What to Wear for your Couple's or Family Portraits

November 04, 2021

What to Wear for your Couple’s or Family Portraits


Alrighty then, it’s almost picture time! You’ve picked your portrait session date; we’ve talked about the schedule, where to meet, and brainstormed photo concepts. There’s a lot going on, and I’m sure you’re thinking, “I’m excited, a little nervous, and OMG, WHAT DO I WEAR FOR MY PORTRAITS!?!??!”

As we reflect on all our memories, it’s hard to recall ones that doesn’t include our families or our parents together. There’s something special about looking back on family portraits over the years past. Family & Couples photos are a moment saved in time that will be cherished forever. So, when it comes to what to wear for picture day make sure you plan ahead.

I know your portraits are important to you, and I aim to make your session as seamless and carefree as possible. To help, I’ve built a quick guide for what to wear, so you can look and feel your best for your couples or family portraits.


What to wear for a family sessionPeter & Julia with ClarkFamily Portrait of Burn's Family what to wear for a family portrait session.

Coordinate colors or color tones

The colors in your and your family’s and/or partner’s outfits can really pull a portrait session together. You want to coordinate; not exactly match. Though it may sound adorable to buy matching outfits for your portrait session, these can end up looking a little quirky in the photos. Instead, try to choose colors that complement each other, like light blue and soft pink, or colors in the same family, like two shades of blue. If there’s an outfit that you really want to wear, be sure to communicate that with your family and/or partner so they can choose the right coordinating look, and vice versa. You can try the outfits on together or lay them out beside each other to see if they look good together.

Keep it simple with little to no patterns What a good HusbandTheresa & Barry Family Portrait What to WearWhen everything is a plaid go with it It can be fun.

The best way to save some headaches when planning portrait session outfits with your partner and/or family is to avoid any bold patterns or prints. Stick to solid colors and basics as best you can; if you want to make up for the simplicity elsewhere, you can add some accessories. Plaids and other subtle patterns can work for one of you, but the other person should wear a solid color or go with plaid everywhere. The best way to get away with a bold print is to wear a dress! This can make things a bit easier in Spring photos, when many dresses feature floral prints and bright colors. A similar or the same floral dress on the females in the family paired with a solid outfit on the males will look beautiful in outdoor shots. Just be careful with any patterns because you don’t want a busy outfit to be distracting.

When in doubt, go neutral

You can never go wrong with neutral colors. If you’re struggling to find coordinating color tones, one (or both) of you can always opt for neutral tones. These include shades of black, white, gray, cream, and ivory. Earthy tones are also considered neutral, so colors like navy and olive green are great, too. Neutrals are also a great way to ensure that attention goes directly to your and your family’s beautiful faces — not to what you are wearing.

Comfort is still key

No matter how coordinated you get, both you, your partner and/or family should feel as comfortable as possible. It’s your day to shine in the spotlight, so neither of you want to be thinking about how uncomfortable you are the entire time. In the end, that will make the photos look less authentic. Dress for confidence and show off your personalities through your clothing. When you feel great, your pictures will look great.

Seasonal Styles for the couples and/or Family

Styling Tips For The Holidays:

  • The cooler weather of the winter season allows for some great accessories for your family photos. Think scarves, beanies and coats!
  • Sweaters are very appealing clothing options for holiday family photos. Have the boys wear collared shirts with a sweater over while the girls wear matching cable knits.
  • For a cute holiday twist wear matching pajamas in some of the shots.
  • Add a pop of color to your outfit with a bright red lipstick perfect for the holidays.

Holiday Color Schemes:

  • Navy and Crimson
  • Glitter and White
  • Crimson, Tan, Denim
  • Red, Grey, Black

Styling Tips For Spring:

  • A great pattern for springtime is floral. Select statement pieces featuring your favorite florals.
  • Cheerful hues will really make your springtime family portraits pop.
  • Bows in the little ones’ hair are the perfect springtime accessory and a great way to get their hair out of their eyes.
  • If you’re taking family portraits in the warmer months take advantage of the weather and pick out skirts as well as dresses.

Spring Color Schemes:

  • Blush and Teal
  • Blush and White
  • Light Blue, Tan, White
  • Navy, Yellow, White

Styling Tips For Summer:

  • Select more cheerful colors for your summertime portraits.
  • Take advantage of light cotton, pretty sheers and lace. Light and breezy outfits are also great for the summer heat.
  • Gingham patterns for the boys and summer dresses for the girls.
  • 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!

Summer Color Schemes:

  • Tan and White
  • Orange and Teal
  • Light Blue, Tan, White
  • Blue, Green, Yellow



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