What to wear: 9 Tips for Picture Perfect Outfits

Family Session

October 3, 2019


fresh 48 and newborn


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My blog is where I can show you more than just a single Instagram-worthy snapshot, but tell the entire story of a session from start to finish. Enjoy!



Fresh 48

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Hi I'm Nicole


It’s that time of year again! Ahhhh, family photos. If you’re like most moms, this is a bittersweet experience for you. You LOVE family photos because HELLO, you’re a mom and as such you are in ZERO pictures with your kids (unless it’s a hideous selfie with your best workout gear and no makeup on). So this is your one chance each year to get dolled up, take your hair out of that messy bun and look good in those pics with your kids!

The bitter part is trying to plan it. I see you. Rummaging through your closet and scrolling through Pinterest for hours on end. Panicking because not only do you have to plan YOUR outfit…but you have to plan outfits for your entire family. It can be super overwhelming, but I’ve got some tips and tricks to hopefully make the process easier and help you create a cohesive look.

Once you book a session with me, I’ll send you over to my Pinterest page for some wardrobe inspiration. But while you are looking through and gathering ideas, you should consider a few things:


WHERE are you having the shoot? Indoors? Outdoors? At a park? Downtown in an urban setting? What will the colors be like in the background of the photos? The picture I posted above was taken at the gorgeous Marvin Efird Park in the spring, so mama knew that she wanted to compliment the natural scenery around them while adding a pop of color to highlight the season.


How do you want the pictures to feel? Classic. Rustic. Boho. Formal. Formal. Relaxed. Whimsical. Moody. This session was taken in the spring to celebrate their little girl turning two. So it was a celebratory occasion, but mama didn’t want balloons and streamers. She wanted something she could hang on her wall that also reminded her of when her baby was 2, so a neutral, timeless palette that matched the season is was what she went for. I love how she kept it casual, but with just a bit of flare with her dress/shoe combination and the birthday girl’s sweet dress.


Winter. Spring. Summer. Fall. I always tell my clients to make sure their wardrobe matches the season, especially if outside because you want to make sure you and your gang aren’t freezing or sweating like you just ran a marathon. Obviously, this can be a little difficult in Charlotte, where it is currently October and 95 degrees! So for pictures in those in between seasons, consider wearing layers that can easily be removed if needed.


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To kick things off, here are some sample clothing boards and color palettes to jump-start you as you plan your family’s clothing. For fall, I’m loving warm tones like maroon, burnt orange, and mustard! Keep scrolling for more general clothing tips below the boards.

I designed these for a family of four in order to cover options for women, men, boys, and girls – but I just wanted to add that I think families are beautiful no matter what form they take. The color palettes below will totally work whether you’ve got two people in your family, six people in your family, two moms, or two dads (and girls don’t have to wear dresses, either – I just included lots because I love them!) If you get stuck figuring out how to use these sets for your own crew, please feel free to reach out! I love helping my clients plan their wardrobes! ♥

Pro Tips

1. Okay, so here’s my #1 pro tip – plan everyone’s outfit around your own. You heard me girl! You took the initiative to plan this darn session, so make sure YOU look good and worry about everyone else after that. You want to be confident in these pictures, so choose an outfit that YOU feel good in. One that makes you feel like you could strut down a runway or get double takes during a night out on the town! Mama looked GOOD in that dress in the pic above, and she KNEW it. (And did you see the shoes?? Swoon!) You never want your outfit to be an afterthought AND it will make the process so much easier if you have a starting point.

2. Don’t get too matchy-matchy. Add in various textures, colors that mesh well with one another, and don’t be afraid to have one person wear a plaid and another wear a pattern…as long as they’re complimentary!

3. Basic isn’t a bad thing. Spice up basic pieces with layers (cardigans, layered button-up, sweater, scarf). Old Navy actually has some amazing examples on their site right now of how layering adds some dynamic touches.

4. Avoid super bold patterns. You want to look at the picture and notice your expressions and the vibe, not that super bold Hawaiian floral tee and neon pants your husband is rocking.

5. Make sure the men avoid white socks, specifically when wearing pants. It just draws the eyes right there!

6. Some of my fave places to shop for basics… Old Navy, H&M, Zara, and Target.

7. Make sure whatever outfits you choose, they are YOU. Going to be honest here, I don’t think I’d ever do some super formal shoot with a frilly dress and a suit. It’s not us. The last thing you want is to feel uncomfortable during the photos, so make sure your personalities and vibes are also a part of your decision-making when planning.

8. Fave places to get dresses for myself, Joyfolie, Lulus, K|LA, and Vestique (the latter two are local Charlotte boutiques and so cute!).

9. Lay the outfits out on the floor and see how they mesh.

So there you have it. Your very own “How to take the stress out of wardrobe planning when trying to plan family sessions” handbook. Have some tips?! Share them with me!!

xoxo, Nicole

  1. LuciWest says:

    The family photos are so lovely. And these are great tips. It’s funny that it hadn’t occurred to me that as a mom you’re never in any photos until you book a session… yet I’m hardly ever in any photos either. Great reason to book a session with you.

  2. Valerie says:

    I avoid pics like the plague. I’ve gained so much weight. These though are practical ideas. Maybe I ought to try some.

  3. Chad says:

    These are awesome tips and some of them would work for men as well!!! Thank you soooo much, love the article.

  4. kumamonjeng says:

    Wow, I always thought that to look nice in the pic that everyone has to wear matchy colors. You have given me another perspective to take a family pic.

  5. Heather says:

    I’m loving this! When we take family photos, it’s always a struggle to try to figure out what to wear.

  6. Sue Tanya says:

    Hey Nicole, I really enjoyed this post. I love taking photos and I always like to prep before my shoots. These are all great tips to have you feeling fashionable for a photoshoot.

  7. Liz Cochico says:

    You are so right about number 7. Anything you choose to wear, always make sure that it’s you.

  8. We tend to take our photos quite often, so will follow your tips next time especially about avoiding white socks for me. Never thought of that.

  9. Rosey says:

    It’s smart to lay them out and see how they mesh. A photo can be thrown if the outfits don’t gel.

  10. catherine santiago jose says:

    These are great tips, when we do a family photo shoot we make sure that we are wearing a good outfit with a light patterns, colors and also an outfit that show the real us.

  11. Natalie says:

    Oh these are great tips!! I love your pictures they are stunning xx

  12. What a great idea to layout the outfits together and see how well they work together. Always have issues with this. I forget the color scheme we were trying.

  13. Gladys Nava says:

    Such stunning photos! I am really glad to know those tips you’ve shared. You are sooooo good!

  14. Renee says:

    Gorgeous session and just added this post to my pinterest board! Thanks for these awesome fall photo what to wear tips!!

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