How to Style Your Family for Photos | Wilmington Family Photographer

One of the things I get the most questions about as a photographer is what everyone should wear! I get it; it’s hard enough getting yourself ready never mind an entire family and making sure it all goes well together. This is why I started offering both a closet collection and style consulting as a part of my regular portrait offerings. I completely understand that when you invest in professional photos, you want to make sure you LOVE the end result! So I have put together this guide all about what to consider when styling your family for your next photo session together!

1. Consider your session location and the time of year.

What will the overall aesthetic of your session be?

You will want to make sure what you are wearing is cohesive with the background of your session location. For example, if you plan to use an open field (especially in the springtime) you may want to avoid colors like green and yellow. It will create an image that is monochromatic and it may be overwhelming. Instead, think of complementary colors to wherever it is you may be shooting. This is one of the reasons I adore using the beach for sessions — it is so neutral and you can wear just about any color without worrying about it looking “off!”

Notice how in the photo below, the neutral and cool tones are the perfect contrast to the green/yellow foliage in the background.

Dress for the weather

Of course, you also want to dress appropriately for the temperature. If you are too hot or too cold it will certainly appear in your photos! Consider fabrics and colors that will hide sweat stains well if you’re taking photos in the warmer months and fabrics that will keep you warmer without looking too bulky in the colder months!

2. Start with a favorite statement piece or item.

First, start out by deciding on an item you DEFINITELY want to wear (or want someone to wear). A lot of times, this can be a dress for mama. You are so important and we want you to feel like the beautiful goddess you are!

Long, flowy dresses!

If you are comfortable in a long dress, it is one of my favorite outfits to photograph. They are super flattering and add lots of dimension and movement to the photographs- especially outside in the breeze! I also HIGHLY recommend long dresses for maternity sessions. You will want to have a dress you feel beautiful like the glowing mama you are, that also accentuates the bump! Long dresses will also hide those sometimes inevitably swollen feet + ankles.  🙂

I also suggest a high-quality material that isn’t too tight or sheer. Some dresses that are tight don’t tend to photograph well because they become more see-through as they stretch over the body and accentuate areas that you may not end up loving in images.

Highlight a Favorite Outfit For Your Little

However, this could absolutely be a favorite item for your little one too! For example, I knew I wanted to use this adorable cable knit sweater in our session for Sylas in the photo below. I loved the warm color and texture, especially on the beach!

Avoid Super Bright Colors

Sometimes, very loud blues, magentas, reds, or greens can reflect that color onto your skin tone. You can absolutely feel free to express yourself if you are a lover of bold colors! But keeping your garments slightly more subtle will help keep your skin looking as true to color as possible.

From there, you can plan the rest of the color palette/textures for the remaining family members around this statement item.


3. Once you have a statement piece, add your neutrals from there.

Try not to get too matchy

I always tell my families and couples to focus on colors that work well together without matching completely! Having too much of the same color doesn’t photograph very well. Aim for neutrals and subtle prints!  You might also want to add some varieties of texture in there too. For example, dad can wear a heathered shirt or a subtle print, mom can wear a linen dress, the little one can wear cable knit or cotton. I would recommend no more than one or two people wearing a pattern depending on how large your family is!

Consider your home decor

As crazy as it sounds, it may also be helpful to think about the style of your home. If you plan to put your images on your walls (which I hope you do!) then you’ll want to make sure the color palette you choose will also go well with the aesthetic of your home. Here are some of my favorite color combos and textures that look amazing in photographs:






4. Maybe add some fun accessories!

Flattering hats, big earrings, or statement necklaces are a fun way to add a little more dimension to your photos! They just add that extra little touch for a put-together outfit, and they look especially nice with a long flowy dress. You may not consider yourself someone to wear a lot of accessories, but it is always worth a try for the sake of your images! You can always do some photos with and some without. 🙂

BONUS: Shop some of my favorite neutral pieces for baby boy and baby girl below!

3 piece cotton set – $24.99

Linen Dress – $29.99


Striped Cotton Dress – $9.99


Rib Knit Sweater – $24.99

Stretch Twill Pants – $9.99

Knit Set – $23.99


Waffle Knit Set – $15.99


I hope this helped you feel a little less stressed and a little more excited about planning outfits for your next photo session!

Ready to add some updated artwork of your family to your walls? Click here to reach out about booking a session with me soon. I’m so excited to see what you arrive dressed in that best fits you in your family!

xo Chelsea


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