting from real life example lol). It will totally pull focus and editing it out is often impossible. Thanks in advance!!!

Planning what to wear for a family photo shoot can be overwhelming. Keep these tips in mind and remember – I am always here to help! I will support you from scheduling through art on the walls, providing one on one service along the way throughout your family photography experience. Clients often text me several outfit groupings and I pick out the most photogenic option for your family photo shoot! Or – you can always bring a change of clothes if you’re not totally sure (if you have a kiddo prone to drooling, spitting up or accidents, DEFINITELY bring a change of clothes for them just in case!)

You’re going to look awesome and your family photos will be beautiful!

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