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What to wear to your Family photo shoot

Updated: Nov 18, 2021

We know that getting the kids washed, dressed and out the door while avoiding any temper tantrums is an uphill battle. It's a struggle that you could do without on the day of your photoshoot. We aren't suggesting that your outfits need to be fit for the catwalk, just that a little thought and planning can go a long way...

The most important thing about the clothes you wear, is that they should represent who you are. It goes without saying that clothing and style is a very personal choice, the following suggestions aren't strict guidelines, just some theories you may want to consider. Remember, these portraits will be hanging on your wall for years to come so the aim is to make them as timeless as possible.

One and the same

Matching outfits can be a lot of fun. Be it jeans and t-shirts, onesies or even the strip of the football team you all support. Lots of families embrace matching outfits. The idea was very popular in the early naughties and still going strong today! To create a more subtle aesthetic, we would suggest coordinating rather than matching outfits.

What's the difference between coordinating and matching outfits?

As in the images above, matching outfits means everyone wears exactly the same clothes. For a softer, more subtle result, try coordinating your outfits instead.

It's nice to have everyone dressed differently so you all look like individuals. Why not try colour coordinating your family's outfits? This can be done in several different ways:

Complimentary colours - picking a small colour palette of complimentary colours for everyone's outfits e.g Yellows, Greens and Blues or Purples, Reds and Oranges. If you find it easier, think about warm and cool colour tones.

Family wearing coordinating outfits with warm tones by clifton photographic
The Cambell family have mixed warm tones of Red and Orange with hints of Yellow and Pink

Neutral colours - these earthy tones work beautifully in group images and create a very sophisticated finish.

Family wearing coordinating outfits with neutral tones by clifton photographic
The Power Family are keeping it neutral with soft tones of blue, cream and white

Monochrome - If all this colour is too much for you, why not keep it simple and opt for white, black and grey clothing for a formal and timeless look?

Family wearing coordinating outfits with monochrome tones by clifton photographic
The Thorpe Family look chic in Black & White

One staple colour - for a high impact look, select just one colour for your outfits. Choose this colour with your home decor in mind. If you decor is red, we would suggest selecting a Green shade to contrast or a Purple shade to compliment. Whatever your chosen colour, introduce it into some of the family member's outfits and keep the rest of the clothing neutral whites, greys or blacks to make the colour pop.

Family wearing coordinating red and grey outfits by clifton photographic
The Ngangula Family opted for a bold Red as their staple colour featuring in the dresses and the pocket square

Here are some more examples of great outfit coordination:

Things to try and avoid

From experience, we know there a few things that are best to avoid when selecting what to wear for your shoot.

Logos - We aim to create timeless images. that can be enjoyed for years to come. We've found that large logos on clothing make images date much more quickly. Although the brand may be all the rage at the moment, will it withstand the test of time?

Big Patterns - The risk with patterned clothing is that it can make your image look very busy and clashing patterns are very distracting to the eye. We suggest keeping patterns to a minimum. If you can, select patterns with a small, repeating design rather than large graphic design.

Be practical

An important thing to remember is to make sure everyone is comfortable in what they're wearing. Our photographic sessions can be very energetic (especially if there young children in the family) so make sure everyone is comfortable in their clothes and can move freely. This is particularly true for the younger members of the family. It will be a lot harder to capture a happy, smiley shot of a child if they're distracted by their uncomfortable jumper!

Don't stress

We have given you a lot of information but don't be overwhelmed, you can always give us a call if you're unsure about what to wear. For more inspiration on planning your shoot have a read of our Tips on styling your Family photo shoot blog.



We are the leading portrait studio in the southwest and we want to make a portrait that will warm your heart and fill you with joy

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