Help! What do I wear for family portraits?

Park City Family Portrait Photographer

Family Portraits Tips and Advice


Deciding what to wear in Family Pictures can be a daunting task. What colors to wear? How can we coordinate, but not look like clones? Trying to figure out what you are going to wear for family portraits can be stressful. It used to be that everyone wore white shirts and khaki’s and that was that. Sadly, those photos now end up on BuzzFeed articles about awkward family photos. These days you want your family portraits to be visually dynamic and timeless. Here is a simple list of suggestions to help your family portraits look coordinated and beautiful!

1. Decide on a Color Scheme

The first thing I ask when someone seeks advice on colors to wear, I ask where they plan to hang the portraits in their home, and what colors are in that room. For some people, this doesn’t make a difference. But for others, if they plan to hang the prints in their family room that is painted red and black, and you plan to wear orange and brown, it won’t work very well. If your room is neutral and you’d like some color pop from the portraits, and you just need help deciding on colors, here are a few thoughts. Design Seeds is a site full of unique color palettes. The artist finds beautiful images, and picks a color palette out of those images that you might not otherwise notice. You can do a search by color palettes or themes. Let this sight be your inspiration!

2. Select one focal piece

If you have a color palette in mind, or even if you don’t…shop around to find one patterned piece that you love. Once you find one central piece, plan everything around it. Mothers and children tend to be the focal point so I’d suggest this focus piece to be on one of the children. That doesn’t mean that they will stand out the most. After you accessorize it will all flow together.

3. Pick 3

It’s a good idea to pick three colors to work with as your main colors, then consider grays, whites, blacks, or browns as freebie’s. Not necessarily all of them together, but one or two that work with your three chosen colors.

4. Layers & Accessories

Cardigans, necklaces, headbands, tights, hats, ties, and funky jewelry. Layers and accessories add dimension, pizzazz, fun, texture and richness to the overall look. Don’t be afraid to try multiple accessories, textures, and patterns. Go bold and have fun!

5. Split up the colors

If I have six people in my family, and have selected three main colors, I don’t want all of those colors on top, nor to the people that are close in age. Split the colors up. I want to weigh some color towards the bottom in one or two of them as well.  I do this with shoes, skirts, and pants. There are so many options now with those fun colorful jeans.


6. Lay it on the floor

Once you have gathered items in the colors you’ve picked, find a spot in your home to pull it all out. I like to lay the pieces on the floor, and look at it from afar, take a picture of it so I can see it from a different perspective.

 7. Plan ahead

Make sure you start this planning as soon as you book your session. Ideally this would be several weeks before your session. Start thinking. Look in your closets and shop well in advance so you aren’t stressing at the last minute.