Don't look awkward – What to wear to family pictures

What on earth should I wear to my family pictures?!?

You don’t want to look awkard,

or be featured on (one of my FAVORITE places for a good laugh, by the way).

In this article you’ll learn

  • How to look like you had a stylist pick your clothing because all of the colors effortlessly work together.
  • The color that makes every size look their largest
  • How to avoid the “black turtleneck” cliche
  • The little details that can make or break your photos

You don’t need to “matchy-matchy.”

Matching black turtlenecks with khakis are out –

So then,

What’s IN?

Well, I’m glad you asked!

Step 1: Pick a Color Palette

A color palette is a mixture of colors that works well together in a single outfit. If you could wear an outfit with this mixture of colors, then it would look GREAT in family pictures.

But what the heck does that mean?

You’re right, that REALLY doesn’t make sense at all without some sort of visual!

Here is an example of a subtle pastel color palette. You could wear ALL of those colors in a single outfit.


Example 2: Bright Pastels. Here you can see how Kylee (most left) has a shirt with a combination of ALL of the colors her family is wearing.

Step 2: How to bring it all together in solids and patterns

Choose mostly solids for shirts, camisoles, undershirts, etc. I recommend choosing all solids, or having no more than 1 person wear a pattern.

This avoids making things look too “busy,” especially if you are going on location and will have scenery in the background.

Feel free to be creative and mix different colors in the photo in your jewelry – bracelets, bows, rings, etc.

Step 3: What NOT to wear

* Note: These are guidelines. Feel free to break the rules at your discretion! We have photographed multiple sessions where the photos looked GREAT and broke one or all of the rules below!

Try to avoid white as a main color, unless EVERYONE will be wearing white.

  • White attracts, and unless you and you alone want to be the main focus, try to avoid it.
  • White is also a color that makes every size and shape look larger than they are.
  • Lint, animal hair and stains show more on white (trust me, I have a black lab!)

Avoid patterns, more details in step 2 above.

Avoid sleeveless shirts – sleeveless shirts bring attention to bare shoulders instead of the face, and make any size arms look larger than they actually are. This applies to all shapes and sizes!

Step 4: Don’t forget the LITTLE details

Groom fingernails and toenails. They WILL show in photos. Either have your nails completely painted, or the polish completely removed. No half-worn sparkly green shamrock nails that were oh-so-festive during St. Patrick’s Day, but look funny with your subtle navy and creme color palette.

Below: Hands showing in family portraits

 Hands showing in family pictures
Hands showing in family pictures
 Hands showing in family pictures
Hands showing in family pictures

Make sure clothing is wrinkle and lint free. Yes, Photoshop is like magic, and yes, minor details can be fixed for no charge with ordered prints, but more extensive editing (ironing out extensive wrinkles can take hours and still not look totally natural) requires extra charges.

  • Iron and hang your clothing the night before.
  • If you will be changing outfits at the studio, bring them on hangers.
  • Don’t throw all of your stuff in a bag and come hoping they will still look OK.
  • If you have pets and can’t escape their wonderfully fluffy hair no matter how much you clean your home and car (I get it, I have a black lab), then wash, dry and iron your clothing, fold it neatly in a bag, and bring it to the studio. You can dress here!

More color Palettes

* Don’t forget to Pin your favorites to Pinterest to keep track of the palettes you like! (Pinterest icon will show up on each image when you hover over the image and will add directly to your pinboards)

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