What to Wear for Your DC Family Photos

You finally booked your DC family photo session and are looking forward to having beautiful portrait artwork in your home. Now what? You’ll need to choose what to wear. As moms, we usually have to dress ourselves and our family for such an occasion. That’s a lot of work. As a full-service DC family photographer, I’m happy to offer a guide and wardrobe suggestions for my clients to make it as easy as possible for them. I understand this task’s pain and want to make it painless.

Here are some of my tried and true tips on deciding what to wear for family photos.

Begin with the End in Mind

Take a moment to pause and consider what you want to do with these photos after the session. Are you hoping to create a large family print for your living room? Creating an album to document your growing family? You’re giving yourself an end goal by taking a minute to think about the end result. Doing this will help guide the next couple of tips.

family portrait elegantly framed hanging in music room

Choose Mom’s Outfit First

I highly recommend starting with mom’s outfit. Why? Mom’s tend to have the biggest challenge in finding an outfit, so by choosing hers first, that task is taken care of. Mom’s outfit will “anchor” the rest of the family’s outfits. And if someone else in the family is the most difficult to dress, start with that person. Because if that person is happy, it will show in the portraits!

choosing outfits for family photos

Coordinate, But Don’t Match

Remember those family photos where everyone wore the same white shirt and blue jeans? We don’t have to do that anymore. I recommend coordinating colors, but not necessarily matching. However, it can look nice if certain family members coordinate. I’ve had sisters wear matching dresses or the son match the father while everyone else has a different, coordinating outfit. As I mentioned before, start with mom’s (or the most difficult to dress) outfit before choosing the rest. If mom chooses a navy dress, it’s easy to choose coordinate whites, creams, etc. 

coordinate outfits among family members for portraits

Lean on the Classics

Clothing trends come and go, but the classics always remain, well, classic. Think button-downs for men and boys, simple dresses or blouses for women. You can decide if you want a more causal look or a dressed-up look. The important thing is that everyone chooses one or the other so your family portraits will look timeless on your walls. 

Comfort over Style

If you want your family to wear specific clothes but are experiencing push-back, I’ve been there. I encourage you to focus on comfort over style. Choose outfits that your family will actually wear. If your daughter never wears dresses, for example, don’t force her to wear one for the session. It won’t feel like her. Plus, we want everyone to feel comfortable. If you’re generally experiencing push-back on clothing, a nice bribe might do the trick. 

Minimal Accessories

Our focus is on your beautiful faces and expressions. Avoid big, chunky jewelry for your family portraits. Don’t forget to take off your Apple watches. Simple, minimal jewelry will photograph beautifully and always look in style.

minimal accessories for family photos

Lay Everything Out

When you think you have all the outfits set, lay all the clothes out on a bed, take a step back, and look. Does anything stand out? Like something tan in a sea of jewel colors? If your eyes keep going to one thing, that will end up being the focus on the portraits. You might want to rethink that piece.

Have a Try-On

I encourage you to have everyone in your family try on their clothing at least a few days before the session. Little kids seem to grow overnight! Make sure everything fits, there are no spots or stains, and save yourself from a last-minute frenzy finding the right clothes. 

DC Family Photos

I truly hope these tips are helpful as you decide what to wear for your upcoming family photos. I know how much work choosing outfits really is, and I’m right here to help my clients. If you’re curious, you can download and read my Creative Clothing Ideas for Family Portraits Guide. It’ll provide examples and inspiration for you as you start choosing your family’s outfits. 

I know I just gave you a list of “rules” to follow, but I also encourage you to feel free to break the rules and choose what outfits work best for your family. I write more about this in my guide.

Are you ready to chat? Schedule a call with me here.

Certified Professional Photographer | Lisa Maco Photography, LLC, Washington, DC

Classic Portraits for Modern Families

in and around Northwest DC

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Lisa Maco Photography, LLC Washington DC

Lisa Maco Photography, LLC

4400 Greenwich Pkwy NW

Washington, DC 20007

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