What to wear for your family portrait session in 5 easy steps

You have decided it's time to have family portraits taken. You've picked your photographer, set up the scheduled shoot...and now you find yourself wondering, "What should we wear?"

It's one of the top questions we get asked when we work with families. As a mom, I (Melaina) recognize it can seem daunting to pick out coordinating outfits for every member of the family. Whether buying all new outfits for everyone, or staring into open closets and full laundry baskets wondering what everyone is going to wear, coordinating multiple people without going the route of "Everyone wears a white shirt!" can be intimidating.

And the excitement and hopeful expectation of fun for the family portrait quickly dissolves into stress.

Let's not let that happen!

So, I wanted to share my advice of how to EASILY pick coordinating outfits for every member of the family and look AMAZING at your portrait session. (All those years working in retail and studying design in theater are finally paying off for me.)


Coordinating outfits for a family portrait session in 5 easy steps- 

1. Start with the most difficult-to-dress member of the family. (We all have one). Pick his/her outfit. (Exception to step #1 would be if a member of the family has a particular outfit he/she must wear for the shoot. Then start there.)

2. Determine the dominate color of first outfit.

3. Pick a complimentary/coordinating color to go with first color.

4. Pick a darker neutral color AND a lighter neutral color.

5. Now take your four color palette, and pick everyone else's outfit based off this palette. Note: not everyone has to wear all four colors, but everyone will coordinate if they all wear 2-3 of the colors in the palette.


Real life example using our family- 

1. I started with Jason because he only had a few shirts he wanted to wear for our shoot. We settled on his favorite forest green button-down and jeans.

2. The first color for our palette was now darker green.

3. His shirt actually had a tiny line of blue running through the pattern, and I happened to have a fun blue and green scarf I wanted to wear, so I picked blue as our second color of our palette.

4. Our girls had just received new black boots I knew they'd want to wear, so black became our darker neutral, and then I settled on cream white for our lighter neutral.

5. We now had a four color palette consisting of dark green, blue, black and cream. From that, I pulled together these outfits from our closets and we ended up looking like this.

Photo credit:  Powley Photo

Photo credit: Powley Photo

Boom, coordinated!

So no need to fret over what everyone should wear. Simply follow these 5 easy steps and your family will look great for your portraits...well, if everyone smiles and no one has a meltdown that is. (Speaking from experience.)