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What we wore for family pictures + tips for picking your outfits

Picking family picture outfits is HARD!

Do you get stressed just thinking about trying to coordinate outfits for family pictures? I feel you.

One of the things on my 30 before 30 list was to hire a photographer and have family pictures taken and I’m SO GLAD WE DID IT. I’m excited to share the pictures as we get closer to the holidays but here are a few just so you can see what we were wearing.

Today I’m walking you through how I thought about our outfits for pictures and sharing a few more tips for picking your own. These aren’t hard and fast rules…but for the style of pictures I like, these are some things to consider.

Tips for coordinating family picture outfits:

  1. Remember you’re coordinating and not matching. Ideally, you show up to the shoot looking like you just happened to be really well dressed wearing things that look good together without anyone saying “oh, hey, you match!”
  2. Start with the hardest person (probably you). I tell women to pick what they’re going to wear first and then base outfits around their choice. This time around I actually picked Adelaide’s dress first. I didn’t have anything I wanted her to wear and knew I wanted her to be the one subtle pattern. I bought two dresses from Zara as options. I also knew I had to buy something for Westley who is growing like a weed so I put together Lincoln’s and Ben’s outfits and made sure Westley was in a coordinating neutral. I picked a brown for Westley that was darker than Ben’s sweater so he wouldn’t blend into Dad for the pictures.
  3. Go with neutrals: You might want lots of bright colors – GO FOR IT! But When I put together outfits for family pictures I generally stick with lots of neutrals and one (mayyybe two) colors. Here all the boys are in neutrals, Adelaide is in a small print, and I’m in a solid in the same color palette as the print. The blues in the jeans act as the second color so we have neutrals, denim, and pinks.
  4. Go for texture! Especially if you’re sticking with neutrals, pick pieces with lots of texture. I love the dimension the knits on Lincoln and Westley give the picture. My blouse, too, while being a solid color, has lots of texture going on.
  5. If you want patterns, STAY SMALL: Tiny plaid is much better than big checks. Small florals work much better than big flowers.
  6. Avoid white or black: This is not a hard or fast rule and it depends on they type of image you’re going for (and your photographer). White and black bring a lot of contrast to images and I prefer a more calm, lower contrast picture. White is also super easy to blow out (overexposing so you can’t see the details of the clothing piece so it looks washed out).
  7. Go cool or Warm: Another easy way to work with neutrals and colors is to decide if you’re going for a cool palette or a warm palette.
  8. Consider your home decor: If hanging your family portraits in your home is something you’re considering, think about the colors in the room you want to display them. For me, tans/ivories/navies would have worked better for our living room than these deep burgundies.

Easy formula:

1 small pattern + 1 solid coordinating color with said pattern + varying shades of the same neutral (grey, tan, blue)

(Adelaide + Me + the boys)

Here are a few favorite places to find clothing for photoshoots: 

  • Zara (love for dresses and sweaters) 
  • Target: If you need something ASAP without time for shipping, you can usually find a good neutral dress and sweaters for the kids.
  • Noralee: This is a new-to-me higher end children’s wear company that makes STUNNING clothes for photoshoots. I ordered a few pieces for Adelaide and the new baby for a wedding and pictures this upcoming season and everything I’ve gotten has been gorgeous. 

Bonus tip: Remember you set the tone for your shoot. If you’re stressed, your kids are going to sense it (and you might all look it). It’s okay to take a breath and reset. Spend a minute goofing off with your kid without trying to have them pose. And listen to your photographer – they probably have great ways of handling cranky kids. You can also check out this whole post on tips to get your kids to smile for pictures. 

Here are links to what we wore: 


Maroon top: anthropogie (SUPER old – I actually wore it for christmas pictures two years ago – seen herethis is the closest thing to it on Anthro right now and on sale!)

Dark wash denim: Paige

Shoes: M. Gemi

Delicate earrings: Aurate (I like keeping jewelry simple + minimal for photoshoots …and life in general and Aurate has some beautiful pieces) 


Sweater: Banana Republic (super similar on Amazon here – almost bought it before I realized he had this)

Denim: AG


Dress: Zara (fully stocked)

shoes: Pediped (this pair specifically is our favorite toddler girl shoe – she’s had it in multiple sizes for the last two years and prefers it to any other shoe – it’s held up super well, goes with everything, and is so cute. I think it’s worth buying this shoe at the higher price point than two pairs of cheaper shoes).


Sweater: GAP Factory (50% off right now)

jeans; Target (we love this brand and these are only $8 right now)

shoes: Sperry


Sweater:  Zara

pants: Amazon


family photos by Lauren Dobish

A complete guide on what to wear for family photos. Choosing outfits for family pictures can be tricky, these tips will help you look and feel your best! #familyphotos #whattowearforfamilypictures #familyphotoshoot #kidsstyle

A complete guide on what to wear for family photos. Choosing outfits for family pictures can be tricky, these tips will help you look and feel your best! #familyphotos #whattowearforfamilypictures #familyphotoshoot #kidsstyle

A complete guide on what to wear for family photos. Choosing outfits for family pictures can be tricky, these tips will help you look and feel your best! #familyphotos #whattowearforfamilypictures #familyphotoshoot #kidsstyle

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