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What to wear for your family session. Northern, Va family photographer

Updated: Jun 14, 2023

Probably the most stressful part about having your photos taken is choosing what to wear. Everyone agonizes over the details, but I can help! From the shoes to the accessories, it’s not as hard as it sounds, I promise. First, there is Pinterest, an endless supply of inspiration. Second, there are a million awesome online stores that I have listed for you to check out. Last, if you are adventurous, hit up the likes of Marshalls and you can find yourself some inexpensive original pieces! The MOST important part of what you are wearing is that you are comfortable. When you are in front of my camera, I want to shoot the best you there is!

Let’s walk through the process:


You want to think about where your session is and how your outfits will look in that setting. Are we going to a more formal venue like Morven Park, or will we be shooting around downtown Leesburg with a funkier vibe? The location helps to decide if you want a flowing dress in a field of flowers, in the spring or if you want to wear a leather jacket and jeans hanging downtown in the fall. Let’s discuss the look you are going for, and what you want to do with these photos when we are done.


Start with Moms outfit. Mom is always the anchor and it is imperative that you are comfortable and feel great in your clothes. If you have littles, you will likely be picking them up and moving around with them A LOT! Pick your outfit and build from there. The best family photos have a variety of color and textures, so I always say to coordinate and complement each other’s fashions. Think about the vibe you are going for and run with the theme. If you are doing spring photos, little girls in flowing floral dresses are always gorgeous! Boys look great in polo shirts or if you can get them dressed up, go for the bowtie and suspenders. Have fun with the look, make it your own and enjoy the process!


Colors set the mood of the session. Pastels, warmer colors and neutrals create a soft look. Bright colors make for bolder sharper pictures. Consider your location and what you are planning to use the photos for. Will they go on a wall in your family room or are they for Holiday Cards?

Once you have your anchor outfit, let’s start thinking about everyone else. Pick 2 or 3 colors to coordinate. A variety of color will create a more dimensional and visually interesting photo. Clothing should reflect your family’s personality.

My favorite color combinations are dictated by the seasons. I love a soft neutral look in the spring, bold primaries for the summer, rich earth tones for the fall and festive brights for the winter. You really can’t go wrong with neutrals any time of the year.


I cannot emphasize enough that comfort is always the best fit. Clothing that you can both dance and sit in will make for a great session and make you feel great! There also tricks of the trade that I think will help you make clothing choices that will make you just LOVE the way you look in photos! When talking about fit balance is the key. If you want to wear a flowing skirt, then make sure the top is shape flattering. If you want to layer a jacket over a sweater, then skinny pants with ankle boots will look great. Don’t hide in overly baggy clothes, it will not hide anything, it will make you look and feel even more bulky. On the other hand, clothing that is too tight is never flattering in photos. Too tight clothes tent to pull and wrinkle in all the wrong places and unfortunately photos will spotlight those spots in all the wrong ways. Layering and textured clothing that fit well are a great way to highlight your best assets and you will forget about any flaws you might think you have. Accessories also bring the eye right to where you want the attention. A great necklace or earrings will guide the eyes up to your face, but never overdo it. One statement piece is all you need to highlight your favorite features.

For Babies: Someone will be holding or carrying the baby most of the photos. Please make sure to choose an outfit that completely covers up the diaper.

Speaking of fit, wear comfy shoes. We will be walking, skipping, jumping and possibly dancing, shoes should be cute but please make sure everyone’s feet will be happy through the whole session! If you want high heel shoes in your photos, bring them with you! You can always change when we get to the location.

While rules are meant to be broken, this list is pretty solid and you will thank me for later when you see your final album!

  • Don’t wear logos or graphics (exceptions for fun group shirts ☺)

  • Don’t wear clothes you are not comfortable in. If you don’t love your arms, don’t wear a sleeveless shirt, if you dislike your knees, don’t wear a short skirt. You get where I’m going with this.

  • Don’t wear too short shirts or skirts. This will severely limit our posing possibilities. We will be moving a lot like walking, jumping and spinning.

  • Please don’t dress the whole family in exactly the same outfit, or colors when you pose together, you will blend together-no matchy, matchy

  • Don’t keep things in your front and back phones

  • Don’t wear thin stripes or too tiny patterns, they never translate in photos and often look strange

  • Do bring hats, scarfs and jackets. They can change up the look and keep you warm in the colder months

  • Do dress for the season.

  • If your little one is in a dress, make sure they are wearing shorts or bloomers. It will hide that diaper

  • Have fun and be yourself!! You want your photos to represent you and your family!

Don't hesitate to contact me at anytime with any questions. I am here to help :)

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