What to Wear for Family Photos: 2023 Summer Edition

Family, Maternity, Newborn

Jun 27, 2023

posted on:

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens DMV Summer Mini Session

FAQ: What should we wear for our family photos?

The most frequently asked question I receive upon booking family photo sessions is: “What to wear for family photos?” As both a mom and a photographer, I understand this challenge first hand. I have put together this guided blog post to help answer just that!

The goal here is to take the stress out of planning for your session, so that you are able to enjoy the time with your family, and receive beautiful photos that you will absolutely love!

My hope is that this styling guide will provide you with some tips for what to wear for family photos (or what-not-to-wear), offer you visual inspiration for your family’s outfits this summer, or, provide you with clickable links to take the thinking and shopping off of your plate. See more below 🙂

Northern Virginia Maternity Photos

The Do’s and Don’ts of What to Wear

  •  If you are feeling at a loss for where to start with choosing what to wear for family photos, start with one person and go from there. Usually I find it easiest to start with mom, but it can be anyone! Choose what you want to wear and build the rest of the outfits around it. 
  • Don’t be afraid to dress up! I mean, why not? How often do we gather our children for professional photos, right? 
  • Consider the color palette and your skin. The colors you choose and how they photograph is directly related to how the colors reflect on your skin. While I am never opposed to pops of color, neon colors, bright reds, yellows, and oranges will reflect into your skin or those next to you. Neutrals and muted tones are foolproof and compliment any background.
  • For women: I personally love dresses on mom. A midi or maxi dress will immediately elevate photos and allow you to bend down to your kids’ level for all different kinds of poses. 
  • For men: I always encourage men to avoid shorts and sandals and of course, no cell phones, keys, etc. in pockets!
  • Props/Accessories: Wide brim hats, shawls, scarves, etc. just give us more elements to play with. If any of these things speak to you, then I say yes!
  • I personally LOVE texture and movement. They are my favorite elements of principle and design when it comes to portraits. Adding texture to your wardrobe adds dimension overall. (For example, knitwear, velvet…) I also love capturing movement. I like to do some of this in how I pose and conduct your session, but we can also do this with wardrobe. If mom or daughter has a dress that might catch the wind or give a lovely twirl, it adds so much life to the photos!
Virginia Beach Family Photos
Summer Family Styling Guide 2023

Earthy neutrals are the chameleon of color palettes. They flatter with most skin tones, work well within any season or amongst any background, and display beautifully no matter which room or decor in your home. When in doubt, choose an earth tone neutral that you love and build your family’s wardrobe around it.

Red, white, and blue feels like classic American summer, doesn’t it? Something about this color palette feels colorful, fun, and classic all at the same time! In these outfits I imagine golden sunsets, meadows, kids eating ice cream cones or watermelons, a picnic blanket, and catching fireflies. It just “feels like summer”. I’ve created both a soft and a bold red, white, and blue palette below!

There is nothing like classic white and linen for summer. It’s clean, relaxed, and chic all at the same time. It feels like brunch on a boat, or a Sunday stroll through the city.

This color palette is lively and fun. It gives you a timeless blue with pop of pink. These outfits also pull together a healthy mix of patterns and textures!

I couldn’t put together a summer styling guide without including one that feels like summer in Greece. If you are traveling to Greece this summer, this one may be for you! If you are planning your photos in DC, the monuments would be a perfect backdrop for this look. However, we can also bring Greece to the DMV and photograph an evening by the water with twinkle lights or lanterns nearby, sun-kissed skin and a glass of wine with your loved ones, while the kids run free as the sun sets.

Booking Your DMV Summer Mini Session

Summer is bittersweet. We only get 17 (maybe 18?) summers with our kids while they are all young and together at home in the summer. As both a business owner and a mom, I understand first hand how challenging it can be to simply hit “pause” on work, daily obligations, and activities.

However, what if those 18 years with 17 summers go by faster than we think and we only have iPhone captures to show for it? It’s so hard to remember the sweet days of eating watermelon on the porch, the laughter as they run free in the sunshine and grass, or pick up seashells along the shore with pure innocent excitement.

Together with my husband, we have been intentionally slowing down for such moments of joyful childhood moments, enjoying summer reading with book lights before bed, and taking more fun day trips. We’ve even been trying to squeeze in more date nights. As a visual artist, I find so much inspiration within moments of daily life, watching my husband with our kids, and seeing the world through their eyes.

I am excited to offer the same for your family this summer: simple and adventure-filled photo fun through summer mini sessions.

You can view more information on DMV Summer Mini Sessions here. Or, to inquire about more opportunities for documenting your days and milestones, inquire here.

Alexis El Massih is a wedding and portrait photographer, serving Washington DC, Maryland, Virginia, and destinations beyond.