What to wear for your family session

One of the most common questions asked once a photo session has been scheduled is 'What should we wear?'.  There are a few key things to keep in mind when deciding on wardrobe for your session: 

Firstly, how formal would you like to go for this session? Many families like to wear something one or two steps more formal than their everyday clothes, but it is not necessary. The family below decided to go with a very relaxed, comfortable look and that lends to the comfortable feel of their photos. Others choose to dress up a bit more. Think about how you want your photos to feel when you look at them and that will help you decide which direction to go.


Secondly, color. Think about where you plan to put your photographs in your home and what colors are in that space. Be sure that the colors you choose to wear will coordinate with the room where you plan to hang your artwork. Also, the location can have some influence on your choice. For example, if our session is in the woods or a park with a lot of greenery, choices in the green/aqua/blue spectrum can get lost. I might instead suggest something in a warmer color scheme, such as a maroon or something in the white/gold/tan/silver/grey family.


A good place to start is to decide between warm or cool colors and then get specific from there, or select different colors that complement each. In the McGriff’s photo in front of their home shown below, they opted for complementary colors based on their daughter’s kitty shirt and followed that theme throughout the rest of their choices. In the Chance’s photo, they opted for a warm maroon complemented with grey, and the maroon stands out beautifully from the greenery of the Thomas Center.


That said, there are some colors to avoid if possible. Bright red and hot pink can be difficult for digital cameras to translate in certain lighting conditions, so I’d avoid solid pieces in those colors. If the colors are muted, part of a pattern, or are secondary colors to the piece, that’s fine. One last note about color, solid black and solid white are not ideal because it is easy for the body and arms to get lost in the photograph, but it obviously can be done (hello, weddings!).

If you are considering changing looks during your session, I would suggest using layers and accessories to get that effect. It is easy to dress up or dress down your outfit with sweaters, jackets, scarves, jewelry, rolling up sleeves, removing a button-down shirt to dress down to a t-shirt, etc. Depending on the location of the shoot, there may not be an opportunity to find a private space to change, so using layers and accessories to alter your look tends to be the best option.

Lastly, ladies - a few things just for you (er, us):

Fitted vs Loose_Ex.jpg
  • Form-fitting clothes tend to photograph better than loose-fitting clothing and very structured pieces like blazers. It turns out that the way we see clothing and body shape in person is different from how the camera translates it, so instead of being flattering in person, loose or boxy clothing can hide your shape a little bit too much and tends makes individuals look larger than they are in photos. 

  • If you are self conscious about your arms, consider wearing long or three-quarter length sleeves instead of sleeveless or short-sleeved tops or dresses.

  • Professional hair and makeup is recommended. I am happy to provide you with recommendations if you need them!

  • If you color your hair, ensure that your roots are touched up prior to your shoot!

Of course, if you have any other questions, please reach out!  Email me anytime at kristin@indigo-photo.com

Kristin KozelskyComment