How to Pick Outfits for a Family Photoshoot

I am definitely not a fashion expert but I get so many DM's asking for help with their family's outfit selections for upcoming shoots. I approach fashion the same as I do an interior design project - cohesiveness! Don't let the stress of family photos detract you from actually commiting to getting them done! Those memories will last a life time and as cliche as it is, time really does fly by - capture as much of it as you can.


We live in Toronto and got to know the spectacular Elza from Elza Photographie. She is absolutely wonderful with kids, and her eye + editing is beyond! We have used her for our family shoots before, see blog here. I'm forever grateful for her and the photos she has given my family and me. This particular time we only had about 10 minutes of shooting. It was freezing and just moments after we started the shoot it began to hail, even though the forecast showed sunshine - welcome to Ontario! Despite this I can't believe how many beautiful shots she was still able to capture in such a short time even with freezing unhappy children!


You can find her booking info here. I highly recommend working with her - it is an investment you will not regret!


Here are some of my tips:

1. Plan your outfits in advance.

The more time you allow yourself to plan your outfits, the less stressed you’ll be leading up and on the day. I always recommend mama picking her outfit first, then plan the rest.


2. Choose your colour palette.

You can accomplish a cohesive look without every family member wearing the exact same colours. I like to pick one colour and neutrals for the rest while incorporating different textures. Depending on the amount of family members I'd suggest 2 members have the same colour incorporated in their outfit and the rest neutrals. Limit distracting patterns and logos. Stick to one pattern element and make sure it is subtle and not overpowering.

* TIP * Take into consideration which parent is holding which child. Ex. Usually moms hold the youngest so make sure the baby stands out from the clothing behind.


3. Keep location in mind.

Select a colour palette for your outfits that will complement the setting. Pick items of clothing in colours that will complement your background and not compete with it.

Ex. Do not wear green if you are taking photos in the forest during the summer.


4. Consider your home decor.

These photos will most likely end up hanging in your home or on display somewhere, that is why I always recommend neutral as being most dominant tone, it's forever timeless!


5. Choose practical clothing items.

If you or your kids are not comfortable then it will not be fun for anyone. Don’t make it more difficult than it already is!


6. Pick out accessories.

Accessories are great way to coordinate without looking tacky. Accesories are also important for kids! Make sure their socks, undershirts, bows all are intentionally picked because the reality is that not everything is going to be tucked and perfect throughout the photoshoot.


7. Lay out each family member’s outfit together while planning.

This way you’ll have a good idea how the pieces look next to each other and what is missing. I know it's a lot of work but I personally like to use Google Slides/Powerpoint to help plan prior to shopping online. You can even put a photo of the location as the background with the clothing in front to see how it'll all come together. Most studios have images of their setups or you can use google images of the outdoors in the right season for scenic/outdoor locations.


Our outfit planning for our November 2021 Shoot:



Here is how our photos turned out!





















Photography | Elza Photographie