Shows a family dressed for their photos session

What Are the Best Colors for Family Pictures Outside? My Top 10 List for What to Wear!

Choosing your family’s wardrobe for pictures can either be SUPER fun or a bit stressful.  And, yes, I know—for many of us, it may have been the latter for previous sessions or you may just be worried if this is your first. The best colors for family pictures outside are the ones that show YOU off the best, and by that I mean your faces, your beautiful smiles, and your connection!

But with a little bit of guidance, I hope you can enjoy the process of choosing a beautiful wardrobe for your amazing session!

1)  Begin with a gorgeous color palette. 

For my signature style, it is all about lights, pastels, and creams.  So much of what you wear in your session determines the colors you will see in your photos.  (The other piece, of course, is the gorgeous locations I’ll take you!) I recommend solids and subtle patterns.

2) Embrace the season. 

If it’s chilly autumn or cool spring, plan for light outer layers like gauzy cardigans and linen jackets to keep everyone comfortable.  Summer?  Let your skin show for sure!  In winter, be sure to use layers underneath (nice to see you again, long undies and tights) and on top, choose  hats, coats, and boots that match your family’s wardrobe palette.

3) Choose an anchor piece. 

For many families, there is a clothes horse or fashionista.  Choose that item first and then create a palette that will complement the whole family!  For example, if one parent wears a blush dress, then the other parent will look fabulous in a cream button-down and khakis.  Kids?  A blush and cream print skirt will pair beautifully with a cream top; have another kiddo wear cream pants and a tan top.  Some of my favorite shops for dresses are Jessakaye and Baltic Born.  Absolutely gorgeous.

4) Coordinate, don’t match.

You will look more natural and (ironically) more cohesive if you coordinate your wardrobe around a color palette, rather than go matchy-matchy.  Another gorgeous color palette idea: light blue toile maxi dress, light blue button-down and cream pants, soft orange dress, and cream shirt with khakis.

5) Choose fabrics with movement.

I’m all about long dresses and skirts if you feel comfortable in them. All of that fabric makes for gorgeous movement whether you are running or letting the wind take the skirt a bit.  If pants are more your style, find an element that does move like a linen shirt or flowy top.

6) Texture looks amaaazing in photos.

As you choose your wardrobe, think about adding texture through your clothing choices.  Some of my absolute favorite ways to add texture are lace, linen, eye-lit, and embroidery, Cuban shirts, gathers, tucks, smocking, and eye-lit, puff sleeves, and soft layers like cardis.

7) Don’t forget the shoe color and style!

Stay within your palette for your family’s shoe choices.  The lighter, the better.  Tans, light brown, blush, light blue, and cream are gorgeous choices.  Steer clear of flip flops, sneakers, and Crocs, among others. Stay away from dark colors, wild patterns, and black or white.  If we’ll be in a field, high heels may sink; plus, I want you to be able to move and have fun with your family, and heels aren’t always the best bet.  Pro tip: if you DO want heels, choose a chunky heel that won’t sink *and* a pair of shoes for walking to our location. Regardless, choose a light neutral that matches your color palette. Or, hey, even bare feet if the weather allows!

8) Add meaningful details!

Choose a stunner of a ring or bracelet that has special meaning for you.  Add a big ol’ belt buckle to a masculine ensemble.  Suspenders or sun hats are super cute for kiddos.  Be sure to let me know if there is something in particular you want to be sure we capture in your photos!


9) And now, a few words on what to avoid.

There are a few things. Okay, here’s the short list. Baseball caps (they shade half of your face and hide your eyes). Transition lenses (again, it’s all about the eyes! If it gets bright, we are going to lose them.). White whites (they actually photograph blue, so cream is a better choice in most cases!). Stripes and plaids. Neon anything. Dirty nails and chipped polish (yep, my camera will capture every detail).  You don’t have to have an appointment at the salon; just do a quick clean up and file. If you wear polish, neutral and light or clear is best.

10) Try them on ahead of time and put them aside for your big day! 

The biggest component is your comfort.  Do they fit?  Are they clean?  Are they ironed or steamed?  New clothing is notorious for wrinkles and oddly pressed spots (that line down the arm of your new sweater is a dead giveaway that it’s new!).  Once everyone has tried on their outfits, and you KNOW this is what you will wear, store everyone’s wardrobe together by family member where they will stay clean and wrinkle-free.  Don’t forget to add shoes and accessories, so you can just grab everything and go!  It would be a great idea to stash a brush and an extra lipstick as well with your bundle!

Most of all, I really hope you will embrace and enjoy choosing your wardrobe as part of the process!

Put a bit of fun and excitement into it, and you will look and feel amazing for your session!  And please let me know how I can help!