How to Dress for Family Photos

So you picked a photographer, finally settled on a date and time and you’re crossing your fingers for beautiful weather and happy children, right?

Family photos can be so stressful for us moms. Besides taking forever to find something that fits in our schedule, we worry about all the things we can’t control. On top of all that worry, you are now solely responsible for coordinating outfits that not only match, but are are clean and that your children (and husband) won’t refuse to wear.

Let’s not get discouraged, y’all! I’ve got some great tips to help you through this along with a couple of examples!

Consult your photographer

That’s what we’re here for. I love when people ask me because certain settings look better with certain color palettes. Your photographer can help you narrow down and decide which colors work. If you need to, send pictures of what you’re considering and let them make suggestions. For example, if you have a colorful backdrop with lots of flowers, a neutral or solid color palette should be considered. If you’re shooting at a more neutral background though, you can amp up the color!

Pick your color palette

By palette, I mean several colors that coordinate nicely together. Gone are the days of everyone wearing the same colors (think khakis and white shirts … ahhhhh just say no). While it might be easy, it definitely does not showcase individual styles and personalities. I like to blend two or three colors where possible. If you’re having trouble choosing, start with one clothing item such as a dress for mom and build your colors from that.

Use an anchor color

There are certain colors that I would consider anchor colors, meaning they always show up in some shape or form in outfit choices. Gray, black, khaki or denim are what I would consider anchor colors. So when you’re building your color palette, consider choosing one of these anchor colors and go from there.

Make it pop

If you like a little color, then add one that blends with your anchor color and location choice. I personally love red, purple, yellow and blue as bold color choices. I would highly suggest steering clear of fluorescents … they tend to reflect color where it is not needed.

Add a pattern or two

Print and texture really make a photograph unique. I personally do not like to include more than one or two complimentary prints and / or textures. Do your best to steer clear of anything distracting such as characters or words on clothing. Also, consider layering pieces for added dimension.

Don’t forget about your shoes

Nothing ruins an outfit by realizing your son only has running shoes to go with his adorable trousers and bow tie. This shouldn’t be something you just decide at the last minute. Stick with basics such as boots, leather sandals, Converse, classic Mary Janes or bare feet as a last resort. Especially for sitting photos, I much prefer bottoms of feet to bottoms of shoes. 


Finishing details are a must

Jewelry, scarves, bow ties, belts, flowers, bows and hats are all fun ways to add personality to your outfit. Try to keep it cohesive with the style of the shoot.

Be comfortable


If you’ve put your outfits together but you’re completely uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to ditch it and start over. Moms and Dads, this is specifically for you! It’s hard enough chasing children and hoping for smiles. Don’t make it harder by wearing something you are completely unhappy in. It will show in your photos. Also, purchasing the correct size is key. You want items that compliment, not oversized or too tight. Dress your child in an outfit that fits, not one with room to grow. You want them to look put together not sloppy.

Most of all, try to relax!

Carlie is a divorced mom of five. She moved to Lafayette 22 years ago from a small town in-between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. She has four young adult children from her first marriage that ended after 19 years, Christopher, Cara, Clay and Cade. She has a one year old daughter, Poppy Mae with her significant other, Joey. She is a work-at-home mother who is a freelance writer and photographer/owner of Carlie Anne Collective. Organized chaos and tons of lists are her style. Carlie loves to workout, travel, visit with her friends, bike with Poppy Mae in their neighborhood, attend outdoor concerts, eat out at local restaurants, walk aimlessly through stores looking for good deals and swing in her hammock while chatting about her BST addiction with her online friends. She keeps an active Instagram account as a photo journal of her days.


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