What to wear to your family photoshoot | London Family Photographer

Family, On Location

I’m often asked by my clients, what they should wear to their family photography sessions. Having an outdoor lifestyle family photo session or studio-based portrait shoot is an investment – in your time, money and family – and I understand you want to get it right. While I’m not a stylist, I do have a few tips you might find useful when preparing your outfits.


You’ve booked a relaxed family photography session or portrait shoot and if you feel uncomfortable, chances are you’re going to look uncomfortable. This photo session is an opportunity to express your uniqueness – so be you!


The best family photos bring emphasis to the faces of the family, their authentic reactions to each other, their natural expressions, a glimpse of their unique personality. Text is meant to be read and your eyes are drawn to it, so big logos on Dad’s t-shirt, for example, can be distracting. If you’ve booked this photoshoot because you want framed pictures of your family – will you be happy that a particular brand name could be taking centre stage in your art work and you will see it every time you walk into your living room? And I can say this – because I’m referring to my brother – what if you don’t think John Meyer’s that great in 10 years time!!


It’s rare to see a family all wearing exactly the same clothes, you probably wouldn’t do it on a normal day – so don’t feel you should at your photoshoot, especially when the aim of your family photo session is to express who you really are. My advice is to start your outfits off with a base of neutral colours – white, cream, blue, grey or black for example and then add complimentary colours to them. Lay them all out together to see it they work. To add interest to your outfits add different fabric textures and patterns. Also consider layering for interest – my morning shoots start early in order to get the best light – it can be cooler. Hats, scarves and cardigans can be removed as it gets warmer.  


You’ve sorted out your neutral tones and you’re all looking lovely. Now consider a pop of colour something to add extra interest to your photographs. Accessories or toys are a good way to add a splash of interest into some shots – eg a blue hat on a child with blue eyes can bring emphasis to the eyes. It’s good to think about where these photographs will hang in your home beforehand. If your daughter’s multi-coloured toy clashes with the colour palette of the space you’ve got in mind for these photographs – I’d suggest not bringing it or bringing something else.


Very bright or fluorescent colours can cause colour casts – in other words, they reflect the colour of the clothes onto your skin. For example if you wear a bright green coat, that colour could reflect green light onto your face, making you look a bit like the hulk! Please try to avoid these.

And of course, if you have any more questions before your session, I’m here to help.


Jayne Douglas Photography specialises in family photography, children’s photography and maternity photography. My style is relaxed and stylish. I am based in West London and shoot across London and Surrey, including Chiswick, Kew, Brentford, Middlesex, Ealing, Richmond, Twickenham, Teddington, Kingston, Putney and Barnes.