colour schemes for family photos

How To Dress For Family Photos

By the time families have come to me to discuss family photos, they’ve seen everything from families who look like they were professionally dressed for a magazine shoot to family members all wearing identical outfits. The options can be overwhelming, and if you think you are the only one out there stressing out about what colour scheme to dress your family in, you are not alone. In fact, “What should we wear?” is the number one question I am asked in every single family portrait consultation I have. And in an effort to answer some of your questions, I have packed some of my best wardrobe tips into this neat little post including colour schemes for family photos.

Colour Coordinate

The best place to start when it comes to dressing your family for family photos is with colour coordination. This is a place where families often struggle, and will often default to everyone wearing black or white. This is a common mistake that you don’t want to make. Our goal with colour in your outfits is to allow you to show personality while also blending with the background. Choosing black or white as your primary colours will either make your family look like blobs or wash you out against your backdrop. Instead, have fun with colour! Start with a colour scheme that suits the season, and then let your family get creative and show their personalities.

A colour scheme doesn’t just mean one colour. But choosing a palette that suits the season can be difficult. So to make this even easier, I’ve created a few palettes for you to start with. Note that none of these schemes include white or black. And each of them includes a set of colours that complement each other. If your family works within these schemes, your family wardrobe will look beautiful.

Colour Schemes For Family Photos

You can even save the palette that you love the best and send it to your family, or use the buttons below to share.

Embrace Patterns

I recommend that your family consider patterns. Patterns can be very dynamic in photos and show off someone’s personality. You can even include several different patterns in one photo. So don’t be afraid to open up the possibilities to plaids, florals, polka dots, and stripes.

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Dress With The Season

Dressing with the season is important, especially in the more extreme seasons of winter and summer. I’ve sometimes watched families neglect to layer up with warm clothing in the winter, which will cut a family photo session short. Especially when there are young kids involved.

Don’t be afraid of coats, toques, mittens, and boots. I even highly recommend snow pants when your photo session will involve lots of snow. It’s not uncommon for snowballs to be thrown and kids to fall down, and all of that wet stuff will leave dark marks all over their pants. If you have the option, choose your children’s more formal winter clothes. If you’re prone to sweating, wear fabrics that breathe and don’t show sweat marks. And of course dress in a way that won’t overheat you.

diverse family photos

Layer + Accessorize

Dressing in layers can be very effective. There are a couple of reasons layering can be beneficial. First, you can layer up if it is cold or you can shed a layer if things get too warm. Layering will also allow for more variety in your photos, especially if your location doesn’t allow for a quick wardrobe change.

Layers can include anything from zip-up and button-up coats and denim jackets, to flannel shirts and loose blouses, to wool sweaters warn over a tighter base layer. Scarves and mittens also qualify as layers. Consider some of the following:

  • Spring: A plaid button-up over a t-shirt with rubber boots.
  • Spring: A denim jacket over a graphic t-shirt with jeans and sneakers.
  • Summer: A button-up t-shirt over a tank top with shorts and sandals.
  • Summer: A sundress with a denim jacket or knee-length, button-up sweater.
  • Fall: A blazer over a v-neck sweater with a scarf.
  • Fall: A leather jacket over a hoodie.
  • Winter: A bulky turtle neck and scarf with a knee-length overcoat.
  • Winter: A bulky sweater over an especially warn under-layer.
colour for family photos

Be Prepared For Everything

Finally, be ready! Depending on the location of your session, you could be dealing with a number of weather conditions. You should consider the temperature, of course. You might also want to be prepared for sweat, swamps, sand, and wind. Be prepared for what you might be facing. Here are some ideas to consider:

  • Rubber boots for muddy terrain.
  • Neutral or colourful umbrellas in case it rains.
  • A hairbrush and hair ties for wind-blown hair.
  • Gloves to warm your hands between photos.
  • Tide stain remover sticks, just in case.
  • Water for everyone on those hot summer days.

Get The Picture Perfect Guide

Do you need more help getting ready for your family photo session? I have the resource for you! It’s called The Picture Perfect Guide, and it’s packed with tips to help you and your family feel comfortable and confident in front of the camera. Fill out the form below to get instant access!

Share This With Your Family

Preparing for family photos? If so, you’ll want to share these tips with your family. Be sure to save your favourite colour scheme above and use the buttons below to send this article straight to your fam so that you’re all on the same page for your photos.