It’s a tale as old as time – you book a family portrait session from the world’s most amazing super duper, stupendous, hilarious, and coolest photographer of all time (it’s me, can you tell?); request off from work 2 months in advance so you can have a get-your-hair-and-nails-did pampering day; make your spouse request off the afternoon so there aren’t any “I had to work late, sorry honey!” excuses; and arrange for a grandparent to come too so they can help wrangle the kiddos! Everything is falling into place!
But then it hits you.
Lil Johnny can wear his First Communion suit, Lil Sally can wear her favorite “princess” tutu, and Lil JoJo can wear the overpriced sweater set and cords from the baby shower that still has the tags on. Honey Bunny is fine, he can wear one of his suits from the office. But what about you?
And oh wait, Johnny’s suit is navy, but Honey Bunny’s is black – is this one of the years that black and blue can be worn together? Sally’s princess outfit is springy, but Jojo’s is Christmas colors! And still, what will you wear???
Don’t worry! I got you, boo! (Do the kids still say “boo”? 😬)
Here are 7 helpful tips and tricks for how to dress your family so you look like the best version of yourselves, and are proud to show off these pictures on your wall for the next 50 years!
1) Don’t be afraid to get Fancy!!
A lot of times, people are worried about what other people think of their pictures – don’t be! It’s your family, they’re your pictures, and they’re going to be on your walls! If you want to put on a gown, put Honey Buns, Lil Johnny, and Lil JoJo in matching suits, DO IT!! Most families don’t get pictures more often than once a year, so seize this opportunity to pull out the pearls, heels, and sequins! Plus, now you have the perfect excuse to get your hair, nails, lashes, AND makeup done! Win-win!
2) Add in some fun accessories!
Hats, unique shoes, cute bags, fun jewelry (preferably not Mardi Gras beads, unless it’s a Mardi Gras themed session – more on that later!) It breaks up the “normal” outfits, shows off personality, and can make the kids more invested!
3) Dress for the season!
Is it fall (or fall-ish? We are in Texas, after all!)? Wear fall colors – Mustard, Maroon, Navy, Wine. All the rich, warm colors! 🍂
Is it a Christmas session? Wear Christmas colors – Crimson, Forest Green, Silver, Gold. Usually, the deeper colors are going to photograph better than the bright reds and Kelly greens!
4) Dressed casually or elegantly, pastels are always a hit!
Pastels are timeless, ageless, and look good on EVERYONE! You can blend them with pops of color, like the navys you see here, or have everyone in pastels, and everything looks fabulous! Important thing to remember: pastels and neutrals go perfectly in EVERY season! Don’t be afraid to wear pastels and neutrals to your Christmas session for a classy, high-end look!
5) Mommy and Me is always a crowd pleaser!
Not sure what you want Lil Sally to wear, but you got a fabulous Mr. Pretty skirt you’ve had in your shopping cart for months? Get her a skirt or dress that complements it! The important thing to remember is to have clothes that GO more than MATCH! She may look fabulous in an adorable Hello Kitty sweater vest and matching cowboy hat, but you’re not 5 anymore – maybe find her something that goes with you, not vice versa!
6) Is there a theme? Lean into it!
Christmas session with buffalo plaid? Bring out the buffalo plaid jammies, even the grownups! Mardi Gras (or other amazing national holiday) session? Bring out the crowns and beads! Senior who plays a sport? Show off the uniform, the mad ball skillz, and the stadium! These also double as fun accessories, so you cover 2 tips at once!
7) Most important tip: it’s more important that the outfits GO rather than MATCH!!
It may look cute on TV sometimes, but if everyone is matchy-matchy, it dates the picture immediately, and it’s unfortunately not as cute in real life! (Think matching windbreakers, or the super popular 90s white button-downs and acid-washed jeans for Lil JoJo up through Grandma! 🤢)
Instead, pick out clothes that “GO.” Complementary colors, color themes carried across the family’s outfits (pops of mustard in 2 people’s clothes, white in 2 people’s clothes, small discreet patterns mixed with solids, maroon + navy + mustard for fall!), or neutrals across the board – my personal favorite! (See tip #4!)