What to wear to your family portrait session

The number one question I get asked is, “what should we wear to our session?”. Before I go into more detail, I’ll sum it up in two words: dressy and simple. Here are some ideas on what to wear to your family portrait session.

Bring a few options

Bring 2 or 3 outfit options for everyone so we can mix and match. If the kids still have energy after the first set of outfits, you can do a costume change and I can take more portraits so you’ll have more images to choose from.

It’s also a good idea to wear regular clothes in the car and change when you arrive. We have nice large bathrooms here so you can change, or if we’re on location you can change in the car or in the public restrooms.

Wear similar tones and colours

Do you prefer darker or lighter tones in your family portraits? If you generally wear black/navy/dark brown, stick with that palette because you’ll feel more comfortable in those colours. Choose the same colours for dad and the kids. Pastels and earthy tones (think taupe, baby blue, light pink, beige) work well together too.

If you’re unsure, put everyone in white. Most people have a plain white piece of clothing in their cupboard already.

For 0-9 months, don’t worry too much about outfits as I capture lots of skin on skin and rolls/fingers/toes. If you have an outfit that’s significant to you (baptism etc.) feel free to bring it along.

Newborn family portrait in studio
Neutral/earthy tones work well for your family portraits.
When in doubt, wear all white.
Dark tones look great too.

Leave the t-shirts at home!

Most people only have a few professional family portraits taken in their lifetime. These photographs will take pride of place in your home. You’ll be walking past them every single day. Do you want to look like you do on a typical day, or do you want to look like the best version of yourselves?

I tell my families to, “dress like you’re going to someone’s wedding”.

  • For ladies, this means a smart top or dress.
  • For dads and young boys, a collared shirt or polo (suit jacket and tie optional) with dark jeans or chinos.
  • Young boys also look adorable in overalls or suspenders
  • Young girls look beautiful in a nice dress – especially one they can twirl in!
Leave your t-shirts at home – this is your time to look your best!

Check your body parts

This is not so much a clothing tip, but more a grooming tip.

  • Remove any coloured nail polish from young girls (check their feet too)
  • Check backs of the kids hands for stamps (why do so many kids have stamps on their hands?!)
  • Get dad and the boys to cut their nails and remove any dead skin
  • Take your pet to the groomers

Keep jewellery to a minimum

Your family portraits are all about the connection and love you have in your family. The focus should not be what you’re wearing, so keep your jewellery to a minimum. A simple necklace or bracelet, studs, and wedding rings are plenty.

Wearing minimal jewellery ensures the focus is on your expressions.

As long as you dress smart, wear plain colours and make sure everyone is well-groomed, you will be rewarded with beautiful family portraits that you’ll be able to cherish forever.


Hey, I'm Jay. I'm a dad of 3 gorgeous girls and a blue Staffy named Bonnie. I love photographing beautiful families just like yours. Are you ready to book in a family portrait session? Fill out your details and I'll give you a call.

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