This is one of the most frequently asked questions I get, so I thought it would be helpful to do a whole blog post on it!

“What should we wear for our Family Portrait Session??”

 I’ve been there.  We are a family of 6, and I pick out everyone’s outfit for our family portrait sessions.  It hurts my brain.  BUT it makes all the difference in the final images when you’ve made good choices.

Here are some tips + visual examples to help make the most of your portrait session!

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#1. I always tell clients to wear something that they feel GREAT in!  (This doesn’t mean you get to wear your pajamas though, sorry.)  What I mean is, something that fits your style; an outfit you feel attractive and confident in.  It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it should make you feel good about yourself!

(If you don’t already have something you LOVE in your closet, this is a great excuse to go shopping!  Consider it an investment. 😉

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#2. It’s fairly easy to pick out one outfit.  But it gets difficult when you’re coordinating multiple people.  One simple and trendy option is going ALL neutral!  The neutral palette gives a soft feel to your images, allows the eye to focus on the person instead of the clothing, has a classic feel, and works with ANY location/backdrop.

Neutrals include: White, Brown, Denim, Khaki, Grey, Black, Navy, Beige

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#3. Your wardrobe may dictate whether or not you can pull off certain poses.  So if you want to be able to try some playful, active poses, you don’t want to wear a short dress or pants that are too tight. So think about how you envision your session going and then dress accordingly.

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If you love color too much to go completely neutral, I’ve got a few simple formulas to guide you…

#4. Pop of Color Method: Wear mostly neutrals with 2-3 pops of color mixed into the group’s outfits.

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#5. Inspiration Piece method:

Pick an inspiration outfit, or piece of an outfit; then pull colors from that inspiration for everyone else’s wardrobe.  One family member may wear a pattern, and everyone else wears a color from that pattern.

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#6. Try to keep patterns to a minimum.  If too many people are wearing too many patterns, instead of complimenting you, it will be a distraction.  The following two families did a great job at pairing a little bit of pattern with solid layers on top, to achieve a nice visual balance.

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#7.  If your outfits are feeling bland, think: Layers & Texture!  These two elements provide nice visual interest.  Keep these two words in mind when planning your outfits and scatter them into the group wardrobe to spice it up a little.

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#8. Consider your portrait session location.  If you know your setting will be a colorful one, then you’ll want to either pick colors that coordinate with the setting, or go with neutrals.  Clashing with your backdrop could really spoil the image.

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If your location will be a neutral one, then any colors will do!

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If you’re still feeling overwhelmed,

*You can find more examples of ideal wardrobe choices on my Valerie Joy Photography Pinterest page, here.

*And my clients are always welcome to text me phone pics of their wardrobe choices in preparation for their session, for my two cents.