The Best Family Photo Outfits Tips, Tricks & Ideas

Family photoshoots are a necessary evil. Nobody likes coordinating outfits, forcing your kids to put on something they hate and bribing everyone with treats at the end (a beer for the men and candy for the kids!).

But it doesn’t have to be painful! Today we’re going to walk through some key tips for rocking your family photo outfits and experience!

Large family in neutral outfits

As a mom of 3 I’ve been through my fair share of family photo sessions. We’ve done everything from just our immediate family to 2 sessions with my entire family which consists of 17 people!

But family portraits are so important! They typically document the whole family as well as each family member which is so fun especially as your kids are young and growing so quickly.

Family photos are a great way to get photos for holiday cards and to update those photos on your wall. But how do you go about getting the perfect photo?

biswas family outfits

Coordinating outfits and keeping attitudes happy can be a challenge. Here are some of my best tips, tricks and hacks!

Let’s start with the most important question, what should you wear for family photos?

What should you wear for family photos?

Let’s start with 5 expert tips.

1. Coordinate, Don’t Match!

You don’t want to end up on a “family photos gone wrong” book in a few years. Coordinate your colors (think neutrals or shades of a certain color), not the same color on everyone.

Family in coordinating outfits

I’ll share color pallete ideas below but look in your own closets to see what colors most of the family owns! Chances are you can get the bulk of your outfits from clothes you already own!

2. Stick to Your Own Personal Style

If you love dresses, wear one! If you despise them, don’t do it just for the pictures! Go for something you feel good in and feel like yourself in. You want to recognize yourself in these photos!

the Best Family Photo Outfits Tips, Tricks + Ideas

Same goes for your kids. If your son LOVES bowties, by all means, let him wear one! Your daughter won’t leave home without a tutu on? She should definitely wear one. It’ll be a lot easier to have good attitudes if they like what they’re wearing.

It’s also fun to document your kids as they are during that time (within reason of course).

3. Fit Your Surroundings

If you’re taking photos in the woods, a formal tux and fancy gown probably aren’t the best option. Figure out your location (home, a park, etc) and plan accordingly!

A family with a new baby in casual clothes in front of white background

4. Plan Ahead!

This one is SO important. Don’t try to wing it the day of your photos – plan ahead! Figure out your color scheme (more on that below), go through all the clothes you have and figure out what needs to be bought.

Then, try on your entire outfit (shoes and accessories included!)! You don’t want to get to the day of the shoot only to realize your daughter outgrew the shoes you planned on her wearing!

Family in coordinating outfits

5. Be Comfortable

The last thing you want is to be wearing a skirt that keeps riding up so you spend your whole shoot pulling it down. Or a top that rides low that your kids keep tugging at.

You want to be able to walk freely, throw your kids in the air and be yourself! Now’s not the time to be uncomfortable – it’ll show in those photos!

Family in comfortable sweaters

What should Mom wear for family photos?

I always say, start with mom’s outfit! I promise, it will make everything seem way less painful and stressful if you do that.

Let’s be real, who does the majority of the outfit picking? Mom. And who can be the hardest to dress? Mom. So get mom’s outfit figured out first and the rest can fall into place.

green and pink family outfits

I always always always start with myself! Let’s be real, women can be the worst when it comes to choosing an outfit. If I know what I want to wear and feel best in, it’s easier to pick out the rest of my families.

So what should mom wear? First, it should a step up from your everday wear. Live in ripped jeans and graphic tees? Why not try a pair of dark denim, solid color top and a cardigan? Or maybe a flowy skirt and chambray top?

Family in coordinating outfits

Wear something that gives you a bit of definition, not a boxy dress. You don’t want to end up looking wide when you’re really not! A dress with a jacket or skirt with a fitted top are great options!

Not into skirts or dresses? No problem! A nice pair of good fitting dark denim and a dressier top (think sweater, fancier tank top or lacey top) are great options.

Family in casual clothes - mom in jeans and dressier top

What should you not wear for family pictures?

Now a few guidelines on what NOT to wear!

  • Don’t be matchy matchy. Trust me on this.
  • Skip the large logos!
  • No baseball hats or hats that shade your face.
  • Oversized shirts or pants.
  • Skirts or dresses that are too short.
  • Skip the sleeveless tops.
  • Athletic shoes.
  • Stay away from bright colors or neon colors.
Family in neutral coordinating clothes

What are the best colors to wear for family pictures?

The best colors to wear for family pictures depends a bit on the season and where you’re taking your photos.

Start with Neutral Colors

It’s always best to start with soft neutrals. Ivory, grey, etc. This will ensure that your colors won’t be too overpowering.

pink and blue family photo outfits

It’s also best to have most of the family wearing solid colors as opposed to prints. You can have dad and little boys wear plaid shirts under a cardigan or sweater or little girls with a small printed dress but keep things minimal.

If you do have someone wear a print, balance it out with a solid color. Think solid colored tights under a printed dress or a vest over a printed shirt.

The overall goal is to have a cohesive look and not competing colors or patterns.

Family in coordinating clothes, one pattern, the rest solids

Add in One or Two Accent Colors

Depending on how big your family is, you’ll want to add in accent color. Just don’t go overboard!

Add in a pop of color, something like blue or green, red or wine, teal or pink – all depending on the season.

If you’re taking photos outside take into consideration your surroundings. For outdoor fall photos colors like wine, mustard yellow and navy are great options.

Big family in coordinating clothes with neutrals and maroon as an accent color

For outdoor summer photos you can brighten things up with pinks and teals.

Below are a few color schemes my family (including my sister and brother’s families) have worn. Hopefully this helps you figure out a color scheme that works well for you!

Family Photo Outfit Ideas

Family in coordinating outfits with a blues, grays, brown and pink palette
Family in coordinating outfits in a gray, blue, orange and white palette
Family in a gray, white, blue and red color palette
Family in a white, blue and mustard color palette
Family in a white, gray, brown, pink and blue color palette
Large family in a gray, maroon, white, green and blue color palette

And there you have it! I hope this tips, tricks and inspiration photos helps remove some stress and overwhelm when picking your family photo outfits!

If you need a little help with knowing how to wear different things, check out one of these posts!

As always, thanks so much for reading and sharing!


  • Jen Biswas

    Jen has styled women for photo shoots, fashion shows, board meetings, work trips and most importantly, every day life! She's been hired to style many homes as well. Her aesthetic aims to make style approachable and practical, and most of all fun! She's a mom of 3 who loves frozen cookie dough, plants and a generous pour of creamer in her coffee. Her biggest joy is helping others find joy in personal style through practical tips and inspiration. She loves to share all of her styling secrets on Paisley & Sparrow! Feel free to send Jen a message or join the fun on Instagram!

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