Unsure about how to dress for your family photoshoot in London? This is one of my most frequently asked questions ahead of a portrait session together. I’m just a call or email away before every shoot to help you and your family in selecting your outfits. And whilst I don’t want to be too prescriptive for your outfit choices, I do think it makes a big impact in your photos and is worth thinking about a little bit ahead of time.
Overall, I strongly believe it’s most important to feel yourself and don’t feel like you’re dressing in a way you usually wouldn’t. I want all my clients to feel comfortable, confident and beautiful for their family photoshoot.
What to wear to a family photoshoot – quick summary
- The best advice is to wear something comfortable, that reflects your authentic style and makes you feel great. Choose something simple, neutral and timeless.
- Avoid bold colours, logos and prints – these can be distracting in photographs.
- For parents, choose a neutral, plain colour theme. I always love ivory, cream, greys and navy.
- For newborns and babies, simpler, neutral coloured outfits also work best. However, if you have something more patterned (stipes, flowers, spots etc.), these can also work for your children.
For each type of portrait session, I always offer a complimentary pre-shoot consultation so we can chat about styling and outfits in more detail. You are always welcome to message me with images of outfits you have in mind.
Let’s have a look at what outfits work well for a family photoshoot in more detail below:
1. What is the best colour to wear for family photos?
Choosing the right colours can make all the difference in a family photo. I generally recommend quite neutral tones – think whites, beige, greys, pastels etc. – they are timeless and elegant, and come out lovely whether we’re in your home or outside. For mums, delicate floral print dresses are also beautiful. Try to avoid bold patterns or big logos as these distract in the images and make them look very busy.
I generally don’t recommend bright colours as these will immediately draw the eyes to the person wearing them. If you would like to incorporate a brighter outfit, I would suggest that your child wears this.
I often get asked if black works well – personally I feel that lighter colours work better, and create softer images. Black or dark tones work better if they are slightly textured.
Great combinations tend to be:
- Denim / blues & whites
- Different variations of the same tone, e.g. cream, ivory and white
- A combination of soft colours, e.g. pastels and ivory
Have a look at my family photoshoot portfolio for some inspiration from previous sessions.
2. Add some texture
Textures add depth and interest to a photo. In any weather, chunky knits with some texture bring an interesting dimension to photos and always look lovely. You might just accessorise your dress or outfit with a cardigan, or choose to wear a knitted dress which will look beautiful. For your family, fabrics such as corduroy, linen or wool can also work very well.
3. Ideas for your Partner
For your family photoshoot, your partner could wear beige chinos and a white or light blue button down shirt, for example. Think complimentary colours between you, rather than matching each other. Even a pair of blue jeans and a shirt can look great for in home sessions and will generally work well with your outfit.
4. Think about accessories and general styling
Do have a think about styling beyond your choice of clothes for your family photoshoot, such as:
- Footwear: for in-home sessions, I recommend going barefoot. Your partner might opt to wear beige or neutral socks
- Watches: sometimes these might be distracting in images. I would suggest taking them off.
- Jewellery: are there any heirloom pieces you would like to include? For maternity and baby sessions, I usually take some close ups of your hands and including your special pieces works really well
5. Tips for Maternity Photoshoots
I have written a separate post on what to wear for maternity photos which you can read here.
If you are currently pregnant, comfort is especially important! I recommend clothing that showcases your bump, whether that’s a floaty dress with an empire line that’s more fitted just below the chest and then loose over your bump, or a dress that’s generally more fitted. In terms of fabrics, linen, cotton or silk are beautiful in the summer, whilst knitted dresses (especially if we’re heading outside!) are lovely for the colder months. I would try to avoid black as it can actually make your bump look smaller.
For maternity photos, you might also like to consider showing off your bump by wearing an opened, oversized shirt or kimono style gown over some underwear. These make for some beautiful, personal images that you will always treasure.
You can also take a look at my maternity portfolio for some inspiration from previous sessions.
6. Tips for newborn and baby outfits
I have written a separate post on what to wear for newborn portraits which you can read here.
For your family photoshoot including your newborn, baby or older children, you can have a few different outfits (and backups ;-)) ready. I’d suggest having one to three outfits ready as baby might not be too happy to have too many changes.
Again, I recommend keeping it quite simple. There are many brands that do beautiful, neutral babygrows, onsies or simple vests. Some of my favourites include The White Company, Baby Mori, or Mamas & Papas. Chunky knits or outfits with a textures are also very cute.
Your little love could also just simply wear a nappy (or nothing!) to capture some detailed shots – these are always really cute!
You might also like to consider outfits without feet so we can take all the adorable little detail shots of their feet and toes. Avoid logos, collars and “proper outfits” like trousers and a shirt as they don’t capture the essence of your newborn as well as a simple onesie.
If an older sibling is joining, also consider choosing complementary outfits.
For toddler girls, a dress with tights is very cute, again in a simple pattern or neutrals. Also feel free to incorporate any little accessories like hairclips or hairbands. For toddler boys, patterned shirts look lovely but avoid any motifs.
Also check out my newborn & baby portfolio for some inspiration from previous sessions.
With these tips, you’ll be able to create a cohesive and stylish look that will make your family photoshoot look amazing. Have a look at my previous family photoshoots for some inspiration!
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I am a London family photographer specialising in editorial style family photoshoots. I cover Central and West London, such as Kensington and Chelsea, Hammersmith and Fulham, Wandsworth, Battersea, Clapham, Richmond, Westminster, Mayfair and Notting Hill. Please do still get in touch if you live outside of these areas but would be interested in a family photoshoot together. Not quite ready to book? Follow me on Instagram and let’s stay in touch.