Deciding what to wear for family pictures is about as fun as actually having them taken. We’ll do our best to make it easy and help you coordinate colors, textures and subtle patterns appropriate for the season and location.

No matter how great your photographer is, the outfit you choose for family pictures can make or break any photo.

Most of us have professional family portraits taken at one time or another to commemorate meaningful stages of our lives. Coordinating family photo outfits appropriate for the occasion, location and time of year is essential for a successful picture of the group. All it takes is a little planning.

Matching vs. coordinating

If everyone’s tops and bottoms are the same color it starts to resemble a uniform and can quickly end up on google under family pictures gone wrong.  Coordinate rather than match outfits to make the photo more interesting. Use variations of just one or two complementary colors to create a cohesive look. You needn’t stick to solid colors. Arrange family members wearing prints or patterns in between those dressed in solids for balance. Just make sure the prints are subtle rather than distracting.


Whether we’re talking dressy evening wedding or family barbecue everyone needs to feel comfortable. Dark suits easily denote formality but looks aren’t everything. They must fit well to provide plenty of mobility for dancing the night away. Feeling stiff as a board will make your photo appear anything but natural.

Same things go for dress shirts. There’s nothing worse than having a collar so tight you can’t wait to unbutton that top button! The good thing is that dress shirts are so versatile. They can be dressed up with ties or dressed down with sleeves rolled up. Plus, the selection of fabrics and styles is practically limitless!


Getting everyone to agree as to where and when this epic group picture should be taken may be harder than choosing what to wear! The time of year, whether you’d like it inside or outside, at home or at a venue are factors that should be taken into consideration. As to color selection, here are a few suggestions:


Beautiful leaves changing colors provide a backdrop that’s hard to pass up. Shades of tan and brown paired with maroon or gold are perfect complements to the autumn color wheel. Layer long-sleeved shirts or knit tops with vests or mid-weight sweaters. Cords, khaki or colored denim provide contrast for bottoms.


Is a holiday greeting card photo on the agenda? Traditional Christmas reds and greens are okay for cards but think outside the box for a portrait you’ll see all year round. Forest greens and cool blues can provide more neutrality. People tend to dress up more during the holidays but it doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with your wardrobe. Gather the guys and get a collection of holiday ties to be worn with suits or sport coats. For more casual or outdoor scenarios cable knit sweaters, flannels and wools display textures of warmth.


Flowers blooming and the arrival of warmer weather spell neutrals with pops of color for contrast. Gone are the dark suits of winter as year round fabrics, lighter in color, take hold. Consider the background as an accessory. If it’s a field of daffodils, carry the yellow color into your outfits.


Whether it’s the green grass of your lawn or the white sands of a beach, you’re group is looking at light and airy linen, cotton and silk. Bright shirts, deeper pastels and patterns with fun motifs stand out against white or tan bottoms. The season implies relaxation and a casual atmosphere so don’t be afraid to ditch the shoes and strike a playful pose.

Planning ahead to get everyone on the same page doesn’t have to be difficult.

After all, we all have cell phones to give each other a preview of what we’d like to wear! Put one person in charge to see that outfits are coordinated not matching. Take into consideration where, what time of year and the backdrop for the photo. You’ll have a lasting memory to treasure.


Photo by Drew Hays on Unsplash




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