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What to Wear For Family Portraits

Every photographer all around the world will tell you, "What do we wear?" is the number one question clients ask.

And I get it, the better you feel you look the more comfortable you feel in the photos. The more comfortable you feel, the more relaxed you are, the more relaxed you are the better the session will turn out overall. (see the connection?)

Trends come and go, but there are a few definite MUST DO's and DON'Ts when it comes to planning for your Maternity, Newborn or Family Photoshoot.

Jacksonville Fl Family Photographers


  • DO iron your clothes before the session. Just like the downy commercial shows, wrinkles aren't good for anyone. (you know the commercial)

  • DO choose fabrics your family will be comfortable in. It's Florida, in the summer it's HOT. Cotton, linen, cool fabrics can help make everyone more comfortable. In the winter, if your kid hates sweaters, find a cute jacket. No reason to torture them in an itchy sweater.

  • DO choose a flowy fabric (for mom's and daughters). It's true, photographers LOVE long flowy dresses & skirts. Why? Because of the movement. You can twirl, swing your dress from side to side, so many things to add interest and beauty to the images. Even short dresses will provide that same movement, you just need to be aware that a gust of wind may have you reenacting that famous Marilyn Monroe photo, so be ready. But if you're not a dress person, wear a kimono or flowy top, as long as you feel beautiful and comfortable.

  • DO choose 4 colors and coordinate everyone. Lay the clothes you are thinking about using out and see what they look like together. If you're unsure, send your photographer a pic! They will let you know! (Remember, they want you to look and feel beautiful too!)

  • DO practice your hair and makeup before the session. OR even better you can schedule to get a blowout and have a professional do your makeup to help you look and feel beautiful. But, if your session is on the beach, don't worry too much about your hair. Most likely it will be windy and your hair will be everywhere and while that makes magic often in photos, it ruins the hairstyle you paid for.

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  • DON'T wait until the day of the session to choose everything. This will cause some serious unnecessary stress.

  • DON'T try a new way of doing your makeup or hair the hair the day of the session. If it goes wrong, you may not have time to fix it and again, unnecessary stress.

  • DON'T wear clothes with large symbols, designs or words on it. Unless you're being paid to advertise for that company it just makes the photos look bad and unprofessional. (The exception to this rule, is if you are doing branding photos and the shirt has your brand or a quote that fits with the brand and of course, changing your little one into a 1st Birthday shirt at the end of the session)

  • DON'T dress the whole family in all white or white tops and jeans. This isn't the 90's (even if a lot of the fashion is coming back). Everyone rarely looks good. I have seen beautiful sessions with everyone in various shades of beige, cream, champagne and ivory that looks beautiful. The different tones of these neutral colors keeps it beautiful and interesting. But seriously, don't match everyone.

  • DON'T get a spray tan right before the session. You will look like an oompa loompa. Don't do it. It's bad. A spray tan needs a couple weeks to settle to a more natural look. But really, the more natural your skin tone the better, so you could skip the spray tan entirely!

  • DON'T do a lot of patterns. Even if they are color coordinated, having multiple family members in patterns doesn't photograph well. One or two patterns at most should be the rule. Then have everyone else in solids that coordinate!

St Augustine FL Family Photographers

That's it!

Because I LOVE my clients, I also send them What to Wear Guides with more types, color combination ideas and more depending on their session type.

AND my clients all have access to Style& a fabulous website that helps show you wonderful outfit ideas for tailored to each family member based on the color combo you choose. Whether you use it to buy new clothes or just shop your closet it's super helpful for sure!

If you want to know what stores I recommend? Head over to my brand new What to Wear tab on the website!

Now let's make beautiful photos together. :-)

Happy Styling People!



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