Quick Guide on Dressing Your Family for Family Pictures

We just had our family picture taken a few weeks ago and it made me remember the first family picture we had taken when my little girl turned 1 and how stressed out I was about it! I was Googling, Pinterest-ing, reading photographers blogs… searching and just wanting someone to tell me what to have us wear! After all that searching I thought I would provide you with a guide on “how to” dress your family for family pictures! I’ll share what I’ve learned and give my best pointers!


Photo Credit: Stephanie Ward Photography

Change of Season

First words of wisdom are to take your family pictures at the change of season. Why? Simple, you are going to have to get those growing children of yours at least one new shirt for the new season right? Then you will need an updated dress or outfit for the new season. Schedule your photos far enough in advance that you can plan what you are buying them so that it coordinates with what you are doing for your pictures and then HAVE THE FIRST TIME IT IS WORN FOR THE PICTURES! You guys we are in medical school and on a very tight budget. For this picture above we bought 3 articles of clothing. The little boys shirts, which I got to add to the hand-me-downs that we will be using (and are so grateful for!) My dress, which I desperately needed a dress and rarely buy anything for myself so yes I splurged but I made sure it coordinated with what I had for everyone else.

Family Pictures

Someone Wear a Pattern

That first family picture experience I was so worried about which solid colors we should wear so that they were all a little different but still went together. Here is the secret that my dear friend shared. HAVE SOMEONE WEAR A PATTERN. It adds depth to the picture and can help you tie in what everyone else is wearing. I chose this simple plaid that the boys have on to bring together the neutral colors what my daughter and I were wearing with the gray blue of my husbands shirt. Basically, it’s ok to not have everyone wearing solid colors!

Helpful tip when it comes to patterns:

Choose small patterns. Wither it is flowers, plaid, stripes, whatever just make sure that it is really a small print and will not be distracting and take away from the people in the picture! It’s just to give variety and depth.

Family Pictures

Be Real

Be honest to who you are. My baby wasn’t quite walking when we took these pictures and I haven’t stressed about having him wear shoes, so that’s why he is barefoot in most of the pictures and in the one picture that he was wearing shoes one had fallen off… oh well..

Family Pictures

Use What you Have

I mentioned earlier that we only purchased 3 items for this picture. I had jeans for all the boys so that’s what they wore. They were all different shades and styles but that’s what we had, so that’s what we used. I think my husband has had that shirt for 3+ years, it worked with what we had going so that’s what he wore. I had bought that dress for my little girl on sale like a year ago and saved it for her. Just look through what you have, you have it because you like it and it fits you well. Don’t kill yourself searching every store for something that you can force to go together. Just take an inventory of what you have and see what you can use first.

Family Pictures

Don’t Be Matchy-Matchy but Do Be Matchy-Matchy

Ok so I am a fan of Matchy-Matchy but lets not be tacky about it. How about instead of Matchy-Matchy we say coordinating. I love the little boys matching but none of the rest of us are even wearing the same colors.. Same color family #win

Mom and Daughter

Add Some Texture

If you can have different fabric textures it will give diversity and an added beauty to your shots. I chose a linen dress for me to wear because I wanted to add the texture. Other ideas of textured fabrics: velvet, cashmere, lace, chiffon, wool, denim.

Family Pictures

Most Important Accessory

Your smile.

Family Pictures


I hope your family pictures turn out better then you could imagine and that you found something to add to your repertoire for the next time you get to dress your family for family pictures!

xoxo Graceann

graceann mom


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