What To Wear For Family Photos | Nashville, TN

Session Planning

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One of the questions that I get asked most often is what to wear for family photos? I believe the most important aspect of photos is to capture connections between each family member. While a lot of this is done at the actual session, there are ways to set this up before we even meet. To keep the focus on you, I love a wardrobe that is simple and not distracting. Below you will find my tips and tricks to creating this.

Nashville family photographer Courtney Houk helped out this mom and her two daughters with what to wear for family photos

Client Wardrobe Explained

When you book a session with me, you will have access to my client wardrobe which includes a closet full of dresses for mama’s, and outfits for little girls and little boys. The dresses in my wardrobe fit all body types – from your growing baby bump to your postpartum body. Mama, I get it — after having three little ones myself my body has gone though a lot of changes, so I promise that there is an option for everyone at every stage of motherhood.

My kids’ wardrobe includes outfits from newborn to around age 6 (and it continues to grow)! I have options for both girls and boys so need to worry about shopping for either. And the best part is, every piece that I offer coordinates beautifully together so you never have to worry about what to wear for family photos.

My hope behind offering you a client closet is to take one less thing off of your plate. If you are anything like me, the first thing you do when you book a photo session is go straight to the internet to find an outfit. Days, weeks, and maybe even months pass by and you still haven’t found the perfect options — your dream dress was too expensive, they didn’t have the sizes you need in stock, you couldn’t find anything that you would actually wear after pictures. I get it because I’ve been there many times.

As a photographer I want to make this easier for you and provide you with a client wardrobe and the best part is that they will be available at no additional cost!

Below I will share tips for those who don’t take advantage of my client closet or for anyone who stumbles upon this blog post looking for tips to plan outfits for their own family photos.

What To Wear For Family Photos

Start With Mama

You are the one who has this dream for your family photos and you know the look you are hoping to achieve. The most important thing is to pick something you feel comfortable and confident in. I always suggest either a maxi or midi dress because you will more than likely be chasing those little ones around and it’s easier to do so in something with a little bit of length! My favorite types of dresses have a defined waistband and are flowy at the bottom. I especially love these dresses for maternity sessions because they can also be worn once baby has arrived. 

Next, Choose Your Littles’ Outfits

Next, I like to pick outfits for the littles. Once mama’s outfit is picked, you can coordinate to her. For little boys, I love one pieces like overalls — this prevents their shirts lifting and their bellies hanging out. For older boys, you can never go wrong with a nice pair of shorts or pants and a dressed up shirt — buttons or not. I don’t find many people having trouble with girls because it’s almost impossible not to have too many options to choose from. If you do choose a dress, don’t forget those bloomers at home! 

Finish With Dad

Finally, I finish off the entire look with dad’s outfit and his doesn’t get any more simple than khakis and a button down. For bottoms, I find that lighter colored pants photograph wonderfully. I typically suggest to keep his shirt white or with a simple, neutral pattern. My go to options are either a button down or a henley. Both long sleeve and short sleeve options look great, I typically base it off of the season. 

Tips When Planning What To Wear For Family Photos


My biggest tip is to keep your outfits simple and neutral because you want your family to be the main focus of these images, not the outfits. I love photographing whites, creams, beiges, soft/muted blues and greens, and mauves. Neutral colors create a soft and elegant style, and will give your images that timeless feel. 


Mixing in patterns is what really elevates your overall look. When choosing patterns, look for small, simple patterns like floral, stripes, and gingham. Try and avoid loud patterns, prints, logos, and characters. 


Add layers to your outfit such as cardigans in the cooler temperatures. Pairing an accessory or two with your outfit can add visual interest. Textures are wonderful too! Think lace, ribbons, ruffles, and crochet. I love to add hats for the mama and bows for the girls.

Things To Avoid

You want your outfits to coordinate, but you don’t want them to all match. Think of colors that compliment each other — typically I choose to stick with either a warm color palette or a cool color palette.

Avoid everyone all in the same color and with the same pattern. Basically too much of one thing is too much! Everyone in the same color or pattern doesn’t provide enough visual interest and bodies sort of blend in together because there is no variation.

Also, avoid saturated colors such as red, orange, yellow, bright pink as they reflect onto the skin. You will never see me show up to a session wearing any of these colors either and for the same reason — these colors really reflect color casts that are not ideal for anyone’s skin.

Favorite Places To Shop

For Mama

Nothing Fits But, Baltic Born, Christy Dawn, Doen, Worth Collective, Adored Vintage, Morning Lavender, Free People

For Littles

Noralee, Quincy Mae, Jamie Kay, Zara, H&M, Rylee + Cru

For Dad

J Crew, GAP, Old Navy, Banana Republic, Zara, H&M, Goodfellow at Target

For Newborns

I keep it really simple with newborns, so much so that they don’t even need an outfit! They do best when wrapped up tight in a blanket — this keeps them comfortable and sleepy while changing position. And when not swaddled because it’s too hot to be, a simple white/neutral onesie is perfect. For families that I work with, I provide all that you need for your newborn — swaddles, textured blankets, and bows included!

What To Wear For Family Photos

There are my tips for what to wear for family photos! It’s really simple to put together outfits that look beautiful and timeless in photos if you follow these tips. I hope that the photos provided give you examples of these tips shown in real life. The majority of the dresses pictured are from my client closet — be sure to ask me about them!

Courtney is a Nashville Family Photographer here to provide you with a stress free, luxurious experience a mama could only dream of. An experience where you don’t have to be the person to do it all, and she will help you finally get timeless images and heirloom artwork in your hands and home. She truly takes care of it all for you. If you are interested in booking a session, please reach out sooner than later! 


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