extended family portrait in coordinated clothing


First and foremost, this guide is not intended to overwhelm you, but rather to assist you through the process of picking your outfit. The most important thing is for you to feel comfortable and happy with yourself and your photos!

Below we will go over a few basic tips that will help give you a good starting point for choosing your attire for upcoming family shoot. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all guide so take from this the things that will benefit you and your family, and throw out the rest.

While one person may be able to rock non-traditional choices, others may not, and that is perfectly okay. These tips are merely here to serve as a base foundation. Do what works best for you and what will make you the happiest.

textured blue dress on little girl


Textured clothing is an easy way to add visual interest and soul into your photos. Fabrics such as cable knit, wool, herringbone, lace, faux fur, tweed and chambray are all great at adding some jazz, spice and life into your flat images.

colors+tones for family portraits


  1. Color palettes do not have to be intimidating. An easy way to find a great color palette is to pull up a Pinterest or Google image search for the same scenery that you will be taking your photos in. Also start with a color or outfit that you love wearing and then find things in everyone else wardrobe to match.
  2. Add a splash of color and pattern with children’s outfits or adult’s accessories, such as a scarf. For a subtle depth in your portraits add a little dark-on-dark or light-on-light pattern or texture through layering. Layering clothing in general adds depth and dimension to your portrait. Layers can also allow you to move more naturally and look more comfortable.
  3. Avoid bold patterns or logos. For large groups, avoid mixing dark and light tops and bottoms. All of these can create a “cluttered” look.
  4. When having portraits taken outside, glasses can produce glare and reflections covering the eyes, which is hard to edit. Anti-reflective coating helps greatly to reduce the reflections, but just keep this in mind when wearing them in images. Transition lenses can be even trickier to work with if they tend to stay dark outdoors and make it so we can’t see your eyes. In the studio though, glasses are much easier to work with.
  5. Take this opportunity to dress up a little more than usual, or even a lot more than usual if you are looking for something even more elegant.
  6. Feel free to bring a second outfit for everyone, especially if it’s warm and humid outside.
  7. Think about the style of your home and what colors in a portrait might compliment the room you plan to hang up wall art.
  8. Plan ahead, especially for extended family portraits, so that you aren’t trying to decide what to wear on the morning of the shoot. Take a quick snapshot with your phone of your outfits to send to other family members involved so they have plenty of time to coordinate looks.

teal and coral family portrait style

beige and pink style family portraits


blue, white and camel color palette for family portrait

red and blue color scheme for family portrait

grey and berry styled family portrait session

white and navy styled family portrait session


By prop I don’t mean like a vintage suitcase that you’ll sometimes see, but instead something like a family quilt or blanket can add a lot of personality and character into your images. If your kiddos have a favorite toy they just can’t be apart from in this moment in life, don’t feel shy about bringing it along too. Just stay away from anything that is cheesy or doesn’t make sense why it would be there.

Add a finishing touch to your outfit and a pop of life into your photos. For example, a Fedora hat, a scarf, fun earrings, an interesting watch or belt. Just be sure that the accessories you choose don’t compete with one another.


A question asked time and time again is, “should I get my hair and makeup done?” This is a question that has no right or wrong answer. A benefit to having it professionally done is the ease of mind and confidence of knowing it will look great and photograph well. Plus if we are doing your family shoot in the studio, the studio lights can often washout some of the color in your face and a good professional can get you camera lighting ready but without straying away too much from your natural look.

Doing your own makeup or going without is totally fine too though!

Frizzy hair in Florida is just real life. If you know you are a person that frizz or strays are going to bother you in photos then it might be worth getting your hair done or at least putting it into an updo where a few strays might look like part of the look.


Looking to buy a new outfit or two for your upcoming photoshoot? Here are some of online sites to browse:


If you’ve read through this guide and still don’t quite understand this whole color palette thing, or just need help with an outfit choice, I am here to help. Feel free to email me anything in your wardrobe that you are thinking about and I’m happy to make recommendations based on the location and lighting!