family portrait Escondido CA

What to wear in your family portrait

One of the first questions I hear from families in preparation for their photoshoot is “what do we wear in our photos?

I love this part of the process!! Here’s what I share with the families who have booked me for their photos, hope this helps you too!

Make sure you look like a cohesive group.

I never recommend that everyone wears all the same thing (white tops with khaki pants all around, eh hem, no thank you!) But you do want to look like you’re coordinated.

  • Choose a color palette: earth tones, neutrals, bright colors, or jewel tones are examples of a palette
  • Patterns are fine, as long as the clothing adheres to the color tones the group is wearing

family photos taken at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas by a professional photographer in San Diego and Oceanside. 

Add a pop of color!

I love this tip. This can make a boring collection of outfits come to life. For people who don’t know what to wear, I always suggest something like tones of white, denim and grey with a pop of color – such as turquoise, yellow or coral.

A pop of color can be represented in jewelry (a statement necklace or bold earrings) or maybe one person wears a shirt or a cardigan with the color pop. If a few people wear the pop of color, it makes for a cool photo!

Consider your location when picking clothing

  • If you’re doing photos at the beach, the predominant elements will be the sand and the water so choose clothes that compliment this environment. Pretty much ANY color looks great on the beach, but some of my favorite beach clothes are palettes of neutrals or bright colors that pop off the background.
  • If you are going to a park or an area with lots of trees and green grass, take that into consideration and wear colors that compliment the green backdrop
  • If you’re doing photos at the beach, remember that your shoes will be off so wear clothes that work with bare feet

family photo la costa carlsbad

Pick your favorite outfit and coordinate the rest of the family around that

Maybe you have a favorite dress that you love wearing? Or if you bought a new outfit for one of the kids, that can serve as an inspiration for the rest of the family.

Carlsbad Family portrait, photo

Coordinate with family members

If you’re not all in the same house, coordinating outfits can be a challenge. I suggest laying out your outfits and sending photos to the other members of your family. Or create a Pinterest board to serve as the “style guide” for the family members.

If you are asking your family members to wear something in the same color, such as blue, make sure your family understand what shade of blue. Navy is very different from teal and electric blue. I’ve seen families get the “let’s all wear shades of blue” wrong. Don’t let this happen to you!

family photographer San Diego

Refer to my Pinterest board

Sometimes seeing what other families wore can help inspire you when choosing your family’s outfits.


Here are some other family photos that may inspire you…

San Diego Portrait PhotographerCarlsbad Family portrait, photoOceanside beach family photo






About Marcy

Hello, I'm Marcy Browe! I specialize in personal branding photos for business owners in Southern California. I'd love to know more about you.. let's connect and create some magic together!

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