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What to Wear for Your Family Session

Written By:

Maryam Salassi

Aug 11, 2023

Styling 101

What you wear in family photos is a snapshot of where your family is at this moment—in age, in fashion, in current trends. It’s a moment: frozen.

That can feel daunting.

But deciding what to wear for your family session doesn’t have to be stressful. It can actually be a fun way to show off your family’s unique personality!

This style guide is designed to help you make the most of colors, patterns and textures. Together, we’ll harness the power of fashion to make your family photos look and feel just as fun as your time together truly is.

Color Families

mom swinging toddler daughter around as dad sits on back porch in oakland backyard

When I’m choosing colors that work best together, I think of groups of colors as families. Then I choose colors in the same tone family—think: jewel tones, pastels, monochrome, muted.

Next: use those color families to dress your family.

Pro tip: raid your kid’s crayon box and put colors together to figure out winning combos.

Mix those patterns

I love leaning into bold patterns for fun, happy family photo sessions.

It’s totally possible to have fun with your family photo outfits without appearing uncoordinated or distracting. By mixing different patterns in the right way, you’ll end up with unique family portraits that really show your personalities.

Mixing patterns is a passion for me. If you follow me on Instagram or have seen much of my work, you know how much of a focus I put on color and pattern. Over the years I’ve found some tried and true rules to mixing up patterns that compliment each other, rather than clash. Check out this blog post for five tips to help you mix patterns like a professional stylist.

5 steps to keep things fun & fashionable

Once you’ve chosen a color family and your patterns, it’s time to get to work planning the outfits.

  1. Pick the main element for Parent 1. This could be a jumpsuit, dress, or loud sweater. Parent 1 should be the parent who has the hardest time finding something to wear. Let’s face it: kids look good in everything. Let’s let the parents shine for a little while, huh? Use this element as your color palette starting point, sourcing colors you’d like to use for everyone else.
  2. Main element for kids & Parent 2. Using my tips for color blocking and using prints, you can begin selecting main elements for your children, and then Parent 2.
  3. Everything else. Start adding in pieces to complete the outfits. This could mean adding jeans and leggings, or tops if your main element is pants or a skirt. If your main element is bold, you can either go neutral for the add ons or you can live your best life and really lean into bold vibes.
  4. Finishing touches. When it comes to finishing touches, I always suggest fun accessories that speak to your family right now. Statement jewelry in your chosen palate, cardigans or jackets, a fanny pack or backpack if we are going on an adventure together. Let your kids choose fun, crazy socks or funky shoes. You get the picture!
  5. Be flexible. Finally, remember: these are your family photos and they’re supposed to be fun and fill you with joy. If a piece doesn’t quite fit right or your toddler refuses to wear the pants you bought, pivot. If someone is uncomfortable it’s most likely going to be evident on their faces, and we do not want that memorialized forever in your family photos.

Pro tip: find a familiar comfort item for each member of your family. Maybe it’s a favorite pair of jeans, or your kid’s favorite really fast shoes. Having your photo taken can feel like an incredibly intimate experience. Wearing something that brings you comfort and familiarity may help you look and feel more comfortable in your photos.

Fave brands & shops for kids:

Mini Rodini

The Animals Observatory

Winter Water Factory

Kira Kids

Bobo Choses

Alice + Ames

Tiny Cottons

Duns Sweden

Hanna Anderson

Tea Collection

Fave brands & shops for parents:


Big Bud Press

Rachel Antonoff

Miracle Eye


Farm Rio

Maple Street Denim

Claflin, Thayer, & Co



Marine Layer


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