What to wear for an outdoor family photoshoot

It’s an important question, and I always give guidelines when a client books a family photoshoot with me. The clothes you wear have a big impact on the way the final photos look, so it pays to think about this well in advance.  You may be looking at the photos for years to come, so you want to be happy with the decisions!

How to plan what to wear for your outdoor family photoshoot

Casual clothes are best. Plain colours are needed rather than stripes, checks or big logos on shirts, all of which need to be avoided if possible. They can grab the attention in the photos, instead of the focus being on the faces.  Colours which work very well indeed are blue, cream, grey or browns. In general, colours that stand out too much are reds and yellows.

Having said that, young children in matching brightly coloured plain wellies and mac can look stunning. Similarly, if a 4 year old wants to be in that princess outfit, then she can change into that and have a mixture of photos.  So a change to brighter clothes for the children is fine.

Long sleeves are best for women – not sleeveless tops.  It’s best not to wear anything that’s tight-fitting or very baggy. Just a regular fit is fine.

Tops (and hats or hoods) that match eye colours can look fantastic on the children. Just their face surrounded by a furry collar with a border of colour that matches their eyes!

Family walking together in the landscape, photographed in Worcestershire

Comfortable and fitting the surroundings.

Everyone needs to be comfortable and feeling relaxed. So smart and definitely comfortable is the order of the day.

You’ll want to look your best in the photos, but we’re aiming for a natural feel.  So formal clothes probably won’t match the look of the images. Children in uncomfortable clothes won’t work because they’ll be distracted and possibly unhappy.

If we’re doing the shoot on your farm or smallholding, with your daughter’s horse or in a muddy stream, then the clothes need to fit the activities!   Wellies and everyday clothes are sometimes the best.

example of outdoor family photography

The final destination

Did you have somewhere in mind in your home for the final photos? Perhaps you have a spot on the wall which would be perfect. Then think about the colour scheme and décor in that room, and go for clothes colours that will match or complement the room.

For example, if a big family photo would look great above the sofa, it’s worth considering the colour of the sofa, the curtains and furniture in that room. Then the photo will enhance the overall feel of the room.

Family photography in the woods in Warwickshire

Coherent within the family

Coordination in both the colour and brightness of clothes will add to the photos of everyone together. For example, all the children in blue jeans and similar neutral plain tops. It’s important not to overdo it though, otherwise you can all end up looking like a family in a TV advert!

Try to create a consistent look without exact matches. A mixture of white and blue, for example, across the tops and shirts, with blue jeans and white dresses included. Accessories and shoe colours can add some variety. Try to avoid bright red or yellow shoes though!

what-to-wear-outdoor family photoshoot

Clothes for all seasons

A different look according to the season is worth thinking about. In autumn, the golden tones of the trees and foliage could be reflected in the clothing colours – perhaps earthy colours like brown, green, purple and creams.

In the Spring and Summer, light airy shades look fabulous. So think pastel colours – whites, pink, greens and blues.  A little splash of colour might match the Spring flowers.

In Winter, everybody will be wrapped up and perhaps playing snowballs. Skiing jackets will probably be too brightly coloured, but a few warm tones will fit in. Plain greys, blues, even black will work and let the faces stand out in the photos.

What will you and your family wear for an outdoor family photoshoot?

These tips will help, but they are not strict rules. Go with how you feel. If I’m coming to your home, I can always look at the clothes and advise there and then.  In general, a change of clothes is also a good idea to add variety to the images.

I’ve been a specialist in family photography outdoors for over 10 years. I’m based in Warwickshire and travel throughout the region. Some families have even flown me abroad.

If you’re thinking about photography of your own family, please get in touch. I’d love to hear from you.