What To Wear in Family Photos? Three Solid Strategies For Dressing Everyone


If there’s one question we field the most….it’s family photo outfit ideas.  So we came up with a few fun strategies for your next photoshoot (sounds so glam when we call it that, right?).

But at the heart of each idea?  Mamas, dress yourself first.  It turns out that if Mama ain’t happy….nobody’s ever gonna see that photo again.

Here’s what we’re thinking:

Got it? Ok, now let’s talk about it….

Try Some Mixed Prints

Master-level print mixing gives your photos some color and movement, and are a far cry from the Perfectly Matched Outfits that plague so many family photos.  When everyone is in jeans and solid tops (even if the tops are different colors), the look is sometimes a little contrived.  Pulling in a few well-chosen patterns gives the photo a modern, effortless vibe.  Keep the look cohesive by choosing different patterns that have colors in common (in the example below, it’s dark red, navy blue, and white).

Mama, let’s start with you:  put on your favorite jeans (the sexy ones with a good bum), find an interesting sweater that drapes well, and wear statement shoes.  The look is chic, and just timeless enough.  (NOTE:  You can also wear a solid color sweater – just stick your partner in a pattern.)

For the kids, let them wear some cute sneaks, and do a mixed prints classic: stripes and floral (or in our case, stripes and butterfly).  It’s an easy and effortless win.

For your partner?  Stick ’em in in jeans and either a solid or a really small patterned shirt.  As long as the colors in the shirt echo whatever else you’ve got going on, and the pattern is tiny enough, it’ll work.

what to wear in family photos

on the mom: sweater | jeans | flats 

on the daughter: dress | shoes

on the son: t-shirt | pants | shoes

on the father: shirt | jeans | shoes

Just Make Your Outerwear Game Strong

There are very few things as flattering as a well-fitting jacket or coat, and this is one area you can buy seriously drool-worthy kids’ pieces without breaking the bank (thank you, H&M).  Add a few pops of color via accessories (hats, scarves, sneakers, mittens), and you have not only a winning family photo, but the whole fam is now outfitted for city excursions.  (And those chic kid jackets will come in handy during the holidays, too.)

what to wear in family photos outside

on the mom: jacket | scarf | jeans | shoes

on the daughter: sweater | skirt | hat shoes

on the son: jacket jeans | hat shoes 

on the father: jacket | shirt | jeans | shoes

Get Allllll Dressed Up

Speaking of glam, why not go all out?  I’ve noticed, over the years,  that some of my very favorite family photos have been taken at someone else’s wedding.  We’re alllll dressed up, my hair looks good, makeup is on point, and there’s something really fun about looking fancy.  Even my boys – despite their initial complaints – tend to strut a little bit more in a suit.

I especially love this idea for a beach photoshoot, but it would work equally well in the city.  Picture photos of the family getting in/out of a cab….SWOON.

what to wear in family photos on the beachon the mom: dress heels

on the daughter: shirt | skirt (alternative here) | flats

on the son: blazer shirt | tie | pants | shoes

on the father: blazer | shirt | tie | pantsshoes 





  1. I love the idea about making outerwear strong! It seems so much easier somehow than coming up with dress clothes for my ‘only athletic clothes- wearing’ son.

    • Right??? I always get lost when trying to pull together all-family cohesive outfits. It’s like there are too many moving parts. Outerwear? Now THAT my brain can handle.

  2. I let the teenage girl pick her outfit first (then I build the rest of us around that). She is a tomboy who typically lives in sweats and t-shirts- and has zero interest in clothes or dressing up- so I need her to find something she’s happy and comfortable with, then I pick the rest of the family’s outfits around that color/colors.

  3. Love the outerwear look for pictures! Two years ago, I used that idea for my Christmas cards. Every year on Black Friday, we take Septa’s Santa Express into town for the day, and I try to get a good picture of the kiddos with all of the Holiday decorations in town. Using the girls’ coats as the anchor for the picture was super easy and super practical! It may happen again this year, as I’m loving the coats I got this year, too. And at Target, no less!!!

      • Thank you, chick! And No. Those were Rothschilds coats from a few years ago, but I absolutely adore them. That was one of my favorite pictures of all time and so easy to coordinate everything without being too matchy-matchy! I’ll keep you posted on this years picture!

  4. Thanks for the tips! Family photo outfits stress me out every year. I think we’re going fully dressed up this year. Quick question:what shoes to wear with my cream crop sweater and metallic pleated skirt? We live in the Seattle area so it’ll definitely be chilly but hopefully not wet and rainy when we do our photo session. Thanks!

    • I think you’d be safe with either taupe or metallic or blush shoes…..or even black, as long as they are either sleek (like a black sock boot) or minimal (like a bare, strappy black sandal). Chunky will get you into trouble.

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