Family Photo Outfit Ideas: Spring & Summer

family photo outfit ideas

Have you found yourself smiling more lately? After a long, hard winter the change of seasons seems to bring such joy! The lighter colors come out. Our toes start to wiggle free. Everything feels fun again. Perhaps that’s why so many people choose to do family photos this time of year? Nature’s artwork is on full display with the spring bloom. Plus, the warmer weather makes it a super pleasant time to capture your growing kiddos on camera. Looking for family photo outfit ideas? You’ve come to the right place!family photo outfit ideas - blue and tan

Choosing attire for a photo session is a bit more complex than pulling a few favorites from the depths of your closet. Why? Things that look great in person, don’t always translate on camera. And let’s be real here… Professional photos? They’re an investment! You don’t want to leave your outfit to chance.

The goal is to find a style that’s authentic to your family, but feels special at the same time.

Your outfits should be cohesive not “matchy-matchy.”

There’s also the weather to consider!

If your head is spinning, don’t worry. We recently did a spring session, so I went to a pro (Kelly McPhail Photography) for some family photo outfit ideas. She helped us out by breaking down the process step-by-step. And she’s sharing an industry secret—-the key places photographers shop! These brands have a reputation for interesting textural details and clothing that creates dreamy, earthy, and ethereal imagery.

I’ll talk more about what we selected in a minute. But for now… Let’s jump right into Kelly’s advice! You can see her cute as a button family below.

family photo outfit ideas

What do I wear? Family Photo Outfit Ideas


Step 1 – Location, location, location! 

Before you even begin perusing family photo outfit ideas, you need to think about where you’ll be taking your photos. Stilettos in a flower field? It’s just not going to work out well! Have a chat with your photographer about your vision and talk in detail about your location options. Naturally, the outfits you choose for a casual beach session should look very different from what you’d select for an edgy urban vibe in your city’s downtown. You also need to keep the weather in mind. Spring in Indiana (where I live) can be a bit chilly. Be sure to have adequate layers to keep your children comfy.

family photo outfit ideasMom’s Dress (Baltic Born) | Mom’s Wedges (Nordstrom) | Baby’s Floral Skirted Bodysuit (Bloom) | Girl’s Dress (Bloom) | Boy’s Jeans (HM) | Boy’s Shirt (HM) | Dad’s Sweater (Banana Republic) | Dad’s Pants (Banana Republic) | Dad’s Shoe (Banana Republic)

Step 2 – Choose YOUR Outfit First 

I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that you (the mama) are the driving force behind this photo session. As such, you are likely the most invested in these photos. And while you will “oh and ah” over that darling snuggle between your little people, your eye will quickly drift to anything about your own appearance you dislike. It’s not vanity; it’s human nature! This is why photographers highly recommend moms choose their outfit first. Additionally, women’s/girl’s clothing tends to have more pattern and detail than boy’s and men’s. Other tips?

  • Wear a dress – Dresses are universally flattering on camera. Maxi and mid lengths offer the most freedom of movement, allowing you to comfortably get low to the ground to interact with your kiddos. Not a dress person? A shirt/skirt combo can also work well. Seek out styles with a fitted waist or some sort of waistline definition (e.g. belt), versus looser/shapeless styles that can look sloppy in photos.
  • Have a favorite color? Start there! – When mom feels beautiful, that attitude spreads to the rest of the family. Additionally, wearing a color you know you look good in can really simplify the process as you select a color palette.
  • Materials matter – You want your photo look to be a bit elevated from what you wear everyday. Steer clear of t-shirt material (can look messy/wrinkly). Instead, seek out fabrics that flow well and resist wrinkles (e.g. chiffon, rayon, silk, or polyester)
  • Let your home décor guide you – Are you putting these photos on the wall? A coffee table or mantle? Ideally, the colors of your clothing will complement your décor.
  • Texture is your friend – Crochet, chambray, chunky knits, lace, ruffles… They add beautiful dimension and interest to photographs.
  • Classic over trendy – Trends are fun, but in moderation. You want to love these images decades from now, right? Classic silhouettes will never fail you.

family photo outfit ideasMom’s Dress (Baltic Born) | Girl’s Dress (Janie & Jack) | Girl’s Bubble Cardigan (Chicwish) | Girl’s Sandals (Target) | Baby’s Romper (Bloom) | Boy’s Henley (Amazon) | Boy’s Jeans (Bloom) | Dad’s Henley (Old Navy) 

Step 3 – Build a Color Palette

One you know what you’re going to wear, choose 2-3 other colors that mesh well with your outfit. Some of these should be neutral, but you want at least one to pop and bring life to the look. Photographers generally recommend muted hues over super-saturated and bold colors. Neon is also a no-no. Why? These highly vibrant colors can distract. You want your family and your connection to be the focus, not your clothes! Start by shopping your closet. Perhaps you already have something great that will work. If not, browse Kelly’s suggestions for family photo outfit ideas. Let’s have some fun building your palette!

casual family what to wear for a photo sessionDad’s Top (Nordstrom) | Boy’s Shirt (Gap Factory) | Boy’s Shorts (Bloom) | Boy’s Sandals (Amazon) | Girl’s Jumpsuit (SHEIN) | Mom’s Puff Sleeve Top (SHEIN) | Mom’s Skirt (SHEIN) 

Step 4 – Do a Test Run!

