I booked a session, now what should I wear?

10 Tips for choosing what to wear for family photos

Confession time! The first time we had professional photos taken of the two of us was on our wedding day – and not even the actual wedding day, it was the vow renewal. The second time? Three years later, in the cool Richmond fall. Slightly embarrassed to even admit that, given that photography is my job.

The week leading up to our session, I was wracking my brain on what to wear. What to wear for family photos is a question that I get a lot from clients and I always refer them to my Pinterest board for inspiration. But when you’re actually in the planning stages, it’s hard to choose. I can imagine that so many of my clients feel the same. And I want the whole experience from start to finish to be the best freakin’ experience you’ll ever have in your life. So I decided to take the tips that I usually share with my clients, elaborate on them, and share it with the world in hopes that it would help clients all over head into their sessions feeling ready and confident.

I will preface the rest of this blog post and say that my answer to this question isn’t a one-size fits all answer. My recommendations largely depend on the type of session my client books. So with that in mind, you’ll see two sections below: Lifestyle and Documentary.


So, you booked a Narrative Session, a Fresh 48, or a mini-session with me and now it’s time to start thinking about what to wear! These sessions can take place pretty much anywhere and that’s why I love them. Because they’re shorter, they’re a little more “directed” and styled, which also means I have more recommendations for wardrobe than any other session. Here are my top 10:

  • First and foremost, dress in something you’re comfortable in! The more comfortable you are, the more comfortable you’ll look in your photos.
  • Mama’s, it can be really helpful to choose what you want to wear first and then build the rest of the family’s wardrobe off of that.
  • Dress for the location, keeping season in mind. If we’re planning to romp around in a field, closed-toed shoes are best. If we’re shooting in the heat of the summer, light colored, breathable clothing is highly recommended.
  • Choose 1-2 simple patterns or 2-3 different colors in a color scheme. Mix in patterns with solids to balance out the photo. Bright reds don’t photograph well, it’s best to steer clear. Earthy, jewel, neutral, woodsy (at least, that’s what I like to call them), blush, and pastel tones photograph well. Check out some example swatches below.
  • Ladies, I always recommend clothing with movement – think flowy dresses, skirts, or scarves. These add another beautiful visual element to your photos.
  • Planning an intimate in-home or Fresh 48 session? Try a cozy look. Comfy sweaters, jeans, and neutral palettes always work well. For Fresh 48 sessions, Mama’s comfort is key. Try a comfy robe or cute PJ’s! For baby: if you have any special swaddling blankets or onesies that you’d like baby to be photographed in, be sure to pack them!
  • Pay attention for clothing with distracting logos or words and very thin stripes (this can cause an unwanted visual effect in your photos).
  • Blowouts and accidents happen. I highly recommend arriving a few minutes early and dressing the kiddos in their session outfits at arrival.
  • Don’t be afraid to incorporate statement pieces – jewelry, hats, etc!
  • If you need more outfit inspiration, don’t hesitate to head over to Pinterest and check out my What to Wear board!

What to Wear for Family Photos | Color Palettes | Nicole Guido | Fayetteville NC Photographer

What to Wear Family Photos | Color Palettes | Nicole Guido | Fayetteville NC Photographer

What to Wear Family Photos | Color Palettes | Nicole Guido | Fayetteville NC Photographer

What to Wear Family Photos | Color Palettes | Nicole Guido | Fayetteville NC Photographer

Fredericksburg family session - Nicole Guido Photography

What to Wear Family Photos | Color Palettes | Nicole Guido | Fayetteville NC Photographer

Documentary Sessions

I really love the candid, real-life-ness of documentary sessions. Because these sessions are raw and undirected, I don’t really send a whole lot of direction on what to wear. Here’s why: documentary sessions capture you and your family in the life season that you’re in, in the realest way possible. Most documentary sessions are shot in-home (though, they don’t have to be, check out my blogpost on that here). I firmly believe that you should dress the way you normally would even if I weren’t there taking photos. So if you’re little one runs around in their diaper, then so be it. If you like to hang out in yoga pants and baseball caps, then wear it. The goal is to really document your life how it is without any manipulation!

Haven’t booked your session yet or need a little extra help choosing what to wear? I can help! Drop me an email and let’s get started! If you need some extra inspiration and you want to take a look at a few sessions, click any of the links below:

The Jabs Family – Lifestyle Session

The Clemons Family – Lifestyle Session

The Garcia Family – Documentary Session

The Muncy Family – Documentary Session