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Getting Yourself Dressed for Family Photos

Piggybacking on my last post, because I love talking about clothes…

I thought it would be fun to post some dress ideas varying in price, so you can start planning your family portrait outfits. Ladies, you don’t have to wear a dress. I just figured I’d start there, and maybe share other outfit options in a future post.

Remember that dress in my last post? I found one similar on Amazon with some great reviews, and it is available in several colors:

I love the lace detail in this dress. It would look amazing on a beach backlit by the sun.

Love the flowy skirt on this dress! Available in a few colors.

I’m not sure how long this one is, but on a scale of 1-10, I give it a 10!

This beautiful long gown would look amazing on the beach…

Paired with a belt, this ruffled dress is a cute one to wear in the tall grass with booties!

This dress would look great paired with bold colors on the rest of the family.

The flowing chiffon in this dress is begging to be photographed… Also available in blue.

Another lovely dress with a flowy skirt…

Ok, this one is not a dress, but this jumpsuit is still a great option to wear for family photos, depending on the location!

Denim never goes out of style! And neither will this dress! Add pops of denim and other patterns & colors for the rest of the family, and you’ve got these outfits all buttoned up!

This dress would look cute with or without a jean jacket. I wore a similar dress for my family photos this year!

Here’s another Amazon option! Good reviews and tons of color options! Pair it with a fitted top and you’re golden!

This dress may or may not be in my shopping cart right now…

I love the pattern on this dress. Great for a neutral backdrop, and you can tie in several colors for the rest of the family!

I’m all for tulle! Here are some tulle skirt & dress options that I adore:

Now that you have your outfit selected, you can start building on it with shoes, accessories, and the rest of your family’s outfits. And if you haven’t booked a session yet, you can contact me at joni@jonigirvanphotography.com 🙂

Outfit Inspiration for Family Portrait Sessions

You booked your family portrait session. Now what do you wear? For some, this is the fun part (as if you need a reason to shop!) For others, it is an overwhelming process that makes you consider canceling on the photographer 14.5 times before the session. Don’t! I’m here to help!

When first seeking inspiration for outfits, Pinterest is a great place to start. I created an outfit planning board that you can follow. Look at individual pieces, entire outfits, and outfit coordination to see what appeals to you and best fits your family’s style and the location of your session. Once you have some inspiration, you’ll want to narrow down the color scheme.

Start by selecting 3-4 colors to work with, and then see if you already own any pieces that you love and that will work with the color palette. From there, try to complete one outfit, either with pieces that you buy or own, and then build from there.

Let’s look at a few examples…

Here is an image from a session I did with a family that chose to wear denim and black. The combination of the simple colors and textures in her jacket and his pants resulted in a very stylish look.

Young family wearing black and denim outfits. Parents swinging young child between them and smiling.
This family chose two main colors to work with for their session, and it looked fabulous!

As I mentioned, sometimes it is helpful to select one person’s outfit and build the family’s outfits around it. Mom, this is your chance to buy that new dress you’ve been eyeing!

Speaking of dresses, take a moment to adore the dress in this next image…

Image of a man kissing his wife who is wearing a long flowing dress with a low strappy back.
The low, strappy back & flowy skirt: she couldn’t have picked a more amazing dress for this location!

She likely found this perfect dress, and then built her husbands outfit around her selection. You can see that she tied in blue and two shades of gray for their outfits, which worked really well together.

So how do you apply this to the rest of the family’s outfits? There are so many options to choose from when it comes to planning the color palette. Be creative! Use varying shades of one color, multiple colors, throw in some texture or patterns, and you have a great looking family photo!

See how she added a solid white dress for her daughter and then tied the blue, white & gray into her son’s shirt and then brought in blue with pops of red in her other daughter’s dress? Perfection!

Image of a family with coordinating outfits, all smiling at the camera.
Color coordination without looking matchy-matchy.

I hope this helps you to consider using various colors in your next family portrait session. Leave a comment and share your favorite family portrait outfits!

You Belong in Your Family Photos

Do you have a favorite family photograph?

I have quite a few. I actually had a very difficult time picking one out, but for the purpose of this post, I will focus on this photo:

My mom passed away when I was 9, so the images we had with my mom in them; well, that was it. I’m not saying that I would prefer this image to a professional image of my mom and I, but instead, it got me thinking about all of the rest of the old family photos. Our family has a TON of candid photos that make the memories come flooding back, like the one pictured. Me opening my first glo-worm on Christmas, swimming in the pool with my sisters, smiling with a mouthful of marshmallow by the campfire; the list goes on. I had originally set out to find a family photo that included all of us. I didn’t have much luck finding one that would be “favorite photo” material Basically, the few photos of our family were taken of us literally standing next to each other, as if we barely knew each other. Some were really dark, some bright, and others were fuzzy. And while I love the pictures because of the people of them, I can’t find any image that shows our family being us, like the candids did… so I started looking for an image that made me feel something.

When thinking about why it is one of my favorites, I realized that it had nothing to do with the quality of the image, which is usually what initially draws me into a photo, but instead, it had much to do with the people in the picture itself, which happen to be me and my mom, and the feeling/memory that is attached to it. It isn’t a professional picture, but my dad definitely captured a moment that I can never get back. I cherish all of the photos I have with my mom in them, just as much as I cherish the photos with my dad in them, but I do find myself wishing I had more images like this, with my mom and my dad in them. It’s too late now, but I wish that we would have had a family photographer to capture these moments of us, all of us.

I have a family of my own now. I have followed in the footsteps of my dad, being the shutterbug at family events, and in turn, I’m not in many of our family photos unless we set up the camera on self timer, or have them professionally taken. Try getting good quality, candid family moments while simultaneously pressing the shutter remote button… Not easy…

So, what do I suggest?

I want to stress that snapshots are important. Take the camera out of your purse when you’re together with family and friends, and you’ll have a good chance of getting some really great candids of your loved ones being themselves. But, don’t ignore the other images that are even more important. The ones with you in them, too.