What to wear for your family portrait session

Colors, Textures and Layers, Oh My!


Choose colors that coordinate, but don't get too matchy-matchy. You'll drive yourself batty trying to get everyone into the same shade of blue. And while we're at it, you might think it's safe to go for an all-white look, or an all black look. What you'll actually end up with is a lot of detail that is lost because the colors get clipped, and then you'll start to all look like one big white or black blob with heads and hands sticking out. It's best to go with at least a little bit of contrast.

Take a look at these color palettes. Notice how they are inspired by natural materials.



Different textures are a great way to add variety to your portrait if your color palette doesn't have a lot of contrast. Just like with colors, you don't want to try to get too many of the same texture. If your daughter has a cute faux fur vest, don't try to match with a pair of faux fur boots. Try to have one or two pieces of texture that stand out.

Quick tip for mom

Patterns, textures and layers can be a great way to conceal those - well, you know...

I see women often choose a loose fitting dress because they're self-conscious about their midsection, and then they're disappointed when they look shapeless in the portraits. Rather than choose a solid colored loose fitting dress, try a patterned shirt in a light fabric that falls loosely but close to the body. Or try a slim fitting dress and layer with a textured vest or long wrap scarf.


Use layers to break up otherwise monotonous colors or tones. Vests and scarves are great. Even layered jewelry can add visual interest without taking away from the main subjects.

Why does this combination work?

Putting it all together


Simple accessory that enhances without distracting


Patterned shirt for mom with a forgiving silhouette.


Dad's colors coordinate well with mom. The solid color adds to the overall palette without competing with mom's patterned shirt.


The kids colors are neutral so that there are not too many colors competing with each other. The daughter's vest will add some texture and can break up the monotone look of the butterfly shirt.

A couple more things

Use patterns sparingly. Patterns and prints should be on the bigger and bolder side. Maybe use one patterned accent piece in a scarf. Or if you do use a patterned top or dress, keep the color palette more neutral. Small detail patterns like fine plaids and fine stripes play funny tricks with the eyes on digital media. 

Pinterest can be a great source of inspiration for outfit coordination. It's not necessarily your friend when it comes to managing your own expectations about how you will look in your images. Sooooo many times, the most beautiful images on Pinterest are styled shoots. They're models, they have all the time in the time in the world to get the great shots, they're just not realistic. So cut yourself a break if you feel like your family is not Pinterest perfect. Your family is perfect for you, and that's what we're going to focus on capturing.

I'm excited about your session! Please feel free to send any questions my way!