Ideas and tips for how to dress for family photos

Ideas and tips for how to dress for family photos

You're excited for your upcoming family photo session, but you're struggling to figure out what everyone should wear. Should your boys all wear the same shirt? Should you let your daughter wear her favorite patterned blouse? And what about you?!

You want everyone to be comfortable and look great so that you'll end up with amazing portraits that reflect the true personality of your family. Stop worrying and follow these five tips from the experts at JCPenney Portraits:

Tip 1: Keep clothing simple

Worried parents tend to overthink outfits. A tried-and-true path to success is to keep clothing simple. For example, solid colors translate well into portraits and do not distract from the stars of the picture: your family. Have the need to show your style? Try accents such as a patterned scarf or colorful necktie for a pop of personality that doesn't overwhelm.

Tip 2: Coordinate but don't match

Typically what looks best is when a family wears clothing that coordinates with a particular color scheme, but isn't necessarily an exact matching outfit. (No need to buy three of the same shirt for all your kids!) If your son is wearing a yellow button-up, you might select a blouse or skirt for you that features details in that same color to tie everything together.

A few things to keep in mind about colors:

  • Wear light on white: Light pastel or white clothing looks best against light-colored or white photography backgrounds.
  • Wear dark on dark: Dark clothing looks best against darker backgrounds and creates a more formal mood.
  • Darker clothing slims: Choose shades of black, brown, blue or jewel-toned colors.

Tip 3: Think head-to-toe

While some photos may focus on the face and upper half of the body, many family poses are full-length. That means when deciding on outfits, you need to think beyond the shirt. Nice slacks and skirts that are freshly pressed will show well in photography. And don't forget about shoes! Put those dingy tennies away for the day and instead opt for nice or new shoes. They can really help a portrait seem polished.

Tip 4: Consider themes and seasons

If you're going in for holiday photos or to mark a special occasion, you may want to alter your dress to fit the season or theme you're going for. In addition to clothing, you may want to bring along fun accessories or props to personalize your family pictures. Hats, scarves, jewelry, sports items, musical instruments and more can help you tell your family's unique story by capturing special moments in time through family photography.

Tip 5: Be consistent

Cowboy with couture? Hoodies with hoopskirts? Sunday's best with game day's best? Sure, these are extreme examples, but they make a point: Keep clothing consistent among family members and dress everyone in a similar style. A good rule to follow is don't mix casual and formal clothing in photos.

For more outfit ideas and wardrobe inspiration for your upcoming family photography session, visit our gallery page.