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What should we wear to a family photoshoot?

Rocklin Quarry Family Photo Session

One of the most common questions I get asked before a family photo shoot is... what do you think we should all wear? I thought I would break it down a little and give you a few suggestions for looks that work well and clothing that probably should be avoided. I’m always helping out the families I shoot to come up with outfit ideas that suit the style they are looking for and the location we are shooting. The weather even plays a big role, so hopefully this helps you too!

What you should avoid:

Slogan / Branded and licensed clothing:

We all know the kids love these kind of clothes and also the dads! I’m referring to the Disney princess and superhero clothes and the t-shirts with huge slogans across them or abbreviations. If you want timeless photos to hang around your home I would suggest steering clear of these types of clothes! NO big words across your chest, and absolutely no bugs bunny jams!

Matchy matchy outfits, aka the jeans and the white tops:

This look has been done many times and although it had it’s place years ago I would suggest getting a little more creative and less clique. You don't want you images to look dated. You should come up with a fresh new look that reflects your family style a little more. One person in jeans and a plain top looks great, just steer clear of every person in the image being dressed in the same combo.

Clothing patterns and colours that clash:

I’m a big pattern lover and they can look beautiful in photoshoots but only when kept to a minimum. If one family member is wearing a bold patterned dress or top, use the pattern as a base to pull out some colours from. Dress the other family members in colours that are reflected in that pattern. Avoid all wearing bold items that clash with one another.

Clothes that you feel uncomfortable in:

We all have that dress tucked away that we love but it may not be one we really feel that comfortable wearing or something that may be a little small. If you wear clothes that you don’t feel totally comfortable in and that you are needing to adjust and constantly fix during a shoot it will be reflected in the images! Wear something that makes you feel amazing and is comfortable and no doubt you will feel far more relaxed with a camera following you around.

What you should wear:

The options are endless when it comes to putting together a look for your photoshoot. Picture your family picture on the wall of your home and what would reflect your family style and personality. One client told me she always wears neutrals in her shoots so that she can use her images anywhere in her home and they tie in well to whatever style she has the home decorated in at the time.

When you choose your outfits, decide upon a colour scheme and look for a mix of clothing in that colour range. Include different patterns, textures and styles to pull a whole look together that is fun and interesting and add to it with accessories, such as hats, necklaces and earrings.


Here are a few examples from a recent family shoot that have opted for a simple palate of briwns, whites, blues and greys. These colours always work well together and can be paired in many ways.

Colors and Patterns

Denim is always a staple in everyone’s wardrobe so mix it up by wearing your favourite pieces paired with some colors that work well together. Ditch the shoes and have some fun if your shoot is taking place near the water.


Wear shoes that will work well at the location you are going to and that add to your overall look. Don’t assume that your shoes won’t be seen so ditch the old thongs and wear something that jazzes up your outfit. If we are heading to the beach, heels aren’t going to be the best option (you would be surprised but people do rock up in them!), prepare to go barefoot or wear something that you won’t sink in. Shoes can add great contrast to an outfit and so have fun with it.


At the end of the day, it’s your shoot so have fun with it. Wear something that reflects YOUR personality and is clothing that you will be happy to look at every time you walk past that big beautiful family picture mounted on your wall.

For more ideas or to book your session come visit or family and portrait page:

Jana Johnston Photography Photographs Beautiful families, children and events all across the Greater Sacramento and Sierra Foothills areas including Amador, El Dorado, Placer, and Nevada Counties and more specifically Grass Valley, Nevada City, Auburn, Loomis, Rocklin, Placerville and Jackson.

Call or text 209-304-9235

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