How Should We Dress for a Family Photo?

How Should We Dress for a Family Photo?

Now that the world has changed and everyday life is uncertain, family is more important than ever before. Nothing becomes more precious over time than memories made with our loved ones. A family photo is something that will be treasured for years to come and becomes a literal snapshot of a moment in time. While there is no right way to take a family photo, planning ahead can make it a relaxing and fun experience that will create a photo to be cherished for generations to come!

Location, Location, Location

The location of your family photo will help to determine what type and color of outfits you and your family will wear. Consider the backdrop and colors within to pick complimenting colors for clothing and accessories. Choose colors that compliment your background and don’t compete with it for attention. Consider the season that your photo will be taken to allow for the choice of complimentary clothing and accessories suitable for the season. Whether you choose breezy women’s summer dresses or cozy fall sweaters for the family, matching the type of clothing to the season is essential.

Think of your family’s interests and hobbies when choosing a location. If your photo backdrop will be a beach or lake scene for example, choosing colors with ample brightness to compliment the more neutral tones of water, sand and sky work well. If you are using a fall day in the country with brightly colored leaves for a backdrop then wearing neutrals will give the leaves ample attention and still make your family look great!

Don’t Match, Coordinate

Whether your family is two people or ten, choosing outfits that coordinate but don’t necessarily directly match will give the photo a more authentic, natural feel. Start by choosing two complementing colors or a pattern and coordinating solid color (that also compliment your background scenery) and adding in a couple softer tones and textures as accent colors to highlight the two primary colors. Choosing patterns is fine, but be sure that not everyone is wearing a different pattern and that patterns and solid colors complement each other. Too much pattern and non-coordinating colors will not result in a pleasing photo. Limit the use of distracting patterns or large logos as well as they will tend to overpower your photo. Try to stick to no more than one pattern and one primary coordinating color and add some complimenting colors and textures in accessories.

Allowing the family members to choose outfits they like and feel comfortable in within your color scheme will make sure the day is both memorable and comfortable for everyone. If you are taking photos with children, keeping the clothing comfortable to wear will be less stressful and result in a fun and memorable event. If your photo includes small children, it’s always best to plan a backup outfit appropriate to your color scheme just in case of accidental spills or stains.


Adding coordinating accessories to your family’s outfits will take your photo to the next level. For instance if dad is wearing a plaid men’s flannel shirt in an outdoor fall setting, then perhaps choosing a complimenting color from that plaid to use as a belt on a pair of boys jeans or using a complimentary color in a girls scarf would add extra pop to your color palette. If pets are included in your photo, finding a matching bandanna for them may be a cute touch.

Timeless and Classic

A family photo is forever; you want the clothing within it to be classic and timeless as well. Many people opt for family photos for use as holiday cards or just because everyone is home for the holiday season. While it’s tempting to take a family holiday photo with everyone in a Santa hat, if that picture is on display year-round, it will seem out of place in your summer decor. When choosing your family’s coordinating outfits, choose those that remain timeless. There is not a right answer as to what may be worn. Not all families choose formal attire, although weddings and other special occasions often afford the opportunity to get a great family photo op in while dressed in formal attire for the occasion. Other families may opt for a casual photo taken during a summer family vacation or outing, or just in a special setting or location. No matter which option you choose, keep everyone comfortable and in coordinating outfits in classic styles for the best photo for generations to come!


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