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  • Maria Rosa Photography

Outfit Inspiration Guide for Families


Ideas for What to Wear to the Session

10 Outfit Tips + More

Maria Rosa Photography


Pro Tip No.01


The first rule of family photo sessions at home or outdoors is that Mom gets to choose what she wears first, then everyone else coordinates around her. Mom will probably be much happier and more confident knowing she's wearing something that she feels comfortable and beautiful in first and foremost.

Lots of Moms and women find that dresses are a great option. Midi or maxi length are great to be able to get on the ground with the kids and have freedom. Seek out styles with a fitted waist or some sort of waistline definition.

Pro Tip No.02


Ladies.. if you wear you makeup light, consider wearing your makeup about 20% darker than you would normally do. It'll help add depth and contouring in your photos.

Pro Tip No.03


Ditch the sports watches and hair ties on the wrists! Keep in mind that small bracelets can sometimes photograph as a hair band. Plan ahead, take off the smart watches, and lose the watch tan line before your session. Screens in pics=not emotive. Be aware of bra lines, tan lines, + anything else that makes your clothes not support you.

Pro Tip No.04


Some of the best shooting locations rarely have solid ground. Wear shoes you can move in.

I'd avoid neon in shoes at all costs unless that's the outfit vibe your going for. This applies to stripes on shoes, as well as neon anywhere on any clothing! On the beach shoes won't be a necessity. For in-home sessions: Take off your shoes. Yes, even you, dad. Bare feet pretty much look best in homes.

Pro Tip No.05


When in doubt, feel free to go with a dress or shirt that has some sleeves. A medium crop sleeve right above or below the elbow is flattering on all body types. If you're self-conscious about your arms, sleeves look nice on everyone, and can help keep you feeling great in your portraits!

Pro Tip No.06


Consider t adding accessories and details. For outdoors, adding in a scarf, necklace, earrings, belt, or even a small bouquet if you want, can provide punch to an outfit.

Layers are fantastic. Balance out busy patterns with a neutral. Blazers, light jackets, open button down, sweaters, vests, scarves, suspenders for the boys, hats, leggings, tights, layered shirts....

Pro Tip No.07


Dressing extended family members who live in different homes can be tricky. Keeping all the tips in mind, make it even simpler. Possibly bring it down to one color with some specified neutral shades. Or one neutral shade and specific pops of colors. You could have one or two members of the family "overlooking" some of the outfits and have family members text you pictures and ideas of what they're thinking for their immediate families. This might help others pick good complementary colors and patterns. Some members can bring an additional shirt or sweater just in case. Keep colors simple. In general solid-colored clothing will be best - keep away from too many patterns unless you know who will be wearing it, and you make sure it doesn't clash with other patterns. If Uncle Joe, Uncle Rob, Aunt Mary, and little Julie are all wearing different wide patterns or variations of plaid, or thick stripes, that may not look so great. Keep outfits simple. Use overall solid colors. Consider pops of interest with textures, layers, and accessories.

Pro Tip No.08


In cold weather...Consider ditching the winter jackets, and instead layer up with undershirts and long undies. Add a puffer vest or a scarf if you'd like for a pop of texture and extra cozy.

Pro Tip No.09


Still stuck? Shades of creams, browns, tans, and all neutrals are impossible to screw up and will never go out of style! Just maybe skip all black and white.

Pro Tip No.10


Once you book your session, start thinking of the clothes at few weeks out. You may think certain clothes will fit your kids or that one shirt is clean. You may need to order something online. If you wait until the day before, you may run into issues of clothes not fitting, being dirty, etc. Give yourself plenty of time, at the very least a few weeks, to order or shop!

For a coordinated-but-not-matchy vibe:

If mom is present, you may want to start with what she's wearing so she's comfortable and happy. You may have 1-3 colors to pull from in her outfit. Use these as your color palette, and dress your family members in each of the colors pulled from that look, or add more colors if your look doesn’t have enough.

If you have even more family members to dress, you can go for lighter or darker shades of those colors. Try to avoid having any two family members dressed in the same exact shade/value of a color, unless it’s broken up between top/bottom, i.e. one family member is wearing blue pants, another can wear a blue shirt.

Think: solid colors - small prints - textures - layers

The camera loves textures + detail + fabric movement. These add variety and a good cozy factor.

Textures = eyelet, stitching, ruffles, knit, thick denim, crochet, lace, linen, etc, etc.


  • Dress like yourselves, but at your best!

  • Make sure you feel great in whatever you’ve chosen to wear.

  • Hair cuts should be done two weeks prior to your session.

  • It’s never a bad idea to bring a blanket in a color that coordinates with your clothes or a neutral.

  • Avoid clothing with very thick stripes and big logos. I'd just say no to characters on shirts. Consider choosing clothing that is more timeless.

  • Have twins? Consider dressing them uniquely and embrace their individuality. The same is true for all siblings.

  • BREAK THE RULES. These are suggestions. Your photo shoot should be about YOU and YOUR family and love. Your clothes can help support the feelings you want to feel + create during your session. But it's your family connections, relationships, and personalities, that will be photographed rather than just what you're wearing! That'll all shine through regardless of your clothes.

A few flowy dress possibilities for the ladies to check out:

This dress has awesome reviews and would bring a great flowy feel.

There is a rust color, a brown, a dark green and others. It looks great in so many colors.

This one is fluffy and fun as they come! This black with white stars is something else!

Magical dress right here. This dusty rose is gorgeous but there are a few different colors.

A textured dress that is conservative, sweet, and pretty. Lots of different colors and photos of people wearing this.

Tip -- You’re never fully dressed without a smile :)

okay, but seriously--the best possible thing you can bring to your session is a willingness to be emotive, loving, open, and want to enjoy the time you've set aside.

Places to Shop:

  • Chic Wish This store offers affordable, quality outfits for women with awesome textures and style! So many gorgeous options here!

  • Baltic Born Lots of stunning longer dresses with flow and movement! The camera loves this. A must see if you are looking for stunning fabrics and unique pieces! And these are affordable too. Most is under $100.

  • JoyFolie This shop has lots of drama pieces and other beauties and is a super fun shop for girls and women!

  • Bohme beautiful dresses

  • H&M excellent place for kids outfits. Great little boys options.

  • Janie and Jack Kids clothing shop with unique outfits, shapes and textures.

  • Free People Women's dresses

  • Old Navy Affordable options for all

  • Buck Mason Clothing for men

Wardrobe Boards to check out>




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