WHAT TO WEAR FOR HOLIDAY PORTRAIT SESSIONS
One of the most stressful parts of planning a holiday portrait of the family is figuring out what everyone is going to wear! As a mom of five children myself, I completely understand how it can be overwhelming – but I am hopefully going to relieve some of that stress for you with these simple tips.
There are lots of things to consider when planning what to wear for your family portrait.
- Where will your photography session be held?
- Do you hope to capture that perfect family portrait for that canvas you’ve been dreaming of for over your mantle?
- Will you be using these for your holiday cards and gifts?
Believe it or not, all of the answers to these questions play a part in selecting the perfect clothing for your family’s portrait session! Let’s go over them one by one.
1. First and foremost, your child’s clothing needs to be comfortable. Scratchy sweaters will make your child absolutely miserable. Comfy clothes equal happy kids – and happy kids make for a better portrait experience! Comfort is key for Mom and Dad too. Clothing should fit well and be a style you’re used to wearing. If someone is uncomfortable, it is going to show in your portraits!
2. Next think of where your session will be. If it is outside, you will need to make sure everyone is dressed appropriately for the day’s temperature. Layers and stylish (and clean!) jackets are your friends for an outdoor photo session on a cold day. This also gives you a chance to accessorize with tights, hats, and scarves!
3. It can also help to think of the colors found in your desired location when choosing your family’s outfits. Selecting complimenting colors to the natural backdrop you’ll be using can really help bring your portrait together. Of course, this shouldn’t discourage you from having fun with a bright palette if that is what fits your family’s personality!
4. If you are hoping for a family portrait to hang on your walls at home, you will definitely want to take the colors and décor in your home into consideration. I recommend choosing clothing (and a location) that flows well with the look and style of your home.
5. If you’re using these photos mainly for your holiday cards, you may want to dress in formal holiday attire or dress the kids in Christmas pajamas to add to the holiday cheer you’ll be sending to your friends and family.
6. Coordinating your family’s clothing is a very important part of picking out clothing for your portrait session. If your clothing doesn’t flow well, it may end up being a distraction. This doesn’t mean you should go out and buy matching white shirts and khaki pants for every family member (please don’t!) but it does mean that your clothing should all match well and be of the same season (no summery sundresses paired with sweaters).
7. Don’t overuse patterns! You want the focus of your holiday portraits to be on your family and having busy or a variety of patterns will take the focus away from them! I recommend using one pattern (maybe two in larger families) and coordinating everyone else’s clothing with the colors from within those patterns.
8. Remember to coordinate your shoes with your clothing choices as well. You may not think shoes matter much but the wrong shoes can stick out like a sore thumb in a beautiful portrait! Clean, solid colored shoes photograph best in family portraits. Make sure these are also the same as far as season goes – so no flip flops with winter boots!
9. Browse Pinterest. I am a visual person, so not only do I give my clients written out tips like these, I have also created several “what to wear” boards on Pinterest for my clients to view for inspiration! I love to browse Pinterest for color and wardrobe ideas because I find it helpful to see the different color combinations together.
Clothing really does make all the difference in the feel of your family portraits. I hope you find these tips helpful and wish you the best during your own family portrait session! If you have time I highly suggest hopping over to our Ultimate Guide with extra tips and resources on What to Wear for Pictures.
I swear, one of the reasons we haven’t had pix done in so long is I can’t figure out what to wear. Last time I gave family members directions, it’s like I had never said anything about #7!
aimee fauci says
This is very helpful! I am always struggling with what to wear during family photo sessions.
These are awesome tips!! I’m always looking for the perfect ways to style my family for pictures! Thanks for posting!
Susan Mahlburg says
We usually do a photo card for the holidays, but with Baby #2 on the way this week, I’m starting to second guess whether we’ll get around to doing a shoot. A friend’s family shot about 20 people together in all white for a beach motif, and it looked SO GOOD!
We have our family Christmas pic made each year on Thanksgiving weekend. And every year I tell my son not to wear a shirt with writing on it and every year . . .
Our family is large (kids, grands, sons-in-law) and it’s so hard to come up with great poses for a large family.
Your pictures are absolutely beautiful! Thanks for the tips.
Erin Nelson Henderson says