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What to Wear for Wear for Family Holiday Photos

With holiday photo season ramping up, we thought it would be a great time to connect with a professional photographer and ask her what to wear for family holiday photos. We were thrilled that our friend, Raquel Langworthy, who's a family lifestyle photographer servicing New Jersey, Manhattan & Westchester New York, was willing to give us her advice on the subject!

Fall is fast approaching and as a family photographer that means I’ve just begun my busy season. I’ve had the pleasure of capturing families for six years, and my most frequently asked question is, “What should we wear?” I’m no fashion expert, but there is a method to planning outfit that will give you a clean look. Here are some tips I give my clients when thinking through their outfits.


Location = Canvas

It’s important to really think about where you’re going to be photographed because it should set the tone for your clothing. If you have some stellar street art murals that will make for the perfect urban family session, it’s probably a good idea to keep your clothes solid neutral colors with pops of color in your accessories. If you have a local ranch with tall grasses and wood fences, it’s best to keep your attire more casual chic.


Statement Piece

It might be a fun pattered top you found for yourself, or matching dresses you found for your twin girls. The key is to find something you love, and plan outfits around it. As an example, lets say you found dresses for your daughters that have purple, blue and pink in them. You could put your husband in a purple button-up, and you could wear a solid blue top or dress. Or, you and your husband can be in more neutral tones to really make the girls pop. Your statement piece could also be the blanket you plan to bring to your session. I had one mother use a gorgeous fall plaid blanket last year. She did a lovely job planning attire around it.


Large-Scale & Small-Scale Patterns

Large-scale patterns are big and bold. Small-scale are tight like tiny dots. Often it’s difficult to make out a small-scale pattern from a distance. My rule is only one person should be wearing a large-scale pattern in your family, unless you decide for the kids to be matching. Let’s say you pick out a skirt to wear that has a bold floral pattern, it’s best to pull colors from your skirt for everyone else to wear. Choose either small-scale patterns or solids for everyone else. Your son could wear a tight plaid shirt and your husband a solid.


Let The Weather Be An Asset

Fall is prime time for family sessions, which means sometime it’s wet and cold. Let these things be an asset to your clothing choices rather than throwing your coat aside and freezing. Each fall I see the most adorable dress coats for kids. Partnering them with a fun pair of rain boots & mittens not only makes for good photos, it insures your kids are warm and happy during your session. That goes for you and your partner too. Pick out a leather sleeve trench or a classic quilted jacket. The important thing is that you’re comfortable and warm. Lean into the weather!

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Play With Texture

I personally love neutral tones for clothes for holiday photos. You might think that sounds boring, but its not if you play with texture. Combine wools with knits and pleated or folded cottons. Everyone could be wearing sold colors, but textures will alter their appearance a great deal. I think men look great it navy or dark pants too, not just jeans or kakis.

Babe In Arms

You and your partner will likely be holding your child for much of the session. That means for many of the photos you will be their backdrop. Try to make sure their outfit stands out against yours a bit so there is some contrast between you.


Dressy Can Sometimes Mean Stiff

I’m a candid style photographer. That means I look to capture spontaneity and playfulness. Over the years I’ve noticed that the dressier a family gets for photos, the less likely they are to be natural and spontaneous during their session. This isn’t always the case for families with older children, but it often is with little ones. Its tough to roll around on a blanket with your 7-month-old if you’re worried about your dress flying up. Or climb up a staircase in spike heels. Then again, if you like a more formal style of photo, dressy clothes are the way to go.


Large Group Coordination

When you’re bringing a large family together for a holiday photos session, coordinating outfits can be tricky. It’s best to pick one color and some neutral tones so that everyone doesn’t show up wearing the same thing. A palette I’ve seen work nicely is navy, blue, white, and gray. Blue is a shade that has a lot of variation without being overly garish.

Thank you to Raquel Langworthy for these helpful tips and for sharing these lovely images with us!

This is not a sponsored post.

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