What to Wear for Family Pictures (Part Deux)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

If someone was to ask which of my posts has been the most popular over the years, I would definitely say the Family Pictures post I did back in early 2010. That thing has been pinned on Pinterest like six bajillion times and it's always one of my highest traffic posts. But, here's the thing. I wrote it two years ago. While much of the advice stills stands, I figured I could spruce it up and give you some new ideas for family pictures.

Which may have something to do with the fact that I'm having family pictures done on the 20th of next month and needed to plan anyway. Two birds: Meet one stone.

Here we go!

(I had to add the "shmuck" part in there because I know for a fact that when my husband is forced to dress like everyone in a group, he feels like a major shmuck. I tend to agree.)

Now, my original post stands. Here are my general rules for picking family picture outfits.

1) Go with a general color palette, but don't MATCH. I prefer to pick two main colors and then use a neutral as a third color. Oh, and jeans don't have to match anything. Jeans definitely don't count as "blue," so they're a neutral.

HOWEVER, tread carefully if you're ALL wearing jeans. It can come off as matchy. I like at least one person to be wearing a skirt (I tried to get my husband to be that one, but it was a no-go), khakis, leggings, whatever... just something to break up the sea of denim.

2) Use pattern sparingly, but smartly. Patterns are totally fine as long as they a) are within the same color family and b) are graphic. Florals won't photograph as well as say, blocky stripes or polka dots. You'll notice all of the outfits below have at least a little pattern in them. I think they go a long way in ensuring you don't look like you buy your clothes at the same store as your husband and small children and entire extended family.

3) Plan around your location. I like to make sure that our outfits "go with" the location chosen. If you're dressed in more urban patterns and colors, go with an urban landscape. More country? Break out the boots.

4) Don't be a phoney baloney. When I had my pictures done last time around, my hubs wore his beloved hat for some of the shots and people were like "How did you LET him do that?" First of all, I don't "let" him do anything. I'm not his mother and he's 32 years old. Second, the only time he doesn't have a hat crammed on his head is on Sunday. If it makes him more comfortable and feel more natural for pics, I don't care. The same goes for dressing your family. If you're more casual, don't stuff your poor toddler into a tux. He'll be uncomfortable and it'll show through in the shots.

Not being fakey also goes a long way in convincing your hubs that he doesn't look like a shmuck... just sayin'. You want polished versions of yourselves, not fantasy versions.

5) Heels are your friend. I like heels, wedges or boots for pics because they'll elongate the leg and give you a little extra height. Again, just dress according to the weather and the location. You don't want to be sinking into the grass because you wore spike heels into the forest.

OK, want to see some updated examples? Here we go!


This is what I'm thinking for my pictures. I got those new leopard heels and I think they'd be so fun in a more urban or industrial setting, so I have to talk to my photog. But other than that, this red-orange, brown and blue palette is casual while still "going together." I also love the nod to leopard throughout. This would look koo-koo-kachoo if you brought another print in there, but since it's the same, it's kosher. My sassypants daughter would love this.


If you're looking for more traditional clothes, remember that traditional doesn't automatically mean boring. These colors would totally pop in an orchard or natural setting and the boots keep you from tripping all over the grass. Also, can I just recommend long earrings for pictures? They'll give your neck a little length. Stay away from short, chunky jewelry... it could make you look (you guessed it!) short and chunky. Jackets also work really well to cover up problem areas that you don't want highlighted; just look for ones that are well cut.


Oh hey, adorable and hip family. Here's a brilliant secret: Wear a maxi skirt and heeled boots for pictures and you'll look mucho taller and it'll be awesome as long as you're not like, towering over your significant other. Don't shy away from dresses and skirts in pictures. I tend to think that if you're carrying a little extra weight, they photograph better than jeans.

OK, so now's your shot. Do you have any family picture rules that you follow? I would just like to eradicate all awkward family pictures forevermore. And trust me, I was in tons as a kid. I would know.


Lindsay said...

I love all your suggestions! My problem though, is that I have 3 boys. That's right, 3...I love them dearly (even though they make me crazy) but it's difficult to find something for 4 men and myself. Darn boys!!

Carly said...

SUCH cute outfits!! Love it!!

I just finished up getting everybody their clothes for our family pictures, I cross my fingers that you approve!! haha.

Jae said...

Lindsay, that can be so cute though! Like, you get to be Queen Bee of the pictures with a bunch of boys that adore you. LOVE!

Carly, you're pretty so that's half the battle. LOL!

Lindsay said...

It is fun, but since I'm plus size I'm afraid of things like skirts an dresses make me look 6 months pregnant! So I try to coordinate with jeans. Plus, I'm 6' tall so if I wear heels I'm taller than my hubby. Suggestions? lol! Oh and did I mention I'm picky? :)

John Gordon said...

I"m a part time photographer. People are always amazed at how I get people to look so good and natural together. Yes, I push a lot of fakey things, but guess what my number one goal is, get them comfortable. Usually takes more than one shoot. I don't get paid. Just a love. So your advice, IMHO is excellent. Thank you for the reminder. Good luck.

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