What to Wear for Family Photos

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Updated March 2020

It can be a very daunting task when deciding what to wear for family photos.

Throw in budget and time constraints, and the stress is suddenly doubled.

We love to have those beautiful family photos updated at least once a year, because those babies…they grow so dang fast! 

I don’t know about y’all, but one of the hardest parts of family photos (aside from uncooperative toddlers), is deciding what everyone is going to wear.

I wouldn’t consider myself a fashion blogger, but I do enjoy putting fun pieces together for our family photos.  

Here are my best fashionable and frugal tips on making family photos look more cohesive, without ending up on the awkward family photos website.

Which by the way, is amazing.

What to Wear for Family Photos

Start With One Key Piece

It could be an outfit that you absolutely love seeing your baby in, or maybe it’s your go to dress that gives you major confidence.  

Use your favorite piece, and build everyone else’s outfit around that. 

In this picture, I loved the colors in my son’s shirt for our Fall 2014 photos. 

We were living in Miami at the time, and I wanted a fall look, even though it was still 90 degrees in October (not that it’s any different here in Texas!) 

I set it out on our bed, and went to everyone’s closet gathering tops and dresses in the color scheme.

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Shop Similar Looks: Men’s shirt / Maxi Dress / Toddler Shirt

Keep it Simple

Don’t overuse patterns.  

If one family member is in plaid, put everyone else in coordinating or complementing solids.  

Use neutrals like denim, white, or khaki to tie in the look. 

In our newborn photos from 2015, I wanted the focus to be on the baby, so everyone is dressed pretty neutral. 

I put my husband in stripes and everyone else in coordinating solids. 

I love how the focus is on the people, and not bright flashy outfits. 

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE color, but I also love simple photos with BRIGHT natural light.  

Look at that tiny newborn, yum!

Consider the Location & Season

In our bluebonnet pictures , I wanted everyone to be in light colors so the flowers would really pop! 

I knew I loved this adorable little white playsuit, from Old Navy (old, similar here), that Bethany is wearing, so from there it was easy to coordinate everyone. 

However, I didn’t want to put everyone in white. 

Nope, too risky with toddlers 🙂 . 

I went with light blues for the boys, and baby pink for me. Noah’s shirt has a little gingham pattern to it.

Minimize Accessories

This is one of my favorite newborn photos of Noah and me, but everytime I look at it, I wish I wasn’t wearing so many dang bracelets!  

Too much jewelry can distract from the look of the photo.  

A simple necklace for mom, or a sweet bow for baby work great, but just keep it minimal.  

The focus should be on your beautiful family!

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In the photo below, I used the pretty light pink from my son’s shirt, and matched it with one simple chunky necklace with a white shirt, and my daughter has on a beautiful pink flower headband

Simple accessories.  LOVE.

Shop Budget Friendly Stores

I always check everyone’s closet first!

I can usually find plenty of great items in our closets to create beautiful family photos without breaking the bank.

If you decide you need to get a few more items, you’ll find the most adorable budget friendly finds at stores like:

  • Target
  • Old Navy
  • Amazon
  • Thrift Stores

Related: How to Save Money on Kid’s Clothing

Don’t Stress. (Yeah, right)

Family photos are always stressful, especially with young kids. 

Is my son going to be happy Noah, or crazy Noah? 

Will my daughter fall asleep in the car on the way, and hate the world when we try to wake her up? 

It’s always anyone’s guess! 

Every time we take family photos, I worry if we will get any good ones. 

Is anyone even looking at the camera?!?  

But, I’m always pleasantly surprised! 

In fact, many of my favorites are the candid ones, where we are just lovin’ on each other.

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what to wear for family photos
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Hopefully these tips will help you next time you need to put together outfits for your Christmas card or spring photos. 

I know the first thing I do is hit up Pinterest for inspiration and tips! 

Most of the time I just go to our closets to see what I can come up with first. 

This saves money, and time!  Two mom wins.


How to take your own family photos

How to shop for kid’s clothing on a budget

Thank you for reading my hopefully helpful tips!  Here’s wishing you lots of good luck, and super happy toddlers, on your next family photo shoot.

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hi! I'm shannon

I’m a wife, mom of three, doctor, and blogger! In 2018, I decided to turn my mom blog, into a personal finance blog so others could follow along on our journey to pay off over HALF a MILLION dollars in student loan and practice start up debt. I hope you enjoy following along, and maybe even find some inspiration along the way.