Parents stand with their toddler girls in the tulips at OKC Myriad Botanical Gardens during a family photo session.

What to wear for A Family Photo Session / OKC Family Photographer

Yay! You booked your family photography session. Now the next question on your mind – “what to wear?” Choosing what you wear during your session plays a big role in how your photos turn out. But UGH! I know it can be stressful.

We photographers like to provide some guidance on what to wear for a family photo session. The reason for this is that specific types of clothing work better with our shooting and editing style and help make your photos shine. So, here are some of the specific things that I recommend you consider when deciding what to wear for your session. These recommendations could be the difference between a good and a great outcome on your photos. (Also check out this post on recommended places to purchase from.)

For my personal family and newborn clients, I provide a more in-depth session and style guide that gives many tips of how/what to dress for great results. If you book a full session with me, I also provide access to an online styling service, Style & Select which gives you styling guidance, provides mood boards and helps you organize all your ideas about what to wear. And you can always text/email me. Giving my clients

Plan ahead!

It’s never a good idea to be rushing around last minute just making do with what’s available at the moment. If you’re going to want to purchase new clothes for your session, it’s a good idea to think ahead to other upcoming events and choose clothes that can work both for your session and the other events.

Get Comfortable

First and foremost make sure that the clothes you choose are clothes you really like and are comfortable in! Liking and being comfortable in your clothes makes a big difference on your attitudes coming into the session. It can also have an ongoing impact on how well you’ll like your photos later on.

Also, for my sessions I do lots of movement, snuggling, hugging, etc… So this is another reason to make sure you are comfortable and can move in your clothing. As a lifestyle, story-capturing photography I want you to be able to be yourself and bend down to give those hugs or dance with your kids without being self-conscious about your clothing.

What Not to Wear

Avoiding these simple things will make both you and me happier with the final photos from your session

  • Do not match! (instead coordinate)
  • Do not wear all the same color scheme (all wear shades of blue, etc)

Matching and/or wearing all the same color not only dates your photos,  it also makes it much harder for each person to stand out as an individual. Rather than a beautiful family of unique individuals, you can quickly be an indistinguishable blob of colors. Matching clothes also makes it much harder to achieve good balance and flexibility in posing.

  • Avoid lots of white (choose cream instead)
  • Avoid lots of black

Too much of either blacks or whites can make the rest of the photo be overloaded with contrast and makes it really hard to get a nice, consistent style.

  • No brands, logos or characters on clothing
  • Avoid neon colors (these do weird things to skin)
  • Avoid super bright saturated colors (i.e. bright red, yellow, royal blue, etc…) Instead go for muted versions of the same colors (mustard instead of yellow).
  • Do not wear tiny patterns/plaids (the camera and lighting can make these look really odd!)

What to Wear

  • Complement your session’s surroundings (is the session in the park? Downtown? In- home?)
  • Add layers, textures and patterns
  • Pick one person’s outfit first then work everyone else around it. 

(I always recommend picking Mom’s outfit first. Face it moms! we’re usually the hardest to make happy.)

  • Solids with some patterns and textures works great (large prints & patterns work best)
  • Clothing that fits. Properly fitted clothing looks better and is just more comfortable. Especially for women, you don’t want it too fit too loosely or too snug. And children are much more happy if their clothes fit.

Some Color Pallets that I Recommend alongside of Neutrals:

  1. Earthy tones 
  2. Pastels
  3. Jewel tones

When in doubt go with solids and add pops of color in the accessories. But, don’t be afraid of color! And don’t be afraid of patterns! Often mixing the family half and half between solids and patterns works great.

Don’t forget accessories!

  • Hats, scarves, earrings, etc… (avoid necklaces that will be hard to keep in place)
  • Headbands, bow ties, bonnets, knee socks, beanies, bows, etc for children

And for a final note don’t forget about footwear…classy footwear adds a lot to your images, stay clear of runners/sneakers, flip flops, Keens/Crocs, old shoes. And you can always go barefoot. 

Check out this post for some of my favorite places to find clothing and accessories.

Charis Elisabeth Photography is a photographic artist using a mix of documentary and lifestyle photography to capture you and your family through timeless, authentic and joy filled images. Ordinary moments that become perfect moments documented to remember for generations.

Charis Elisabeth Photography serves the OKC metro area including the cities of OKC, Moore and Norman

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