What to wear

Here is your go-to guide of helpful tips, tricks to help you figure out what to wear for your photos. Let me start by saying that this is not a strict "right or wrong" guide. Rules can always be broken. These are just suggestions that I have put together. I hope this will help you prepare for your family, maternity or engagement photos. Wardrobe tends to be the most stressful part of the photo process and it is what I get asked questions on the most. Take what you are about to read and make it work for you and your family. 

What you wear in your family photos should be a reflection of who you and your family are. Each individual should be able to reflect their personal style while still coordinating with the rest and making it all work together cohesively. The more comfortable you are and the more you feel like yourself, the more confident you will be in front of the camera. 

When you are choosing your color scheme for your photos think about this: are these photos going to be displayed in your home? Where? Will your color scheme be compatible with your homes color scheme? Is that even something that would deter you from displaying them? That all depends on you and your style!

You have booked your photographer and your location, so the next thing to think about is: will your outfits compliment or clash with your location? For instance, if your location is the beach (we are lucky enough here in Southern California to be able to use this location year-round!) you may want to lean more towards lighter colors, less layers and no shoes. On the other hand, if your location is a park or mountain area you could layer up, use darker/richer color tones and throw on your boots! 

Before I go into more detail on how you go about choosing what to wear. Let me start with a few suggested Do's and Don'ts.


  • Wear clothes that fit your style
  • Wear clothes that fit comfortably
  • Pay attention to details (shoes, nails, jewelry, belts, headbands, hair & makeup)
  • Look through all of your closets before you go shopping and try to utilize pieces you already have


  • Wait to the last minute to plan your outfits
  • Put too many prints or patterns together
  • Buy or wear something you will never wear again

Let's finally get to choosing outfits. Start with one person. Is mom or daughter in a beautiful print dress that you can coordinate around? Does dad have a favorite plaid shirt that you can work with? Start there and pick your color pallet based on that piece. Stick with 2-3 colors and run with it!

It used to be VERY trendy to put everyone in the same color shirt and pants. You know what I'm talking about. :) And while I can see how this would make the prep process of family photos a lot easier, it can look very monotonous. With that said I think it is important to also stay away from too many prints and patterns as I said above. If you put one person in a floral pattern, one in polka dots and one in stripes, it can be a little distracting. So stick with one pattern and coordinate around it. While I love a cute graphic tee for kids (dinosaurs, Mickey Mouse, "Cute like Mama"),  save those for every day wear and not family photo day. 

Lets talk details....

Small details and statement pieces can make a huge difference in your photos. A beautiful necklace to add texture, a bowtie or vest to add interest. Maybe a hat, headband, scarf, fun shoes or belt to help bring an outfit to life!  You would be surprised what a difference these little details make. 

The same can be said for getting your hair, makeup and nails done. I will always highly recommend seeing a professional the day of your photos. A little pampering the day of your photos always brings a new level of confidence when you have to step in front of a camera. It's about enhancing the things you love about yourself and a professional will know exactly how to do that. The professionals also know exactly what makeup will photograph best so that it's not distracting in photos.I have plenty of referrals if you need help finding someone! 

Lastly, I find Pinterest to be a great resource for this subject. You can type in "What to wear for family/maternity/engagement photos" in the search bar and find plenty of examples. Or you can start by going to the board I have created here...


I know this is a lot of info to digest and apply. I hope you find it helpful!  Make it work for your family and if you still need some help, I am happy to give you suggestions. Just ask! 

Happy Planning!