Family Photos..... What to Wear!!!

Its spring time and along with spring cleaning I know lots of people love to get their updated family photos with all the beautiful spring colors! So maybe you have booked a photo session and maybe you are overwhelmed with the thought of planning your family photo session in your backyard with your own camera, either way, these tips will help you and your family look their best!! 

So you have decided on a date for your family photos, now comes the hard part of figuring out what everyone is going to wear! As a mom of three daughters this is always a huge job!! So in an effort to make things easier for you, I have outlined a few tips on how to lay out the perfect coordinating outfits that will take your photos to the next level, justl like they came out of a magazine!!! 

Reuss Family Session (32 of 135).jpg
Lake Norman Family Photos

If your home has a signature color scheme try and figure out what that is and what colors compliment that space. If you know there is a certain place you want to hang that family portrait start in that space! Once you identify the colors of those rooms, see if one of those colors look good on you? If not, is there a color that you love to wear that would work well with the colors in that space? For example look at this photo from Pottery Barn. If this was your space and you had a family photo on the wall you may want to find outfits with a light blue, green, yellow, white and a shade of brown, with a cute ridding boot of course ;) - A photo with your family is those colors would compliment this space so much more than a family in orange, pink and purple (even though I doubt most families wouldn't have all those in one photos together lol). 

courtesy of  Pottery Barn

courtesy of Pottery Barn

Next tip and this is a BIG one!! Parents, always start with you!! I know its easy to put ourselves last and find the cute item for the kids but its actually so much harder to make you match the kids instead of the kids matching you! For me, if I like the way I look in the photo I am more likely to print it and keep it around the home, post it to Instagram and/or Facebook (and tag Katy Short Photography of course!). So start with those colors you found around your home and find a dress or top you love and feel confident in!! Then, if you have young kids this is easier to find items that they look good in because they always look cute and there are so many options for them!! If you have teenagers who are wanting to decide what they wear the next steps will help you give them guideline so they can find what they want while still giving them guidelines on color and pattern. The goal is that the family still looks like a cohesive unit and everyone is happy with what they are wearing!  But first, find something you love and feel GREAT in!! 

Photo courtesy of  Stylish Petite

Photo courtesy of Stylish Petite

Keep patterns to a minimum...... If everyone has a patten on the shirt (like check, flowers, polkadots, etc.) the eye doesn't know where to look once the photos are printed. I always say keep it to a 3:1 ratio, so if you have just started growing your family and have one child, its best to put them in a pattern bc they are usually front and center. If you have a family of 5-6 you can have 1-2 of them in a pattern and everyone else wears a solid color. So back to that teenager, you can now tell them that they need to wear something with blue, green or yellow and it can or can't have a pattern. Now that they have the guidelines and are still feeling like they are in control of what they wear, will hopefully makes for a happy and smooth process. 

An oldie but a goodie before we had our third!! 

An oldie but a goodie before we had our third!! 

Another great tips is, accent with a fun pop of color! If you have a little girl with yellow pants, then its fun to have mom wear a scarf that is the same color. Or if a little boy has a teal shirt under a navy blue vest then mom or dad could do a shirt in that teal color. But try to limit the bright pops of color to one or two items. Like in this example the twins are in a pattern with a little yellow so big sister got to pop in an all yellow dress! Nailed it! 

20150502_185440000_iOS 1 copy.jpg

Don't put everyone in one color! There was a huge trend in the 90's where everyone wore white and it needs to stay in the 90's lol! A few years ago we gifted my in-laws a photo session with a local photographer for Christmas (they LOVED it by the way! So if you have that person that is hard to buy for, contact me about gift cards!!). Well the second year we did it, my mother-in-law wanted all the boys in the family to be in blue and the women in pink. Everyone in their family (three boys) have blue eyes and the blue shirt makes their eyes pop.  This is great but the problem was that everyone wore all different shades of blue and pink. When this happens you are drawn to all the different shades and how the colors don't really flow, so when I see this I don't focus on everyone's faces in the photos instead I notice all the different blues. So whats interesting is by making everyone the same, it takes away from everyone's faces in the photo. I will say there is one exception to this and its if you have twins/triplets/ quadruplets..... in that case they are always cute when they are dressed the same! 

Photo Courtesy of  Melissa Butler Photography

Photo Courtesy of Melissa Butler Photography

I hope this helps you and your family look their best and take away some of the stress of having an upcoming family photo session! As always, when your a client on KSP I am here to help you from start to end to make your photos your best ones yet. Please don't hesitate to ask questions or send me your clothing laid out to see if it will all work together and in the space we planed your photo session. 



About the Author:

Katy Short started as a family photographer about 4 years ago but does any and all things from engagements, to weddings, to newborns and family portraits with young and grown kids. She loves God, her Mr. Fix-it husband, three daughters, anything with chocolate. She is grew up in southern Louisiana but loves that she gets to call Mooresville, NC home and she secretly hopes to be able to move back so her daughter’s can experience all the unique things that make Louisiana special.



Lake Norman Family Portraits | The Glasgow Family

The Glasgow Family

Maureen is the type of mom I strive to be!! Be honest, how many of yall get your Christmas cards out before Thanksgiving?? In her initial message to me she asked if I had availability to take her family photos because she usually gets her Christmas cards out before Thanksgiving!! Those of you that get Christmas cards out or even ordered before Thanksgiving get a gold star in my book!!! I am lucky if I even have a photo of my family together by thanksgiving, let along decide on a card and have it ordered by Christmas, for me, that is winning!!! 

Lake Norman Family Session

Maureen, Art, their two youngest boys, Liam and Riley, and Maureen's mother Kathy, were a dream to work with! The live on Lake Norman and had a beautiful setting next to their home for some evening photos.  We had some concerns on if the weather would hold out (rain was originally in the forecast) and to my pleasure we had a few clouds but the rain stayed away until later that evening!

Lake Norman Family Photographer
Glasgow Family Portrait Session 2017-11.jpg

One of Art's requests was that their two female Australian goodendoodles would be in the photos! These two ladies were full of energy and loved the fall leaves (especially Sadie) which got a few laughs from the family! We were able to get a few photos of the dog which is always fun when you can get the those special family members included!

Lake Norman Photographer
Lake Norman Photos
Lake Norman Photography

The one thing that stood out to me the most from this photography session was the love this family has and came through in everything they did! In just the short time I spend with them, you can tell how much these two boys LOVE their mom and would do anything for her!! And it doesn't stop there, Maureen and her mom have such a special bond and can tell they are not only mother and daughter but great friends. Lastly, Maureen and Art, at first Art comes off as the conservative and not a huge talker but I soon realized that he has a goofy side with strategic timing (Ill keep the "supermodel" pose on the blanket in their private gallery, lol). Some of my favorite photos are with the moms and dads during my sessions, it always seems awkward when I tell them to look into each others eyes but you always get some of the best most sincere smiles and you get a glimpse of the love they have for each other and Art and Maureen did not disappoint during these photos! 

Lake Norman Photos
Lake Norman Family Photos

Maureen and Art, thank you for asking me to take photos of your sweet family. Your boys are so kind and will grow up to be amazing men and adults! I hope you love and treasure these photos! 



Katy Short is a family photographer but does any and all things from engagements, to weddings, to newborns and family portraits with young and grown kids. She loves God, her Mr. Fix-it husband, three daughters, anything with chocolate. She is grew up in southern Louisiana but loves that she gets to call Mooresville, NC home and she secretly hopes to be able to move back so her daughter’s can experience all the unique things that make southern Louisiana so special. Please email Katy at for your next photography needs.