Clothing questions arise with nearly every session and I totally get it. You want to look your best, you want your family to look your best, and figuring out how that all works together for your photography session can be a little complicated at times. There are so many choices, so many colors, and that’s before you even consider getting everyone into something that they’ll actually wear.

This post is written from with my experience and point of view on what looks best in the finished image, keeps you and your family most comfortable and acting naturally, while hopefully minimizing any stress that may arise from clothing selection. While I don’t have it ready today, there will eventually be a link in this post to a swipe file (aka download) with specific color palettes and selections for each season and occasion. Keep your eye out for it!

What to Wear for Your Photography Session

No fluorescent colors.

It doesn’t matter how much you or your child love that neon pink, neon orange, neon [insert color here] piece of clothing. Colors that bright cast color shadows onto your face and the faces of those around you. Opt for muted or jewel-toned versions of those colors. Instead of neon yellow, choose mustard yellow or ochre. Rather than bright, fire engine red, go for maroon or brick red.

Mix, DON’T match.

If you hear nothing else I’ve said here, please oh please, hear this. Mix. Don’t match. It will be more than obvious that your family goes together – you’re in family pictures together! There is no need to precisely match your shirts, pants, shoes, or anything else for that matter. Choose a color palette, mix colors and patterns. Coordinate and complement. It’s alright to have more than one pattern, as long as every single person is not in a pattern, and the patterns share similar colors.

Clothing is an expression of personality – let your family wear something in which they feel comfortable and confident. Something that shows who they are.

Keep the green to a minimum in grassy or wooded areas.

This doesn’t mean you absolutely cannot wear green no matter what you do, but just be cognizant of where you are having your session and what season it is. Green on green is just too much green but can make for a great accent color. You want to stand out, not blend in, to all the green around you.

Be comfortable. Be confident.

This is so simple. I don’t say that condescendingly, but to say don’t overthink this. If you aren’t comfortable in the clothing you’ve chosen, you won’t be confident in it, you won’t be yourself, and it will absolutely show in your pictures. That means don’t go out of your way to find a new outfit or dress if you have a solid pair of skinny jeans that you love.

Wear what you wear in everyday life. If that’s running shorts and a tank (That’s me!) and that just isn’t what you want in pictures, wear what you’d wear to a dinner party, on a night out, to church, etc. The point is, wear something that is all you, and – this is super important – let your kids do the same.

If you must buy new clothes, buy them to FIT.

I strongly encourage you to wear something you already have in your wardrobe that you genuinely love, but if you must buy new clothes for you and/or your family, don’t buy them too big or too small. Buy them to fit. I know kids grow like weeds, but buy clothes that fit. A shirt that’s too big or saggy jeans just looks sloppy in pictures. Make sure things like jackets, cardigans or blazers fit as though they were tailored. If not, consider choosing something else.

Watch the weather, but be flexible.

Whether you live in the Midwest or Mountain West, you know the weather can flip on a dime. Know what you’re going to wear for your session, but realize that plan may have to be thrown out the window at the last minute if the weather decides it’s going to be 35° rather than 75°. Add or subtract layers – tights, cardigan, hats, boots, etc. Dress for the weather even if it’s not what you envisioned. In pictures, happy kids are better than kids dressed as you wanted before the weather threw a curveball.

If you still have questions about what to wear for your photography session, get your copy of THE CLOTHING GUIDE. And, Take a look at this Pinterest board – curated just for you – for styling tips and color inspiration! And, as always, call or email me with any questions!