generations outdoor family portrait in green tones under big tree

What to wear for your family portrait

What to Wear Guide

One of the most frequently asked questions prior to a family portrait session is ‘What should we wear?’

Well this post is going to go through your options, so that you and your family can decided on what suits you and your style. This isn’t a guide telling you what to wear but rather gives you some guidelines so that you can wear something that you love and that still shows your personal style but also looks great in photos.

Although some of the categories are the same I will break this down into outdoor portraits and studio portraits as there are some subtle differences that I recommend.

Outdoor Portraits

what to wear for family portraits Australia

Denim and White

Yes, this had been done for years, some people love it it and others do not but if you feel like this suits your family, you can’t deny, it looks great! Not only can you have jeans but you can mix it up with Demin skirts, dresses, shorts and jackets.

Denim & Black

Good alternative to the white and Demin/Jeans and looks great. Don’t forget black is still slimming too, so some may prefer this look. Makes a nice change of outfit from a previous choice with white or even better, you can have a change of clothes during your session, start with demin and white or blue, then switch to denim and black.

what to wear for family portraits Australia

White and Khaki/Brown

For a more earthy tone, the white and khaki is great for the right family who like those more subtle colours. Don’t forget to incorporate dresses skirts and jackets in this colour which you can use to highlight certain family members too.

what to wear for family portraits Australia - pinks & blues

Pops of colour

This works when the parents wear both black or both white tops and the kids have some colour. It also works in reverse, putting the kids in white (or black) and the parents being in colour. You can also choose to have one focal person in a colour too if they are the centre focus of a portrait (like Mum in pink while the boys are all in white for a Mother’s day special)

Great colour choices

There are some colours that just look great and below are 3 options that are very popular. We do recommend more softer pastels in these colours, rather than a bright dark colour. The soft nature of pastels compliment the person rather than bold colours that draw attention away from the face.


Either the same of subtly different tones of blues look great for a portrait. Combined with white and denim, you can have different combos for each family member.

what to wear for family portraits Australia


Pink look good on girls but even guys can pull off a nice pink polo or business shirt.


Green isn’t right for everyone but if you love the colour then own it! Especially outside it can really compliment the landscape at the park.

what to wear for family portraits Australia

Complimenting colours

Mixing and matching is key here, choose colours that compliment each other. You can also choose floral patterns for example that compliment:

Pink and Yellow

Mum is in Pink and the girls are in a pink dress with yellow highlights and a yellow dress with pink highlights. For this generations portrait the boys are all in white while the girls are sporting the pinks and yellow to add some colour.

Green and Blue

Greens and blues work great together for an outdoor portrait and can be mixed well with denim bottoms (either shorts or trousers) or khaki coloured bottoms.

Pinks and Blues

Now boys don’t have to wear blue and girls don’t have to wear pink but these 2 colours together do look good regardless of who is wearing them.

Patterns and Logos

I always advise against wearing shirts with large logos on the front as they distract away from the person however patterns can look good provided the colours are not too bold.

Floral Dresses

Nothing says summer or Queensland than a beautiful summer dress. Again make sure that the colours in the dress are complimenting and the patterns are smaller rather than a large floral print.

what to wear for family photo shoot Australia

Check Shirts

Yep, guys look great in check shirts. I put my boys in them and I love seeing others wear them. It can really bring the boys together in a shoot. Just remember if they are not the same to choose complimenting colours like blues and greens or pinks and blues.

The Formal look

We can be a very casual nation with our shorts, t-shirts and thongs, but some prefer to have a more formal look for their family portrait. A collared business shirt for the guys and if you want a blazer. The kids can go formal too with the collared shirt and maybe even braces for the little ones. The formal look is great for the studio or a nice park setting. I would avoid it for the beach however as the beach is a more casual setting and would be in contrast to the outfits.

Causal Look

Shorts and shirts and long flowing summer dresses are what we do best and the casual look is great for the park, the bush and the beach.

what to wear for family portraits Australia

In the Studio

For our family portraits in the studio we are aiming to compliment the backdrops we use and so often suggest a change of clothes if you want to use more than one colour backdrop.

For family portraits we offer a Grey/Charcoal backdrop, White and Cream and each has it’s own style that works and colours that will compliment them.

Grey Backdrop

Believe it or not, opposites don’t always attract and I often suggest when choosing the grey backdrop, to wear a nice dark colour. It really helps the people in the image stand out. It really creates a very classic look.

Grey Backdrop with Pop of Colour

The same with outdoor portraits you can have parents in a dark outfit and then put the kids in a pop of colour. Pinks & purples do look good but I would recommend avoiding patterns.

Grey with White

For those that want to incorporate some denim and white on a white backdrop, we can also incorporate this with the grey backdrop if you do not want to have a change of outfits… it still looks great.

White on White

Again where I recommend the dark or back clothes for the grey back drop, white outfits with the white backdrop do look very striking and really make the people stand out. You can wear all white (dress or pants and trousers) or use the white and Denim look for your studio family portrait.

White with Pop of Colour

The pop of colour is very effective and fun with a white or grey backdrop and for outdoor portraits. The parents can be in colour with the kids in white or the kids in colour and the parents in white.

White with colour

If colour is your thing, then wear something with colour. The white backdrop is the best for this however we still recommend pastel colours and avoid bold logos or patters on the clothing so that  you are the star of the photo. Remember the clothes are just there to compliment you.

Other considerations

Glasses – We shoot away from the sun when outside, there is very little chance of having distracting glare on the glasses. For those with transitions lenses, they can get a little dark outside, so we lighten them up for you, so we can see your eyes.


Accessories -You can really dress things up or down with accessories like earrings, necklaces, hats and scarves but make sure what you are wearing is comfortable and suitable for your location. A scarf at the beach may just be a hinderance if it is windy and those beautiful big earrings may just be pulled at by your little one as you will be quite close together for a large portion of the portraits. I find it best to avoid bags as we want to be free and easy. Leave as much as you can in the car and just bring the car keys and a phone.


Change of clothes I am more than happy with a change of clothes. You can go from formal to causal or black to white and this will totally change the style and feel of your portraits. Just bare in mind the location and how easy you change of clothes is if there are no facilities near by and of course let the photographer know at the start of the session, so we can make a plan as to when a change is appropriate.


Long sleeves If you are self conscious of your arms then I suggest a ¾ or full length sleeve for portraits. Although singlet styles do look great, you will mostly be angled off centre or side on for your portraits. This will show off your arm, so if you are not comfortable with this part of your body then cover it.


Be comfortable- Most of all it is important to be comfortable! Especially the kids. If you are worried about what you are wearing or not comfortable you will spend time worrying about it instead of enjoying the experience.

Where to now?

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