What to wear for family photos

Mar 28, 2024 | Family Photos, Toowoomba Photography

Matt Edwards taking photos

Matt Edwards


What to wear for family photos that will stand the test of time

During my time as a Toowoomba photographer, I’ve photographed my fair share of families. And with this, I’ve seen many, many varieties of clothing and colour combinations chosen. When you invest in family portraits, it’s only natural that you will want to spend some time choosing your outfits and going over different colour combinations. Many families can’t commit to booking a family portrait session every year, so when you do, you want to get it right.

What you wear for family photos, including the clothes you choose as well as the colour combinations, can make or break your photos. Coordinating colours using a ‘theme’ and wearing clothes you feel comfortable in can result in a beautifully cohesive look and take your photos to the next level. But how can you achieve this, and easily?

Find out how to nail your look, along with five outfit and colour combinations you can use to help you decide what to wear for your family photos.

Two brothers stand with their arms around each other for a photo

Top tips to help you decide what to wear for a family photoshoot

  1. Coordinate, don’t match

Firstly, forget dressing everyone in matching colours (think the white top, denim bottoms combo). Instead, aim to coordinate your clothes and colours to complement each other instead of matching. For example, opt for clothes in pastel colours for Spring or earthy tones for Autumn. Dressing everyone to a colour palette allows each family member to express their individual style (and clothes they are comfortable in) and will result in a beautifully cohesive look in your photographs.

  1. Consider your environment

Take into account the location where you’ll be getting photos taken. If you’re planning an outdoor family photoshoot with lush greens as a background (like at one of Toowoomba’s many parks or gardens ), earthy tones such as olive green, terracotta, rust, mustard yellow and deep burgundy can go beautifully with these natural surroundings. Wondering what to wear for a beach photoshoot? Calm colours such as soft blues and turquoise, greens, pinks and sandy neutrals, as well as lightweight tops and clothes, are great for a beach location. Sandals and espadrilles or going barefoot are also popular choices.

  1. Don’t wear loud patterns and big logos

While patterns can add visual interest, they can also be distracting in family photos. Some types of patterns can also create moire in your photos (a visual effect caused by similar overlapping patterns that result in wavy or coloured stripes across your photos. Moire is particularly common with pinstriped suits). If you love wearing patterns, go for something subtle or stick to a pattern on only one person, with the rest of the family members in solid colours within the same colour palette. Lastly, steer well clear of clothing with large logos or graphics as this draws attention away from family members’ faces.

  1. Accessories are great but use sparingly

Accessories such as scarves, hats, headbands, statement jewellery and belts can add pops of colour, interest and texture and hence are great options to wear for your family photos. Accessories can also be used to reflect your personality. Just make sure you don’t overdo them and only wear accessories if they complement the overall colour palette and location. For example, ankle jewellery for a barefoot beach or boho photoshoot or a Fedora and boots for an outdoor setting.

  1. Use the season as your inspiration

Take cues from the season you’ll be doing your photoshoot to help guide your colour and clothing choices. Soft pastels and subtle florals for spring, vibrant and bold hues for summer (think hot pink, royal blue and emerald green), warm earthy tones for autumn like rust, terracotta and olive green, and blues and greens for winter can all enhance the seasonal beauty of your portraits.

6. Prioritise comfort

When deciding on what clothes to wear for your family photoshoot, ensure that everyone feels comfortable and confident in their chosen outfits. Avoid clothing that is too tight, restricts movement or is itchy, as this can all show in the photos. Opt for breathable fabrics like cotton dresses for girls, linen shirts for boys and breathable cotton tops for adults. Choose well-fitted clothes that allow for easy movement, especially for the kids who may want to run and play during the shoot.

7. Test it out!

Before the day of your photoshoot, do a trial run with your chosen outfits to see how they look together. Take some test shots in natural light to check the colours are flattering and harmonious together. Allow yourself plenty of time before the day of your shoot to do this.

What to wear for a photoshoot: popular options

Now you know what colours to wear for family photos and the do’s and don’t’s of choosing clothes, let’s look at five options of what to wear for a photoshoot. These options are great and easy to replicate for your family.


What to wear for a photoshoot

Neutrals are a popular option for family photos. Subtle pops of soft blues and browns can really complement the overall palette.


What to wear for a photoshoot

Vibrant and bold hues like royal blues and pops of pink are great options to wear for family photos.


What to wear for a photoshoot

Earthy tones like olive green paired with neutrals look beautiful for an autumn photoshoot.


What to wear for a photoshoot

Dressing your family in complementary colours for your photoshoot means everyone can express their individual style while looking beautifully cohesive.


Keep patterns subtle and to one person with the rest of the family members in solid colours within the same colour palette.


What to wear for a photoshoot

Consider your environment when choosing what to wear for your family photoshoot. Blues really pop against a dry field.


What to wear for a photoshoot

A beach photoshoot calls for barefoot and calm colours like soft blues and sandy neutrals.

Creating authentic family photos

Family portraits are very special to me. Each time I have the privilege of capturing a new family, seeing the love, connection and joy reinforces the reason I chose photography as my career. By thoughtfully selecting colour combinations and outfits, you can elevate the overall look and feel of your photos, making it a challenge to choose which ones to proudly display on your walls.

Still deciding what to wear for your family photos? The majority of my clients opt for colour in their portraits for good reason, and I strive to emphasise that vibrancy, creating family photos that are authentic and visually captivating.

If you’re still uncertain about which colours or outfits to choose, get in touch . I’m here to assist you every step of the way, from outfit planning to capturing those beautiful family moments through my lens.

The micro wedding: everything you need to know

The micro wedding: everything you need to know

Micro weddings. I’m sure you’ve heard of them, especially if you’re in the throws of wedding planning yourself. Micro weddings are gaining popularity as couples seek more intimate and meaningful ways to exchange vows and keep costs low at the same time. As the desire...

Corporate branding photography for service brands

Corporate branding photography for service brands

As a professional photographer with experience in corporate branding photography, I understand the vital role that high-quality imagery plays in establishing a strong brand and online presence. As a service-based professional, your website serves as your storefront,...