Session highlights, client tips, and photographer resources. 
By Ellen Wagner Photo, an Auburn, Alabama, motherhood and family photographer. 

Four Tips for Choosing Outfits for Family Photos – Fall Edition

“What do I wear to family photos?!” Is that the first question that enters your mind after booking photos?

I know the feeling…

The thought of dragging the kids from store to store is enough to make you throw in the towel before the session is even booked!

Here are a few tips to make sure your family photos look their best this fall!

My full session clients have access to my curated client closet to help solve this problem! If you’re local to Auburn, AL, I would love to work with your family. If you ended up here because you’re searching for what to wear, keep reading! This article contains affiliate links.

clothing rack filled with children's clothing in a neutral, soft toned color palette

1. Go Neutral

Sometimes it is tempting to go full-on holiday vibes at your fall session; after all, it is common to use these on holiday cards! I recommend against the red-green-white theme, and here’s why: most of us are investing in family photos once, maybe twice a year. As your photographer, I want your family portraits to be timeless, classic images that can hang on the walls of your home. It is a bit harder to justify investing in wall art when your photos scream ‘Happy Holidays!’

A neutral color palette will look beautiful on both holiday cards and on your walls. Some of my favorite colors for photos are:

  • soft, light neutrals – white, cream, light khaki, light gray, tan, shades of brown
  • soft blue tones
  • soft pink, blush, or mauve
  • olive green or navy

2. Dress Mom First

Generally, you are the ‘hardest’ person to dress. So start with yourself, find something you’re comfortable in, in a color you love, and then build the rest of the family’s wardrobe around what you’ve picked! Try these tips for picking an outfit for yourself:

Wear a Dress

I know – not everyone is a ‘dress person’. However, dresses look beautiful, are flattering, give movement, and are a ‘one-and-done’ outfit! Let’s hit the easy button y’all! If you are comfortable in dresses, I highly recommend an easy, flowy dress for your session.

Pick Something Easy to Move in

Whether your session is indoors or outside, I often have my clients sitting, standing, and even dancing with their families. Tight-fitting outfits or super high heels that you can’t freely move in can make it harder for your photographer to capture organic movement. I love to keep snapping during those ‘in-between’ moments, and if you’re busy adjusting, you won’t be interacting with your family. Look for fit-and-flare or flowy silhouettes for movement and comfort!

Now that you’re set, let’s move on to the rest of the family.

3. Shop Your Closets

It is common to feel like you have to go out and buy new things for a session. Most of the time that isn’t really necessary. You may need to pick up a piece here or there to coordinate a bit better, but generally, I encourage clients to consider items they already own to wear to their photos.


First, it is less work for you!

Second, money saved by using items you already own (or using your photographer’s client closet) can be put towards printing your images so they can be beautifully displayed in your home. YAY!

Third, wearing something you already own, that you’ve likely worn before, creates a feeling of comfort and ease during your session.

4. Consider Solids + Subtle Patterns + Texture

pregnant woman in tan eyelet maxi dress with young boy holding her hand

Just because you’re aiming for neutral doesn’t mean you have to be boring! A classic color palette can still be visually exciting by utilizing subtle patterns and texture!

Some of my favorite elements to add excitement and visual interest: linen-blends, swiss dot fabric, muslin or cotton gauze, gingham, small floral patterns, subtle stripes, buttons or ruffles, and more!

Places to Shop

These four tips give you a bit of direction to start your wardrobe planning! Ready to hit the (virtual) stores? Here are a few places I recommend shopping:

Women – Dresses



collage of two families in muted coordinate clothing

Love this post? Save it to your Pinterest board, and come back to it later!

comments +

Tell me your thoughts!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.