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What to Wear for Family Photos

September 9, 2020

Struggling with what to wear for family photos?  Wanting to coordinate but not be matchy-matchy?  This guide will teach you how to style family picture outfits without needing to buy anything (or at least not much)!

All photos by Mandi McDougall Photography

family picture outfits.  what to wear for family pictures

I lovelovelove family photos!  If it were up to me, we’d have a private photographer following us around whereever we go snapping all the photos.  Since that’s not reality, I make sure we get nice family pictures taken at least once a year.  Right around our first anniversary, I had the idea to include the number of our anniversary in our annual family photo shoot so now we have a wall of pictures ranging from baby Nate and Susannah holding a one all the way to Nate and Susannah with three kiddos holding a nine!  It’s my favorite wall in our house!

I know some people struggle with what to wear for family photos but, honestly, I adore planning out family picture outfits!  I have so much fun raiding all the closets, picking color palates, and deciding what looks go with each other.  It makes my heart so happy!

Since not everyone is as weird as me, I’m going to go step by step with you and share my secrets for picking out family picture outfits without having to spend much money at all!

Tips for Planning Your Family Picture Outfits

Pick a Statement Piece

I always start picking out our family picture outfits with an item of clothing I know I want included in the photos.  In the first photo, it was my green top.  In the second photo, it was Nate’s blue polo shirt.  If I know what item I want to start with, I can use it to pick out the color palate of the rest of the looks.

Add a Contrasting Color

A monotone family look is never what I want to go for so, after I have the statement piece picked out, I find another item that adds some color while still staying in the same family group.  In the first photo, I found Nate’s plaid button up shirt that pulled out the yellows from my green floral top.  From there I knew the color palate would be yellows, greens, and blues.  In the second photo, my red floral shirt had the same blue shade as Nate’s polo so I knew the color palate would be reds and blues.

Search the Closets

Once I have my color palates, it’s time to search closets to see what we all already own.  I’ll pull out every shirt my boys own that fit the color scheme and look I’m going for.  Their closets are pretty blue/grey heavy so I usually have quite a few to choose from.  I lay out the items of clothing I know I’m using and then play around with the options I have for everyone else until I find a combination I like.  I never want too many items of the same shade in the picture but I also don’t want too many varying shades.  I want some patterns and color but also some solids.  But I also don’t want anyone to look too plain.  It’s all a balancing act.

Fill in the Gaps

Once the main items have been picked out, it’s time to fill in the gaps.  What shoes are people wearing?  What pants/shorts are people wearing.  I personally don’t like it when everyone is in jeans so I know I have to have some khakis in the mix or a dress for me.

Buy Whatever Else You Need

Sometimes, after all that, I find that I don’t have an item or two that works.  I often don’t have to buy anything for family pictures but every so often I do have to pick up a shirt for one of the boys or a pair of shoes for another boy.  It’s definitely worth it to have the look exactly how I want but I also make sure the items I’m buying are things they can wear for a while, not just something they’ll wear once for pictures.

What are your tips for figuring out what to wear for family photos?

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Family picture outfits. What to wear for family pictures

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