So, you want to know what to wear at a family photo shoot? Lucky for you, I LOVE sharing tips and tricks whenever I can. As a Victoria, BC family photographer I have lots of experience with not only making family shoots fun and successful, but also in offering advice before the shoot. 

Outfit selection is an important part of the shoot prep process, as you want to make sure that your clothing choices are: 

1. Complimentary in colour 

2. Complimentary to your shoot location 

3. Appropriate for the time of year 

4. Comfortable, with room for movement 

I am going to share details on all of these points, and throw in some extra tips along the way. Bring on the family photo outfit ideas! 😄

Consider your Colours 

My clients often ask, “What is the best color to wear for family photos?” To which I say, “There isn’t one!” 

What there are, however, are colours that are complimentary to you, to what the rest of your family is wearing, and to your shoot location. 

Let’s Break it down: 

  1. Colours that are complimentary to you are ones that flatter your skin’s undertone. I won’t dive too far into this, as it’s a big subject! However, I will link an article that I found helpful HERE
  2. Colours that are complementary to each other are what you’ll likely be focussing on the most, to pick a great outfit for everyone. To look your best in photos together you’ll want to choose colours that look great side-by-side, without being too matchy-matchy. I am personally not a fan of matching sweaters or matching plaid – it’s simply not my thing! What I do love are subtle pops of colour or neutral family photo outfits. Pastels and soft tones look amazing on everyone. Think beige, blue, green, blush, etc. 
  3. Colours that are complementary to your shoot location essentially means, what colours are going to make you stand out from the background? Because Victoria has a lot rich greenery I generally say that the best colors to wear for outdoor family photos are light colours, which will make you POP. This isn’t true for every location however, so think about yours beforehand. 

Now here’s a highly debated question: 

“Can you wear black for family photos?”

Well, the answer is yes – you can wear anything you want! If it’s your colour and what you feel best in then of course go for it. 

That being said, I do always encourage my clients to explore other colour options first. While black is known as the universally flattering colour, it doesn’t stand out against backgrounds in the same way that bright or light colours do. 

If you do opt for wearing black I recommend that you only choose it for part of your outfit, and don’t wear it from head to toe.

Consider the Time of Year

When thinking of what to wear for outdoor family photos always consider your comfort. This is especially important for little ones, as being too cold or warm on the shoot can lead to unhappy kiddos. Best to make sure that everyone’s feeling comfortable in what they’re wearing.

Spring Family Photo Outfits

Spring is a vibrant season in Victoria, which means lots of bright colours. This means that opting for neutral, light tones will complement your surroundings while still making you stand out in your photos. I would generally recommend avoiding wearing rich greens at this time of year, as most locations will have the same colour and you might disappear against it.

Summer Family Photo Outfits

Victoria’s summer months can really differ day-to-day. You’ll want to choose clothing that’s comfortable, breathable, and light and opt for light layers, such as a lightweight cardigan or denim jacket that you can easily remove or add as needed. Colour-wise, summer is a great time to opt for bright colours. As it can be dry in the midsummer you can get away flashier colours like magenta, teal and yellow. Choose light and airy fabrics, such as cotton, linen or chambray. Flowy clothing allows for more movement and interest in the photos and the summer is the most comfortable time to wear these.

Fall Family Photo Outfits

Outdoor fall family photos generally means one of two very different situations: it’s really warm or it’s really not! Depending on when your shoot date is, consider your comfort and the comfort of your family first. Wear layers so you can add or take off as necessary. When the leaves change colours you can complement this with light, earthy tones. Mustard, burgundy and warm brown looks amazing on everyone at this time of year.

Winter Family Photo Outfits

What do you wear on a family shoot when it’s cold? Comfort, comfort, comfort! Jackets, sweaters, scarves, a cute toque – it all sounds great to me. Bundle up and favour bright colours in your outfit choices to contrast your less vibrant surroundings. For Christmas family photo outfits, consider bright reds, whites, blues and greens to complement your Christmas card design of choice.

What NOT to wear for family photos

Okay, we’ve discussed what you should wear. Now let’s talk about what you should avoid. 

Here’s a list to make it easy:

  • Clothing that reduces your range of motion. My shoots are all about fun and movement. We’ll be walking, dancing, and snuggling so make sure that everyone can move easily in their outfits – especially young ones. 
  • Logos on clothing, specifically large logos
  • See-through fabrics
  • Clothing with a tendency to ‘malfunction’. Ex. does that strap always fall off your shoulder? Does that pair of pants tend to ride up on your toddler?
  • Big print patterns. Small patterns are great though!
  • Clothing that is too casual. No hoodies or sweatpants please!
  • Hats that hide your face

More than anything else I’ve mentioned here, the most important thing is to stay true to YOU! What outfit makes you feel great? If you’re feeling great it’s going to show in your photos 😄

I hope that these family photo shoot tips have helped you and please know that I welcome any other questions you may have, big or small. Reach out anytime if you want to chat or start planning your Victoria family photo shoot.

Hope to chat soon!

What to Wear for Family Photos

Tips + Tricks

I respectfully acknowledge that my place of business is within the ancestral, unsurrendered and unceded Coast Salish Territory of the Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ Nations.