top of page

What to Wear for Family Portraits

As we reflect on all our memories, it’s hard to recall ones that don’t include our families. There’s something special about looking back on family portraits over the years past. Family portraits are a moment saved in time that will be cherished forever so when it comes to what to wear for family picture day make sure you plan ahead. Whether you are taking family photos for your annual Christmas card or looking to get an updated shot to hang above the mantle, you’ll want you and your family to look your best doing so.

Family session of 4 at Park Lake Provincial park in Southern Alberta.

There are many aspects to keep in mind when deciding what to wear for your family photos. Coordinating outfits for family portraits don’t need to be difficult. You can never go wrong with selecting a few focal colors and textured clothing items, as well as considering the season. Focus on accomplishing a cohesive look and dressing in outfits that will allow your photos to take on a timeless feel.  Of course, the most important part of your family portrait is to document the love that your family shares. We’re here to help you with the rest. These family photo outfit ideas below will allow you to get a one-of-a-kind portrait that has a close-knit family feel.

Family Photo Outfit Ideas

Allow your family to be the captivating focal point of your shots during any season with these family photo outfit do’s and don’ts. Consider these coordinating outfit ideas when choosing family photo outfit ideas:

  1. Plan your outfits. The more time you allow yourself to plan your outfits, the less stressed you’ll be. Plus, it never hurts to have options especially when you’re dressing your kids. 

  2. Choose coordinating colors, not matching. Start with colors that coordinate well. You can accomplish a cohesive look without every family member wearing the same outfit. That can seem a little too matchy-matchy these days. By selecting a color scheme and using hues that complement each other, you can achieve a more natural look across the board. Pick two main colors and then add softer tones to accent and complete your color scheme.

  3. Consider your home décor. You’ll want to consider your home décor style when picking out what to wear in family photos. Since a few of these photos will most likely be hanging in your home and on display for a long time, make sure that the clothing you select blends in seamlessly with the color scheme of your home.

  4. Keep location in mind. Another helpful item to consider when trying to decide what to wear in your family photos is the location of your photoshoot. Are you going to be on the beach where there are plenty of neutral tones or under a tree surrounded by bright fall foliage? Select a color palette for your outfits that will complement the setting. Pick out items of clothing in colors that will complement your background and not compete with it.

  5. Use the season to help select color schemes for your outfits. Each season is associated with different colors, weather, and landscapes which will be an important item to consider when picking out what everyone will be wearing.

  6. Choose practical clothing items. This is an important item to keep in mind for every family member, especially when you are thinking about what to dress your little ones in. If your kids are not comfortable then you are going to be in for a long photoshoot. Don’t make it more difficult for yourself or your photographer to get the perfect shot. Make sure that everyone is comfortable with their clothing to ensure all smiles.

  7. Pick out accessories to add texture to your photos. Accessories are great style pieces that add to your outfits and can even tie family members’ outfits together. For example, if Dad is wearing a red and black plaid coat then adding a plaid hat to your daughter’s outfit will tie the pattern in for a more cohesive feel. Accessories will also give your photos variation. Think scarves, hats, gloves, and belts.

  8. Select an outfit that is appropriate year-round. One of the more popular times for families to take their portraits seems to be around the holidays (when the kids are home from school and everyone is in the same place). The holidays may seem like the perfect excuse to bring out the Santa hats and incorporate props into your family portraits. However, you’ll want these photos to be displayed all year round. Try to avoid purely seasonal accessories and items.

  9. Limit distracting patterns and large logos. Including articles of clothing with multiple patterns or large logos can become a distraction. Strong prints and abstract patterns can overpower your photo. Avoid items that clash and stick to one pattern or textural element for your portrait session.

  10. Lay each family member’s outfit together while planning so you can get a good idea about how the pieces will look next to each other. This will allow you a better idea of what works and what doesn’t. Plus, this way, you can make sure that you’re not missing any essential clothing items.

  11. Select outfits that will make for a timeless portrait. If all else fails, when you look in your closet to find the perfect family portrait outfits think about staying classic. You’ll want your photos to be timeless. Styles come and go but, your photos are forever.

