Reader Style: What to Wear for Family Photos

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how to dress for family pictures

Trying to figure out what to wear for family photos always seems like such a daunting task . . . you don’t want to look too matchy-matchy, but you don’t want to clash terribly either.  Most of the family pictures I have up in my house are in black and white because the colors just didn’t seem . . . quite . . . right.  Enter reader Kara and her gorgeous family.  She got it right.  Her daughters still got to wear a version of the hot pink that almost all girls want to wear allll the time, and her and her husband looked effortlessly cool in their casual style.  The family looks cohesive but their individual style also comes through.  Using her pics as inspiration, we put together an idea of how to recreate her style for your family photos.

The general formula for recreating Kara’s style:

1. Find a skirt that you LOVE in a print with lots of colors.

2. Add a basic t and a statement necklace.

3. Build outfits around the general color scheme of the skirt. (Don’t be afraid to mix patterns like stripes, polka dots or florals!)


For a Family with Girls

Stripes and florals are (almost) always a safe way to mix patterns.  Adding pops of color for the girls and you’ve got a great cohesive look.

For You

1. Teardrop Statement Necklace

2. Relaxed Knit Tee

3. Floral Print Midi Skirt

For Him

4. Modern Fit Short Sleeve Twill Shirt 

5. Straight Leg Jeans

For Girls

6. Sleeveless Swing Top 

7. Denim Bermuda Shorts

8. Girls Cardigan

9. Stripe Cross-Back Dress

little girls style


For a Family with Boys

In general, boys may be less likely to want to wear bright colors.  In this case, you get to wear the statement skirt, drawing on the more subdued, neutral colors for the boys.  Varying lengths of sleeves and pants keeps it interesting.

For You

1. Rose Quartz Necklace

2. Scoop Tee

3. Cutout Pencil Skirt

For Him

4. Surf Wash Sweater

5. Slim Fit Chino Pants

For the Boys

6. Linen-Blend Shirt

7. Plain-Front Shorts

8. Linen-Blend Short-Sleeve Shirt

9. Light Wash Jeans

For a Family with Both

I was drawn to this skirt the second I saw it!  Love the red for a bright pop of color and the neutrals complement each other well.  In this case I left out a statement necklace, thinking red lips would be a great statement instead!

For You

1. Essential Tee

2. Greenhouse Grandeur Skirt

For Him

3. Cotton Cardigan over Striped V-neck Tee

4. Chino Pants

For Girl

5. Handkerchief Hem Dress

6. Denim Jacket

For Boy

7. Linen-Blend Shirt

8. Belted Cargo Shorts


S0 there’s our tip for making your next family photos the best ever, thanks to Kara and her family.  OR . . . you could always go for the Canadian tuxedo pileup:


(I mean . . . it’s a tough choice, right??)

Soooo . . . unless this is your idea of the perfect family picture (and hey, it just might be . . . you do your thing), Kara’s style will hopefully make getting your next family photos a little easier!



PS – Shana, I’m kind of dying to recreate some of these awkward family photos this summer!!

PPS – UPDATE: For those of you asking about Kara’s skirt, it was hidden in the SALE section – awesome! 🙂



About Author

Meet Scotti, the contributor with our most-loved beauty advice. When Scotti's not giving us the scoop on the latest products and techniques she's dishing out some of TME's most loved looks. It's not easy to look so cute in the U.P. of Michigan (i.e. crazy cold and snow) but she always makes it happen.

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  1. I was going to ask about boys too! We have a 6 and 8 year old and haven’t done a family picture since my youngest was 9 months old! This advice is sorely needed!

    • I like patterned shirts for boys. We get family pictures taken every year (I have a photography business and my business partner and I take turns taking each other’s family pics), and I always try to find something for myself first and then plan everyone else’s outfit around that. I tend to like solids with a patterned scarf or fun necklace, and then I put my daughter in a patterned dress, and my husband and son wear coordinating colors–typically pulled from my daughter’s dress. I also love layers! My son might wear a plaid shirt with a puffy vest with jeans or an unbuttoned patterned button-down shirt over a t-shirt with khakis or jeans. I don’t like matchy-matchy at all–with the exception Scotti posted above, of course! I hope this helps!

      • Yes! This ^^ If you have a dress (or shirt, scarf, cardigan, etc) you adore choose the other outfits around it. it takes some of the stress off and you’ll be sure to get pictures of what you love.

    • Rachel Starr on

      In the past, I’ve put my son in a colorful Polo collared shirt and jeans with some cool shoes (think Converse or bright Sauconys). H&M is great for this kind of cool, stylish kids clothes. H&M is also inexpensive so you’re not spending a fortune for a one off special outfit.

      • Converse always, Rachel! 🙂

        I really enjoy dressing my kiddos for family photos – boys and girls! Here are two combos we’ve used in the past that looked fantastic in the photos.

        Dad- white shirt, khaki pants (outdoor photos, all boys’ shirts untucked, of course)
        Mom- white sundress, MASSIVE turquoise beads
        Son1- navy polo, khaki shorts
        Son2- navy gingham button down, khaki shorts
        Daughter1- turquoise gingham dress
        Daughter2- turquoise bubble dress(infant)

        Dad- navy gingham shirt, khakis
        Mom- navy maxi
        Son1- white shirt, khakis
        Son2- white shirt, funky blue tie (loose, top button undone), khaki shorts
        Daughter1- white sundress
        Daughter2- white sundress
        The girls’ dresses were both white eyelet but didn’t match and the three younger kids all wore navy Converse. So. Stinkin. Cute.

        Related colors and styles, yes to print and, uh, apparently we wear a lot of blue – lol.

  2. As a child and family photographer I always tell people to think about layers (if it’s not 1000*) bc they add visual interest and try to avoid small stripes like the listed dress. They confuse the camera and look wonky in photographs. And I know neons are popular right now but please please avoid them! They throw horrible color casts and are a pain to edit!

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