Family Photos: What to Wear

Generational family portrait photographed in West St Paul by photographer Block Portrait Studios


Outfit Planning for your Family Photos

Family photo day is coming up, and you have no idea what to wear. Sound familiar? Worry not, for we have compiled a comprehensive guide to what to wear for family photos! We’ve got you covered whether you are the parents or the children! We’ve included plenty of tips in this post to help you look your best in front of the camera.

picture of family embrace in Saint Paul by Block Portrait Studios

Family Photo Outfit Tips for the Group

  • When being photographed as a group, it is helpful to avoid loud plaids and stripes or large patterns that detract from the faces of the subjects.
  • As a general rule of thumb, it is best to dress in light, solid colors.
  • Dark clothing can be very slimming, but it can also be quite harsh on camera. If you must wear dark clothing, consider adding a pop of color with a scarf or tie.
  • It’s helpful to dress everyone in a similar TONE rather than all in the same color.
  • Keep everyone in light tones or everyone in darker tones for the best harmony
  • Harmonious solids keep the emphasis on faces
  • Mixing light and dark can distract from faces
  • Suitecoats over white shirts are less distracting than plain, white shirts shot on a darker background.
Picture of fun family photo shoot in Saint Paul studio by Block Portrait Studios

Outfit Tips for Women

  • Make sure that you feel confident in what you are wearing. Don’t experiment with a new hairstyle on picture day; go with what you know works for you. Confident = Photogenic!
  • Wear clothing that fits–not too tight and not too baggy (which makes you look heavier)
  • Pro tip: The more skin you show, the heavier you tend to appear.
  • If you don’t want to show your arms, consider 3/4 length sleeves, which are flattering on most bodies.
  • A V-neck top is always a good choice, as it lengthens the neck and flatters the chest.
  • A killer pair of heels will lengthen your legs!
Casual family picture in Minneapolis by Block Portrait Studios

Dads, Uncles, and Grandpas - This One's for You!

  • A sport coat over a button-down gives structure to your body and hides extra pounds.
  • Consider a sweater if you don’t want to wear a sports coat.
  • Ties add interest to your look and can be used to introduce color.
  • Wearing a tie with stripes or patterns can be very slimming.
  • Dark jeans or trousers are always a good choice for men.

Dressing your Kiddos for Family Photos

  • For children, comfortable clothing is the key to success! Choose clothing that isn’t too constricting and that allows them to move around freely!
  • Plan layered looks, which will give us options during the shoot.
  • Personally is a key with kids. Let them be who they are – girlie, preppy, sporty, etc.
  • Accessories are your friend! Hats, glasses, necklaces, etc., can help personalize a child’s look. Check out some of our favorite kid’s accessories here.
Cute little girl posing in Saint Paul Studio by Block Portrait Studios

The Dos and The Don'ts

This is probably known, but your family’s faces should be the first thing you notice. But sometimes, clothing can compete for the viewer’s attention. Clothing that simplifies a group portrait is usually made up of lighter or darker tones, not a mix of the two. A common mistake is mixing dark tops with light bottoms, or visa-versa, which creates a high contrast, “busy” scene, which is incredibly distracting with bigger groups.

When planning your outfit(s), take pictures of yourself and your family in the clothing you are considering; this will help you see how the outfits look on camera and also help you narrow down your choices.

Picture of extended family in the Twin Cities by Block Portrait Studios

One of the many things that are unique about working with Block Portrait Studios, is that you can send those snapshots to us, and we’ll give you recommendations and feedback to help narrow your choices even further! As a full-service studio, we do more than take photos; we help you through the entire process from start to finish.

So there you have it! Our comprehensive guide to what to wear for family photos. We hope that you found these tips helpful and that you are now feeling more confident about what to wear on family picture day!

So there you have it!

We hope that you found these tips helpful and that you are now feeling more confident about what to wear on family picture day! Our comprehensive guide to what to wear for family photos. 

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