Family Portraits – What to Wear and Style Guide (Fall)

Fall is one of my favourite times of the year to snap family photos. The changing leaves and crisp air make the perfect setting if you opt for an outdoor shoot.

The key to great family photos any time of the year is a coordinating color palette. You want to avoid matching or everyone wearing the same color. This can be a quick way to date your photos, as we typically see this in family photos from the same decade as when I was a kid. Instead, you’ll want to start with one core color and incorporate varying neutral shades and textures to tie the looks together. You’ll see an example of this throughout this post!

To make photos feel like fall, focus on warm neutral colours and lots of texture!

An easy way to elevate your fall family photos is to bring in an element of sparkle! This can be in the form of a dress for mom or for your little one! I especially love that this dress has sequins at the top and a soft tulle skirt on the bottom.


A floral maxi dress is one of my favourite styles to wear for family photos. This dress would also be gorgeous for maternity photos, a baby shower, or newborn photos! To play off the soft floral pattern, I opted to keep everyone in neutrals and varying textures. I didn’t want it to feel like too much white and cream, so I layered a waffle cardigan over my little one’s dress, to add in color! Another option would be to ditch the cardigan and swap the cream dress for something pink.


After you’ve chosen mom’s outfit, think about 2-3 coordinating colours, some neutral and one of which pops and brings life to the outfits. The colour palette you choose will affect your appearance and the overall look of your photo. Warmer colours like peach, ivory, and browns, will give your photos a soft glowing look, while bold and vivid colours like yellow and purple will produce a brighter and sharper appearance.



Shoes make the outfit! Consider your photoshoot location. If it’s a must for you to wear heels, wear flats to the session and bring your heels in a bag. If you’re going for a more formal portrait, avoid athletic sneakers, and kids’ shoes with cartoon characters or sparkles. Match your socks to your shoes: don’t wear white socks with black dress shoes. 


Think about where you would like to display your portraits? If you’re going to invest time, energy and money on a family photo shoot, I recommend that you print your images. A professional photo print will last a lifetime. If you’re planning on displaying your photos in your living room, consider coordinating your outfit to complement your the area where are you’re going to hang your artwork. For example, If your home is decorated in white, beige or muted tones don’t wear bold and bright outfits.


A lot of people ask if its necessary to have their hair and make up done for the shoot! I definitely do not think its necessary especially if its not your thing, but of course if having your makeup professionally done before a session makes you feel your best, then definitely do it!!


Props can be as simple as being part of your outfit like a hat or sunglasses. Kids can have their favourite toy. Whatever props you want to bring, make sure it makes sense with your location and outfit choices! Some more ideas for props can also be hats, blankets, pets, etc. I love dogs at the session! If you have your furry family member fell free to bring it with you!


Now that everything is said and done! There is definitely no harm in breaking a few of the rules! Like I mentioned earlier, these are just “GUIDELINES” to help you narrow down your options. I am definitely not a style guru, nor am I claiming to know anything about fashion. These are just some things that I have observed to work well during  sessions! At the end of the day, I want these photos to represent who you are as a family, and if it means wearing bold colours or all black, then I would want you to choose something that will make you feel your best! These photographs are for you and I would want it to represent who you are!

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