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  • Writer's pictureLeslie Q Photography

Style Guide for Family Photos

Spring family photoshoot in New Carlisle, Indiana. Mother daughter photoshoot. Leslie Q Photography.
Mother-Daughter Spring Family Portrait in New Carlisle, IN

The most common question I get just before a client's family portrait session is, "what outfits should we wear?" I know it may seem like an easy question to answer, but the truth is there are a few different factors that go into choosing a wardrobe for your entire family. I am a mom and a wife and I know that when I purchase my own families outfits for portraits it can be super stressful and challenging so I am here to help you. With over 7 years of experience in the photography industry I have learned a thing or two along the way to make your lives just a little bit easier. As a photographer based in Northern Indiana (GO Fighting Irish!) there's a few thing's we have to contend with. One, we ALWAYS have to consider our midwest weather and what it's going to do next (we all know this can change by the minute, literally). Two, the seasons can pose challenges of their own. We get hot summers, cold winters, and a windy-rainy spring and fall. Consider these two things when reading this article, you don't want everyone sweating because you chose long sleeves in the middle of summer or everyone shivering when its 30 degrees because they are too cold (blue lips and goose bumps are not fun to edit out). So, without further ado, here's some tips, tricks, and general guidelines to help you choose what to wear for your family photo session.

Be sure to read to the end for a list & links of where to shop for your portrait session.


  1. Consider your home decor and color tones. We are creating custom, fine art portraits that will be printed on gorgeous, luxury wall art and displayed in your home. Choose colors that coordinate with your personal style and look amazing on your walls. This is a good time to think about where you will be displaying your wall art as well.

  2. Think timeless. You will be investing in professional, archival, hand-made printed products that will last for generations, literally. You want your portraits to withstand the test of time with classic, timeless outfits that will never go out of style.

  3. Consider the season. Spring and summer images look great with whites and pastels where as Fall and Winter can be complimented with warm-rustic tones and jewel colors (especially in winter). Neutral color tones such as gray, cream, beige, and off-white look amazing year round and are timeless. (Tip: Bright whites sometimes photograph cool and blue, choose a warmer color white to avoid this happening unless that's the look you're going for.)

  4. Location matters. Depending on the time of year and where your portrait session will be, especially here in Michiana, we need to take into consideration what colors will be the backdrop for your session. Is your session location at the beach with soft pastels of blue, green, and pink? Is it surrounded by greenery and beautiful flowers? Is it in the middle of a field with dried fall foliage? Or, is your session at a gorgeous, white, snow covered location? Remember that you want your outfits to match your surroundings and the theme for that time of year.

  5. Avoid being too "matchy-matchy." Believe it or not, choosing outfits that are not exactly the same, but within the same color family is extremely more visually appealing than when everyone is dressed in the same outfit. Don't get me wrong, there's a time and place for matching Christmas jammies, but for classic family portraits I would avoid them.

  6. Start thinking about styles. By now you should have your overall color tones chosen. Now, it's time to think about the style you want to go with. Do you want your portraits to be more casual or dressy? Layering and staggering clothing items will help your portraits achieve that beautiful visual interest you desire. You can do this by adding vests, scarves, mixing skirts and dresses for girls, and adding bowties, suspenders, and jackets for the guys. Get creative and have fun.

  7. Splurge a little. Don't get me wrong, I'm a thrifty shopper but, when it comes to my families clothing for portraits, I do tend to splurge. Of course, set a budget that works for you, but try to shop at places that offer quality clothing that will fit and photograph nicely. (Tip: Ladies, don't try to hide those curves by wearing baggy clothing, it actually enhances them. Rock those curves and buy an outfit that hugs in all the right places and makes you feel amazing!)

  8. Treat yourself. Ladies nothing makes us feel more glamorous than getting pampered. Go get your hair, makeup, and nails done before your session. I love the amazing staff at Salon Nouveau in Granger. Guys, go ahead and get that beard trimmed and that hair faded too, your pictures will thank you.


Here's a few of the stores that I love to purchase clothing and accessories from:

Don't be afraid to check out your local boutique shops. Sometimes you will find little gems that are completely unique and one of a kind.

Potowatomi conservatory south bend, south bend family photographer.
Spring Portraits at the Potowatomi Conservatory in South Bend

Thank you all for reading my blog today. I truly appreciate each and every one of you!

If you would like to read other tips for choosing outfits and more, be sure to check out my other blog posts.

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