Tips from your local Santa Barbara family photographer (that’s me!) for selecting the right outfits

Figuring out what to wear to your family photo shoot is not easy, and I know it can be stressful,

How to Dress Your Family

First, you need to decide what kind of feeling you are going for. If you are wanting a warm color palette, consider mustard, brown, rust, cream, burgundy, and taupe. If you want a lighter, more pastel palette, choose clothing that is neutral and light-toned. Colors that would look great for this are cream, white, beige, gray, muted pinks and purples, coral, rose, and light blues. If you are looking for a more dark and moody look, choose some darker colors, but mix in some lighter colors with it to keep it from looking TOO dark. Another idea would be to choose a couple of pops of color, but keep the rest neutral.

Please Do...

Choose well-fitting clothing and something that you feel confident in. I would suggest starting with the pickiest person’s clothing first, then building everyone else’s outfits off of that. You want to coordinate, but not match. So I wouldn’t recommend just saying “We’re doing rust,” and then going out and getting tons of the same colored shirts for everyone. Get a textured knit sweater in rust, a gray shirt for another, a cream floral dress with mustard, pink, and rust for another person, a mustard lace dress for another, etc. See where I am going with this? The goal is to look good together without being matchy-matchy. Change up textures and prints.


Stay away from large logos, cartoon characters, or words on your clothing, as it detracts from the main subject of the photo: you. Avoid too many super dark colors, as it makes photos look dull (avoid black as a base color for an article of clothing, unless it’s pants). Also, please no neon colors, avoid neons like the plague, they make color casts onto skin and it’s not pretty.

The Small Things

Don’t forget to coordinate shoes! This is usually the thing most people forget about, and it really makes a difference. Know what always looks amazing? Brown shoes. Stay away from athletic shoes and shoes with neon colors, even on the soles. Wear shoes that go with the style you are wearing. Unless your session is in your home or on the beach, and in that case, ditch the shoes!

Client Closet

Take advantage of my client closet, especially for maternity sessions! I have dresses, lace robes, etc for clients to borrow during their sessions. Please let me know if you'd like me to bring an item to our session.

Hair Styling

A quick note on hair- keep it loose and flowy, rather than tight and pulled back. I’d rather your child showed up in 2-day-old braids than tight french braids. Messy hair is more inspiring and fun to photograph than perfect hair! But really, if it looks good in wavy curls, then do it because that’s going to photograph the best. And if it’s windy, bring a few hair clips or a headband and it will look amazing! For boys, just do what they normally do!

My Favorite Shops

Zara $$

Joyfolie $$-$$$ (favorite!!)

Target $-$$

H&M $$

Amazon $-$$$

Free People $$$-$$$$

Everlane $$

ASOS $$-$$$$