Be sure to try your looks on in advance. And we are not talking about the night before! Ideally, you should test your outfits at least a week before. Why? You need time to make a change if something isn’t working or doesn’t fit. Assess the style and silhouette from all angles (front, back, side). Do a “sit test” to prevent any wardrobe malfunctions and ensure you are 100 percent comfortable. No one wants to worry about their bra showing as they cuddle their kiddos! Do your outfits match up to the forecast? You may need to bring an extra layer for the little ones. A cute cardigan, like this one, is a good option.

Dad’s Henley (Buck Mason) | Dad’s Jeans (Abercrombie) | Boy’s Jumpsuit (Carter) | Girl’s Top (Janie & Jack) | Girl’s Wide Leg Denim (Gap) | Girl’s Sandals (Amazon) | Mom’s Top (SHEIN) | Mom’s Jeans (FreePeople)

family photo outfit ideasfamily photo outfit ideas

About Our Looks… 

I wanted a lot texture and a blue/neutral color palette for our session. My goal is to have some of these images framed for our walls. Although my dress deviates a bit from Kelly’s recommendation to go long, it is roomy enough in the hips to allow me to move freely. The color felt springy and fresh.

For Hudson, I opted for this darling JCPenney button-down. The sleeve detailing and pockets make it feel special and it is super cute paired with these slim cut Old Navy jeans. The jeans have a rib-knit waist, which is super handy since everything seems to slip down from Hudson’s tiny waist.

Finally, my hubby’s attire… This is always the most challenging. If I can convince him to take family photos, I’m not going to press my luck by asking for a shopping trip. Consequently, I needed to find something he loves that he already owns. We ended up with one of his favorite dress shirts (cuffs rolled up) and go-to Eddie Bauer pants.

Where Photographer’s Shop – Family Photo Outfit Ideas


Now, let’s get to the good stuff… The brands photographers swear by! The following fashion companies are what professionals use for model family shoots, to build client closets, and shop themselves. I’m focusing more on the websites that may be new to you, but there are also a few familiar names on the list.

Baltic Born

First up, Baltic Born. Until I met Kelly, I had never heard of this company. But if you talk to any photographer about great places to shop for photoshoots, they will inevitably mention this website. It is a cacophony of unique, flowy, feminine dresses that will have you feeling like a queen. There are so many stunning styles, I had a hard time choosing just a few to share with you. The fabrics are high quality and move well on camera. Best of all, you can snag Baltic Born styles at an affordable price point. Nearly everything is under $100.

Jessakae

Another great option for women’s dresses. Jessakae has lots of dresses with texture and interesting detail, plus all the muted colors a gal could want! It organizes its offerings into collections, making it easier to find a style to suit your mood and vision. Best of all, it is very size inclusive. You can find gorgeous plus size offerings (up to XXX-Large), bump and nursing friendly dresses, even petite sizes! I also appreciate that its flowy dresses usually have a detail that defines your waist, either with piping, a belt, or seaming. Here are a few that sparked my imagination…

JoyFolie

If you’re looking for something really unique that has a boutique flair, JoyFolie is a must-shop. Its girl’s and women’s offerings have an ethereal vibe sure to make you (or your little one) feel like a queen for a day. There are lots of high drama maxi dresses for girls. I can only imagine how much a young lady would love have that kind of look, for family pics and dress up later on!

Janie & Jack 

Janie & Jack is known for its adorably unique children’s clothing. Texture, pattern, unique shapes? It has something that will tug at every mama’s heart strings. Janie & Jack carries styles for newborns all they way up to 16-year-olds! So many happy colors there for spring…

Chicwish

Regulars here know I talk about this brand a lot! And for good reason… It has great quality, affordable prices and a huge selection of styles you just can’t find anywhere else. In fact my dress in the photos above is Chicwish. Its known for having lots of vintage-inspired pieces and plenty of texture. While it’s mainly for women, they also have darling options for kiddos.

Okay this post is getting a little long… so I’ll drop the other pro-photographer recommendations below in abbreviated form. Happy shopping! And as always, if you have a question about anything we discussed, drop me a note below.

  • Bohme (adorable boho options for women)
  • H&M (best place for kids outfits – particularly boys)
  • Bloom (local Lafayette, Ind. children’s boutique)
  • Lulu’s (women’s dresses)
  • Free People (women’s dresses)
  • Fillyboo (expensive but gorgeous and different dresses for women + bump friendly options)
  • SHEIN (cheap but unique options for women/kids)
  • Buck Mason (quality neutral toned options for men)
  • Old Navy (affordable options for everyone)
  • Elestory (kid’s boutique w/ stunning modern vintage attire)
  • Zara (something for everyone)
  • Anthropologie (unique pieces for women with gorgeous textures)
  • Abercrombie (jeans and tops for men and women)



family photo outfit ideas

Dad’s Henley (Buck Mason) | Girl’s Dress (Janie & Jack) | Girl’s Sandals (Target) | Boy’s Polo (Bloom) | Boy’s Jeggings (Bloom) | Boy’s Sneakers (Amazon) | Mom’s Dress (SHEIN) 

Mom’s Dress (Chicwish) | Mom’s Wedges (Nordstrom) | Dad’s Top (JCrew Factory) | Dad’s Pants (Express) | Girl’s Dress (Target) | Mary Jane’s (Old Navy) | Boy’s Button-Up  (JCrew) | Boy’s Pants (JCrew) | Boy’s Boat Shoes (Kohls)

 

 

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