My Top 9 Wardrobe Tips for Outdoor Family Portraits

One of the most common concerns for clients wanting to book a portrait session is wardrobe options. They have no idea what they are going to wear, "nothing" in their closet fits or looks flattering, and their kids outgrow everything so fast so they don't have any formal apparel. Not to worry, I've got you covered. Literally.

DID YOU KNOW that the studio has a client closet with options for womxn, babies, and children? There are tons of options for baby's first year, bump-friendly garments, and some items for toddlers and siblings (and the selection is always growing!)⁠⁠.

Not everyone wants to take advantage of the client closet or the prop-to-print service (and that is totally okay!), so every session includes a wardrobe consultation where we go over all the options available within your own closets, recommendations for new purchases, and even borrowing from each other's collections.

My Top 9 Wardrobe Tips for Outdoor Family Portraits:

⁠1. Pick ONE main colour theme for the whole family (every person has one thing in that colour, whether an article of clothing or an accessory).⁠⁠ This helps to avoid the portrait from being too colourful that it distracts from the beautiful people being photographed.

2. Coordinate the rest of the group's garments in one or two neutrals (white/cream, beige/brown, grey/black).⁠⁠ And yes, jeans can count as an unofficial neutral for family photography.

3. Avoid shiny fabrics or textiles that cause moiré (silks, small geometric lines and shapes, etc.).⁠⁠ They look awful in photographs, and this is NOT something that can easily be retouched in post-processing (sometimes not at all!).

4. Stick to only one pattern per group.⁠⁠ My advice is to let mama pick out her outfit first and coordinate everyone to that combination of colours. For example, if mama picks a floral gown, pull colours and neutrals from the pattern to dress everyone else, and .

5. Add interest with textures and layers. You'd be surprised how coordinated and beautiful a family portrait can be with everyone wearing the same one or two neutrals because of the variety in layering in textures provides.

6. Make sure things fit in advance so that you have time to replace anything that is too small, has stains you forgot about, or isn't quite as comfy as you remembered.⁠⁠ It also helps to be prepared if the photographer needs to help you secure it all with fashion tape for the portrait session (gaping cleavage buttons are the worst culprit!).

7. Keep accessories to a minimum and make sure they match your wardrobe choices.⁠⁠ If you want to wear a hat, BRING IT with you so we can capture some without it first in case it leaves a crease in your hair. You want to keep with your usual style, embellished a tad is fine, but don't wear anything that will take away from the beautiful family. You don't want your bold trendy necklace to be the first thing your guests notice about your gorgeous wall portraits.

8. Don't forget the footwear! This is one of the most commonly overlooked wardrobe items for portraits and it can make or break the look.⁠⁠ Simple yet classy options in black or brown are safe choices. How formal they are depends on the rest of your wardrobe, but avoid running shoes or over-styling one person's feet.

9. Make sure you can MOVE in your outfit. During your portrait session you will be moving around and having fun so avoid wearing things that you need to keep adjusting or that fit so snugly that you are uncomfortable. We want you to enjoy your experience, and not be worried about the specific placement of your hat the whole time.

BONUS! For those of you who wear glasses, make the effort to have a pair that are NOT transition lenses as they block out your eyes and it is often not something that can be fixed in post-processing. Request a glass pair from your optometrist (samples have no prescription so they can lend them out for the day). I've also had past clients who snagged empty lens frames from the thrift store that looked almost identical theirs.


Pure Natural Portraits (Stephanie de Montigny)
Pregnancy through Baby’s First Year & Beyond
Almonte / Ottawa, Ontario | (613) 371 – 4594
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