The clothing that you wear can be the difference between good photos and fantastic photos so I'm here to help you select amazing outfits for your family.

My advice is to start with one person's outfit. Choose the hardest person to dress first and then decide the rest of the outfits based on that.

For women and older girls, I personally love long, flowy dresses because of the movement it creates. But movement can be added with long dusters, too. For babies and smaller girls who will be held most of the session, a romper or something without a skirt is best. Skirts always get squished, anyway.

For boys, overalls, rompers, and suspenders are really cute. For older boys and men, I love Henleys, casual button-ups, and sweaters... just stay away from hoodies, turtlenecks, polos, and dress shirts that look like they're about to head to the office.

what to wear to my next family photo shoot in Santa Barbara with Tristin Tracy Photography
Best clothing to wear to a family photo session with Tristin Tracy Photography
mom and dad kissing during family photoshoot what to wear with Tristin Tracy Photography

Textures are your best friend. Rather than getting smooth fabrics, look for things with some texture because it photographs beautifully!

Stick to 1 pattern for a three-person family, 1-2 patterns for four people, 2-3 for 5 people, and so on. Or be unpredictable and stick to all solids, just be sure to get a lot of textured fabric to create interest. I love florals and stripes (just not thin and close-together stripes, they create a weird effect in photos).

AVOID all of the following: Small patterns with contrasting colors. Patterns that are too trendy that they date your photos. Words, logos, and characters. Neon colors on anything, even the soles of shoes. Athletic shoes (but nice chucks are fine). Matching!

What should I wear to my next photoshoot in Santa Barbara foothills
family photo session with photographer Tristin Tracy how to style my family for photos
Tristin Tracy Photographer what to wear


I love warm colors as they work best with my editing, so try to incorporate browns, rust, mustard, mauve, or any warm colors into your outfits. You can use cool colors like blue, turquoise, teal, and green to balance out the warmth but use sparingly. And definitely add in tons of neutrals to keep a good balance of color. Examples of some neutrals are cream, gray, taupe, and tan. I don't recommend bright white (it tends to photograph blue), neon, bright blue/purple, or lots of black.

Remember to keep your location in mind when choosing colors. For example, if the location will have a lot of green, then try not to wear much green because you will blend right in.

If you will be hanging your photos in your home, make sure you choose colors that will look good in your space and not clash with your decor.

Here are some color palette ideas to help you!

color palette for how to dress during family photo shoot

This should go without saying . . . but please remove sunglasses and baseball hats. These items are too casual, create unwanted shadows, and obscure the face. Transition lenses should also be removed.

Remember to empty your pockets! The outline of a cell phone, wallet, and keys is not a good look. Moms remember to remove hair ties from your wrist!

May sure your kids' clothes fit well and won't require much maintenance during the session. I've missed out on many sweet photos because mom was constantly tucking in her daughter's shirt or fixing a finicky collar. You want to relax and enjoy your session, not be worrying about your kids' clothes.

family Hugging on foothills what to wear
how to dress for my next family photoshoot with Tristin Tracy Photography
how to dress baby for next photoshoot

Dressing your newborn

Babies are beautiful in anything – but for your photos, keep it simple. Choose a simple onesie or romper, but keep baby's feet and some skin visible so we can capture some of your baby's sweet newborn details. Have an extra outfit ready in case of spit-up or other accidents!

AVOID anything with a collar that might keep flipping up or that will hide or distract from baby's face.

Whatever outfit you select for your little one, please make sure that it fits well and isn't too big.

Need more help?

I'm here for you.. Reach out with any questions. And feel free to send me your outfit ideas!.