Choosing What to Wear for your Family Photo Session


Mt Martha family photographer

If you’re reading this, I’m going to assume that you’ve decided to do a family photo session. Yay!

You’ve locked everyone in and the date is set.

Now to decide what to wear for your family’s photo shoot.

Your photos are going to take a special place on the walls of your home, so thinking ahead about the style and colour scheme that’ll work best is going to help make sure that you get a good result for you.

I often shoot family groups, and the more people there are in the shoot, the more important it is for everyone to be on the same page with regards to co-ordinating clothing. We don’t want everyone matching, and we don’t want everyone wearing jeans and white tops either, but we do want to avoid overwhelm, clashes and distractions.

Here are 10 tips to help you decide what to wear for your portrait session :

  • The first thing to consider is how you want your photographs to FEEL. If you want to have relaxed images, then your choice of clothing should help to make you feel relaxed. That doesn’t mean that you should turn up in your trackies!!  Wear clothes that reflect your style and make you feel good. This goes for the kids too!


  •  Identify your environment colour palette. If we’re shooting down the beach then the environment has blue, green and beige tones. Whereas a field might have golden wheat and oatmeal tones. Your clothing should go well with your background. You don’t want to blend in, but rather, you want the colours to compliment each other.


  • Your clothing should also make sense within the environment. So dress for the season and the time of day. It you’re too cold or too hot, it’ll just be uncomfortable, harder to relax, and that will be really apparent in the photos.


  • Dress for comfort, and wear clothes that fit. If you’re squeezing into it or if the outfit rides up and you’re continually pulling it back down and adjusting a shoulder strap, don’t wear it. Underwear lines, and bra straps are difficult to photoshop out, so please check these things. Baby outfits that separate when the baby is held can also be difficult to work with, so consider one piece outfits for little ones.


  • Start with choosing your colour scheme. Select 2-3 colours to work with and consider greys, whites and beige/browns as neutrals to add in as you need to. Colours to avoid are bright white (as it acts as a light reflector and will draw the eye to whomever is wearing it). Also avoid solid black, neon colours and use patterns and stripes sparingly. Logos and branding are also a ‘NO’!


  • Split up the colours. Make sure that the colours are split between tops and bottoms so that you don’t have one colour dominating the top or bottom half. Lay your outfits on the floor or bed so that you can see how they all work together.


  • Fine, flyaway hair might need a little pinning back. I love movement, but if hair is something that continually needs to be brushed or tucked out of the way, it can be a distraction. Think of maybe a little light hairspray, or bring along a couple of hairpins just in case.


  • Plan ahead. Don’t leave it to the last minute to find out that your little ones have grown out of those jeans!


  • Finally – Mum’s.  Don’t forget yourselves!! Make sure that you are wearing something that you love and feel good in. Maybe schedule in a trip to the hairdressers before your shoot so that you come along feeling amazing! Also a little heads up that your hands are likely to be featured – I know that you are likely to be the one organising everyone else, but don’t leave yourself til last 🙂


Below is a great example of a colour scheme that works in almost any environment. Khaki colours with grey, white and cream. Layers stop any one colour from dominating, and tie it all together. No strong colours here compete for your eye, leaving all the attention on faces and expression…

family photography on the Mornington Peninsula by MichellePragt


Here’s another example of a family doing a great job with their colours. Nothing here is competing for your attention and the clothing really works in this environment.

Bare feet helps give a relaxed feel to this photo too!


family photo session on morniongton peninsula


Here’s another couple of examples of families co-ordinating well.



family photography Mornington Peninsula


And finally for great tonal blocking and was to wear clothing inspiration, take a look at one of my favourite retailers for womens and children’s clothing Seed Heritage here.

There you have it!

Please feel free to share this post with your other family members so that you can get everyone working together.

The only other thing worth mentioning is that a smile is your best accessory.

Don’t forget that one!!

See you all soon,

Michelle x

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My love of photography grew from wanting to capture as much of my travels and children's childhood as possible, and it is something that I have been loving for most of my life.

Michelle Pragt

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