Autism and Special Needs Family Photography
Leamington Spa, Warwickshire
Tel 07922 824786
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What to Wear for a Family Photoshoot in 10 Easy Steps

What to wear family photoshoot

This is a question that I get asked more than any other. Everybody wants to know, what to wear to their family photoshoot.

These photographs will be with you for a long time and may even be passed down to future generations, so it is really worth the effort to choose fantastic clothing and make these portraits something even more special. If you are like me, this may mean doing a bit of shopping, yeah, to find the perfect look.

So here are the best tips and advice for selecting your families outfits for the session.

Family portrait what to wear

What to wear tipsThink Co-ordinated not Matching

Long gone are the days of matching velour jogging suites. In fact having everyone’s outfit match completely is now very outdated. That said, it is still important to co-ordinate the styles and colours so that everyone in the family looks like they belong together. I recommend sticking to one basic colour palette and throwing in a few splashes of colour to add interest.

What to wear tips

Show off your Personality and Style

These are your portraits so they need to reflect your families personality and style. Are you more formal? Do you like lots of colour or something more neutral? Are bare feet and swishy skirts more to your liking. It is important to think about your overall style when designing the outfits for your family photoshoot.

What to wear tips

Think Long Term – These portraits may outlive you!

I have a family portrait from when I was a child, it is the only professional family portrait we had taken and it is still very precious for me (despite my awful hair style). It is important to remember that a great family portrait will stay with you for many years so it is best to avoid anything that is highly fashionable at the moment. Think classic when planning what you are going to wear. And choose clothing (and accessories) that will stand the test of time. When in doubt, go for classic.

Family portrait what to wear

What to wear tips

Prepare Ahead of Time

This is one of those times when preparation is essential. It is a bit stressful trying to get yourselves ready on the morning of your shoot so save yourself the stress and pre-plan the clothing. Lay out the outfits next to each other and see if they work as well as you had imagined. Allow time to shop, in case you decide to purchase additional items. Don’t assume the kids clothes will fit correctly (especially if they are new), get them to try them on a few days before the shoot. Hopefully with good planning, there will be less stress for you on the day.

What to wear tips

Plan for the Finished Product

If you (like me) want to display these gorgeous images on your walls, then you need to plan your colours well. Think about the colours you love as well as what will work in your home. Try to imagine the portrait hanging there and see what will work best. Don’t forget that some things will change over time so consider neutral clothing as well.


What to wear tips

Things To Avoid – Busy patterns, thin stripes and Disney characters

All of these can be quite distracting in portraits. We want the focus to go to your faces, your expressions and the connections you share, not to Peppa Pigs face on a child’s t-shirt. If your child loves Elsa and only wants that top, then bring it along (we can photograph her in it first and then switch to the better option for the family portraits). Some flowery prints can look lovely while others are distracting – if you are not sure, then I would recommend plain over patterns for the main clothing items (and maybe a flowery scarf).

What to wear tips

Don’t Forget the Accessories

Speaking of scarves… I would recommend that you bring along some fun accessories. Scarves, necklaces, hair clips, belts etc all add attractive details to your portraits. It is also a great way to provide more variety while still sticking to a simple overall style.


Family portrait what to wear

What to wear tips

Consider comfort – especially for kids!

It is hard to get happy, relaxed photos if someone is feeling really uncomfortable in their clothing. My sister loves skinny jeans on her little boy (and they do look totally adorable) but he gets frustrated if he can’t bend his legs to climb up onto the sofa. Try to get the best of both comfort and style when choosing what to wear for your family. I am sure they will thank you for it 🙂

What to wear tips

If possible, Bring TWO OUTFIT OPTIONS

If your main outfits are very neutral, then you might like to bring along a few more colourful tops to try. The same goes for families that have a lovely light look, they may choose to bring along a darker options. Even just bringing in an extra few tops can give you some great variety.


What to wear tips


These are definitely the magic words when it comes to choosing what to wear to your family photo session. As long as you keep these in mind when planning your outfits, you can’t go wrong!


Family portrait what to wear

I hope that these have helped you to feel confident choosing What to Wear to your family photography session! For more inspiration – click here!

If you haven’t booked yet, what are you waiting for? Contact me today and you will soon enjoy your own beautiful family portraits.


Hi and welcome to Carrie Els Photography

I specialise in photographing children and families affected by Autism and other Additional Needs. I am a SEN Mom myself and I love providing gorgeous portraits to the very special families.

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