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What to wear to your Family Photo Session?

Updated: Sep 29, 2022

This is such a great question! Sartorial choices are so important to the styling of your shoot and this is where you get to be your own art director and really set the tone for how you want your photographs to look. Do you want your pictures to reflect your everyday or your Sunday best?

I will be happy to assist you by text as well. But in general, here are some things that I find really helpful.

1)If you want to work with colours and you don't know where to start. You can always start with a plaid shirt or patterned blouse and draw colours from them. Below is where the plaid shirt contains vivid colours such as red and blue as well as neutrals: white and grey.

Simple outfits for Christmas Day
Plaids all Here

The blouse below contains all the colours you need from which to draw colour inspiration!

All smiles.
The Perfect Inspirational Blouse

2) Another way to use colour is as an accent. In this case, mustard is the star and add neutrals such as blues, whites and denims and greys. Pinks, Oranges, Reds and other vibrant, bright colours can also be great accent colours.

3)Have a Fashion Moment! If you have a favourite outfit or dress that makes you feel like a queen! WEAR it and the rest of the family will shine royally with you! I also love capturing the movement of flowing dresses!

Love the layering of jackets too!
The Painterly Skirt
I love to watch a family play together!
Flowing Twirls.

Princes in waiting.
Polka Dots on the Queen

Hollywood Christmas Glam

4)Play with blues and neutrals! Blue seems to be a favourite as everyone seems to have blue(s) in their closets! This is always easy to do for large generational family photos. Khaki, greys and whites play lovely supporting roles. The secret is to make sure the people in your immediate family aren't wearing the same top and bottom colours. You want to be cohesive but not too matchy-matchy.

The Gang's all here.
Blues, Whites, Cream and Khaki

3 Generation photo in Calgary's River Park Church.
Keeping it simple with black, white, cream, grey, blues and demin.

5) Think in opposite colours which can make a fun statement! Examples of opposites are: orange vs blue; yellow vs purple; pink vs green.

6)If you want photos that say, it's just like any other day! Go comfy and random! This is playful color blocking that works.

Follow the Leader.
Everyday and Comfy

7)Think MONOCHROME. You can do all whites and beiges or a family of black, greys and whites. Try to think of layering textures. Knits, leathers, jersey and denim. Beige, Khahki, Brown and White is great also. Also, if what you want to achieve is a minimalist portrait then going with muted monochrome colours is the way to go: all brown, all olive, all beige, all light blues or all greys. I would have everyone where different silhouettes (dresses, jackets, slacks, jeans and dress shirts) mix it up when going monochrome. Do not have everyone wear the same tops and bottoms.

Family all in white. Calgary. Alberta,
All Whites and Beiges for an Anniversary Photo Shoot

Beautiful Brown Bears - Monochromes on the warm earthy side.

8)Try using colours that are tertiary colours- those are colours that are beside each other on the color wheel: yellow and orange, red and orange, red and violet, blue and violet, BLUE & GREEN, yellow and green.

9) If it's Christmas, say it with Sequins, Reds, knits, velvet and fluffy coats!

Dance Party in Blue Sequins

10) There was a time, when I would go to clients homes to choose their outfits for them! Back when I was a control freak and wanted my pictures to look a certain way....Sometimes I found that children may not want to wear certain clothes I helped to choose for them and that can be the same for adults. A different day can inspire a different mood from you. It can be stressful the morning of or the hour before a shoot and that stress is really unnecessary. People want to be their individual selves and that's totally cool. Just wear want makes you feel confident, beautiful, comfortable; and wear whatever you want and whatever makes you happy!

50th Anniversary & Family Portrait.
Nothing planned and it all worked out.

*(The only thing I don't suggest to do, is having the family wear identical tops and the same identical bottoms. To me it seems dated. But that could be a personal thing.)


In studio sessions are the caveat to wear whatever you want rule. What you wear really does matter in studio because there is no location to distract you. The above tips still apply for in studio sessions.

I actually really love it when people come in suits and formal dresses. I also love it when people come simply in jeans and a t-shirt. And you can go simple and wear the same bottoms and tops too! But co-ordinating your colours will make a shoot definitely more cohesive and stylized and overall less distracting so what we focus on are faces, hands and emotions.

If coordinating outfits is something that is intimidating or you just want some reassurance with your choices, please feel free to text me your outfits! 403-703-8358.

(The background colours I have for now are: black, cocoa, red, green, white and pink.)

Lovely Edosa Family with black background.
I love how this family used blues, denims, whites and the patterned dress is soft while making her stand out and a tailored 3 piece suit always looks super sharp!

These besties all wanted to wear black. I think simplicity always works in the studio.

Having neutral bottoms, denim, black denim works. And those leather pants are oh so chic!

Grandparents and Grand Children so happy together.
Loving the choice of using tertiary colours: green and blue with greys and denims as supporting neutrals.

This cool couple decided to wear matching tops and pants and coordinated with the back drop.

Monochrome styling is always easy and looks cohesive.

Christmas fun with young cute couple.
In studio photos are great because we can capture the playful, the dynamic. I love the flag inspired colour blocking: red, white and blue.

All Photos Copyright Linh Ly 2000-2022.

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