How To: Dress for Family Photos

September 26, 2016


Earlier this year, a friend of mine asked me to help her choose outfits for her engagement photos. “Piece of cake”, I thought. We searched online for outfit combinations, visited a few stores at Cornwall Centre, and she ended up choosing a cute, casual look for her and her fiancé. Their outfits fit their personalities perfectly and the whole process just seemed so easy. While she stressed over the details, I had a hard time comprehending her anxiety.

Fast forward a few months later, and it was now my turn to style my fiancé and I for our own engagement photos. I searched the Internet tirelessly for outfit ideas, visited every store in Cornwall Centre to get inspiration, and drove my fiancé crazy with “Should I buy this?” texts. The stress I never understood was finally setting in. These are photo we will be sharing with our family and friends, and photos we’d like to look back on in the years to come, so the pressure was on to be sure they turned out great.

To help you avoid the same stress I endured, here’s a list of tips to help you choose your outfits and ensure you complement one another.

Comfort matters: If you have to jump up and down into your jeans to get them on, you might want to opt for something that will allow you to move more freely. It can get bothersome if you are constantly pulling at or adjusting your clothing while transitioning into different poses. Plus, the more confident you feel in your clothes, the better you will look in front of the camera. Similarly, kids look uber-adorable in hats, tutus, and jackets, but if they aren’t comfortable, you are in for one miserable shoot. Remember to keep weather in mind if you are planning an outdoor shoot!

Complement one another: Gone are the days of wearing matching outfits. Instead, choose a colour palette and mix and match colors so that everyone flows and coordinates with one another.

Limit patterns: An outfit with texture and patterning is great when added into a mix of solid colours, however, if there are multiple patterns in a photo, it can be distracting in the final image. Limit to one patterned outfit within the family, or choose patterns that are subtle and complementary.

Play with textures: Don’t be afraid to wear a scarf, belt, or chunky accessories. It adds dimension and a personal touch to your outfit. Don’t hesitate on using subtle props, too! A blanket that matches your colour pallet works well to sit on or wrap around the subjects.

Avoid black clothing and logos: Steer clear of black as it can highlight every piece of lint or loose hairs in the final image. Stick with solid or patterned tops and avoid large writing or images.

Play off the location: Consider your surroundings when picking colors for your outfit. If your photos are in a park, a green dress might camouflage you with the grass and trees. A complimentary color, such as red, would pop against the green to help you stand out. For a calm vibe, a cool blue or beige would look stunning. If your photos will be in more of an urban setting, like in front of an old, brick building, try bold hues to contrast with the gritty background.

CC Tip - Most importantly…

Be yourself: Choose clothing for you and your family that highlights your everyday style and personality. This session is not your opportunity to try a new fashion-forward outfit that you wouldn’t normally wear.


Need a little inspiration? See how we’ve paired clothing for Mom, Dad, and the kids in two different colour combinations.


Find these looks:
1. STRETCH 1969 true skinny super high rise jeans, $79.95 (Gap)

2. AEO Crew Jegging Sweater in Burgundy, $44.95(American Eagle Outfitters)
3. LEGAWIA Ankle Boots in Cognac, $74.90 (Call It Spring)
4. Modern stripe boatneck tee in Navy Stripe, $29.95 (Gap)
5. AEO MicroStripe Button Down Shirt in Light Blue, $44.95 (American Eagle Outfitters)
6. ACAYWIEL Casual Shoe in Cognac, Was $69.99, Now $49.99 (Call It Spring)
7. HIGH STRETCH 1969 skinny fit jeans, $79.96(Gap)
8. 1969 original jeans , $39.95 (Gap Kids)
9. Cable knit mock sweater in Modern Red, $49.95 (Gap Kids)
10. Worker hi-top sneakers $64.95 (Gap Kids)
11. GapKids + Pendleton plaid scarf $34.95 (Gap Kids)
12. Indigo terry dress, $49.95 (Gap Kids)
13. Cable over-the-knee socks, $14.95 for 2-pack (Gap Kids)
14. Patent bow ballet flats, $44.95 (Gap Kids)


Find these looks:
1. Tencel long sleeve shirtdress, $79.95 (Gap)
2. Kimono sleeve stripe cardigan, $74.95 (Gap)
3. ADROERI Mid-Calf Boot in Khaki, $99.99 (Call It Spring)
4. Crew sweater in Navy Heather, $54.95 (Gap)
5. CADORIEN Casual Show in Camel, $79.99 (Call It Spring)
6. True wash micro stripe slim fit shirt in Imperial Blue, $54.95 (Gap)
7. HIGH STRETCH 1969 skinny fit jeans, $79.96(Gap)
8. Layer sequin dress, $64.95 (Gap Kids)
9. Glitter cat ballet flats, $39.95 (Gap Kids)
10. 1969 original jeans, $39.95 (Gap Kids)
11. Plaid oxford shirt in Chalk, $34.95 (Gap Kids)
12. Solid v-neck sweater in True Indigo, $34.95 (Gap Kids)


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