  12. Have fun playing stylist and let your family’s personality shine. 

Fall Family Picture Outfit Ideas

There are recognizable markers that trigger the “fall feeling” in each of us. With the weather cooling down, the leaves changing, and a trip to the pumpkin patch soon, fall is full of inspiration you can use for your outfit choices. If you are taking your family portraits during the fall season, incorporate seasonal earth tones, rich maroons, or burnt oranges. Wear layers and have fun playing in the leaves. Use the following Fall color arrangements and styling tips to guide your clothing selections.

Fall Color Schemes and Styling Tips for Fall

Denim and TanTip: Fall outfits are all about the layers! Plus, wearing layers makes for a quick outfit change too.

Brown and MaroonTip: Take advantage of the colorful fall leaves and let them inspire your outfit choices.

Denim, Yellow, CrimsonTip: Use fall accessories to add texture to your photos. Think big scarves and stylish boots.

Navy, Tan, CreamTip: Plaid shirts are a popular clothing selection for fall family photos. Think about dressing a few of your members in this season-appropriate pattern.

Family session of 4 at Indian Battle Park, in Lethbridge, alberta
Family session of 4 in the winter at Nicholas Sheran Park, Lethbridge, Alberta

Winter Family Photo Outfit Ideas


With everyone home for the holidays, the winter season is one of the most popular times of the year for family portraits. Many aspects of the winter season are sure to spark outfit ideas. Classic red and green holiday colors and plaid patterns are a few of these style trends that are perfect for your photos. The holiday season is all about the flannels, the furry scarves, and the cable-knit sweaters. Get ready to bundle up and design a cohesive family style that will make everyone confident in their look.


Holiday Color Schemes and Styling Tips for The Holidays

Navy and CrimsonTip: The cooler weather of the winter season allows for some great accessories for your family photos. Think scarves, beanies, and coats!

Glitter and WhiteTip: Sweaters are very appealing clothing options for holiday family photos. Have the boys wear collared shirts with a sweater over them while the girls wear matching cable knits.

Crimson, Tan, DenimTip: For a cute holiday twist wear matching pajamas in some of the shots.

Red, Grey, BlackTip: Add a pop of color to your outfit with bright red lipstick perfect for the holidays.

Spring Family Photo Outfit Ideas

Spring is the perfect time to take your photo idea outdoors. Choose from beautiful pastel colors that are more prominent in the springtime, along with white and blue hues. Other trendy springtime outfit ideas include floral patterns, which can be incorporated throughout accessories or clothing items. Dresses and skirts are also popular for spring family photos. These springtime trends paired with simple basics will give your family photos a polished and fresh look.

Spring Color Schemes and Styling Tips for Spring

Blush and Teal Tip: A great pattern for springtime is floral. Select statement pieces featuring your favorite florals.

Blush and WhiteTip: Cheerful hues will make your springtime family portraits pop.

Light Blue, Tan, WhiteTip: Bows in the little one's hair are the perfect springtime accessory and a great way to get their hair out of their eyes.

Navy, Yellow, WhiteTip: If you're taking family portraits in the warmer months take advantage of the weather and pick out skirts as well as dresses.

Family Session of 5 in the spring at Nicholas Sheran Park in Lethbridge, Alberta
Maternity session at golden hour at Indian Battle Park in Lethbridge, alberta

Summer Family Photo Outfit Ideas

A summertime family photoshoot offers beautiful landscapes for your photos and warmer weather. The season reflects a laid-back vibe that can be mirrored throughout your family’s outfit selections. Take advantage of light cotton, pretty sheers, and denim, and slip into your sandals for a casual look. If your family is taking a summer vacation, use this time to take your family portraits. No matter where you may be during summertime, you can take advantage of the following summer color arrangements and styling tips to guide your selections.


Summer Color Schemes and Styling Tips for Summer

Tan and WhiteTip: Select more cheerful colors for your summertime portraits.

Orange and TealTip: Take advantage of light cotton, pretty sheers, and lace. Light and breezy outfits are also great for the summer heat.

Light Blue, Tan, WhiteTip: Gingham patterns for the boys and summer dresses for the girls.

Blue, Green, YellowTip: Don't feel the need to be too formal during your summer photo session.


Try slipping on your sandals and frolicking on the beach. You're sure to get some candid shots!

Now that you’ve got plenty of styling tips and tricks up your sleeve, choosing outfits for your family photoshoot should be a breeze. Each time you glance at your family portraits, you’ll be happy to relive that moment in time for years to come. 

bottom of page