What to Wear in Family Photos from Beyond the Blue Studios


Even with the 90 plus degree weather in Texas, mommas all across the DFW area are color scheming/online shopping/freaking out about their holiday photo wardrobes! As a family photographer (and a momma),  I know this dilemma all too well. Many families only do annual photos in the fall – they want to knock out Christmas card photos and stocking stuffers at one time and do it when it (hopefully) isn’t blazing hot.

Most local photographers have started offering fall mini-sessions (basically a shortened session on a given date or dates at a pre-determined location).  For my personal business at Beyond the Blue Studios, I offer two dates – one in October and one in November – and book morning and afternoon sessions on those days. If I didn’t lump all my fall family sessions together (this year I will be photographing about 30 families), it would be a scheduling nightmare! Like most, I released my dates in the summer and was practically booked within a couple of weeks. Hopefully if you are reading this, you already have your date scheduled with your fave family photographer and your only quandary is what to wear! As a photographer, I love helping clients choose their wardrobe, and your photographer will be best equipped to give you color recommendations based on your location. Smart phone pics of some items or links to online shopping are great ways to show your photographer what you are working with and let them help fill in the blanks.

I figured my approach could best be shown in my photos (though for most of these I had nothing to do with their wardrobe choices! – click on images for higher resolution).

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This is the latest photograph of my family taken by McGowan Images with hair and makeup by Meg B Design. We celebrated out ten-year anniversary in May of this year, so we wanted some pictures to commemorate our anniversary, and throw in a few family shots as well. My end game was to print a series of canvases to hang above our bed. I could devote a whole post to why you should have photographs printed on canvas to be displayed in your home, but that’s for another day.

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With that in mind, I wanted a color scheme that looked good in our bedroom – thus the red, cream, and navy.

Fashion tips for great family photos:

  • The goal with any family portrait wardrobe for me is coordinating, but not matchy-matchy. I generally find one “piece” that I want to use and then coordinate everyone else around it.
  • Bringing in some accent colors here and there add visual interest, and as evidenced above, I am not afraid of mixing and matching patterns. My cream dress has tiny rust flowers on it, the hubby is in plaid, and our little girl has both stripes and florals on, and our son has on a broad stripe with a fun accent of kelly green. I feel like nobody stands out and everything coordinates, but nothing matches exactly.
  • Don’t forget about accessories – scarfs and multi-colored necklaces are great ways to bring the mom’s outfit into the scheme!
  • Give yourself plenty of time – this outfit was a couple of months in the making so try not to wait until the last minute so you don’t have to settle for pieces you don’t love. You can just pick up things as you see them.
  • Save dad for last (he will be the easiest) and he can finish tying up the color scheme with a solid color shirt or sweater. Plus, he will likely be in the background of most posed pics so his attire will likely be covered up.
  • Don’t feel obligated to spend a ton of money on these things – Old Navy, Target, and Kohls are all great places to shop for the whole family. And your neutrals like gray, black, denim, or khaki can all be items that you already own.

In case you need a little inspiration….

In this multi-generational family, making everyone “match” is a bit of a nightmare so they wisely requested bright cool tones. The two busy prints of the middle girls complement the solid teals and pinks, and there is plenty of denim, black, and navy to serve as neutrals.

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Bold jewel tones like the hot pink (right) and the aqua and purple (left) photograph lovely in the fall and serve as a nice contrast against the green/tan of the natural surroundings.


The mix of prints in this gorgeous gray, lime, and navy family is awesome, but the pink shoes and bow on the little girl really make it for me. The pop of unexpected really makes it great! Accessories and shoes are great places for this to happen for both mom and daughters.  And don’t forget about great shoe and hat options for the men too!

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This family is a great example about finding your one key piece and building everyone around it. For them, this sweet baby girl had a great dress so mom and dad stuck with neutrals, but mom added a great pop of color with a coordinating blue scarf! And their whole ensemble screams fall to me (even though it was 90+ degrees when we were shooting these).

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And remember a photographer’s job is to help capture your life for you so try to let them do just that! Relax and encourage your hubby to do the same. At the end of the day, even the outtakes can be pretty darn precious!


Have “photography fashion” questions? Ask away! Gara is ready to answer!


Gara HillGara grew up always the “historian” of her family and friends.  After graduating from Texas A&M in 2002 and Texas Tech in 2006 with a law degree she became a practicing real estate attorney. She craved a creative escape, purchased her firts DSLR camera and signed up for some night photography classes.  She practiced law and took portraits on the side until her son was born in 2009, when she retired from lawyering.  Since then she has been a part-time photographer and designer and full-time mom (now to two beautiful children).  In June 2012, Gara and her family purchased a three-plus acre portrait estate in the middle of Arlington(3825 Bowen Road).  It is rustic and romantic and versatile with so many options for shooting families. As a mom, herself, Gara understands the importance of capturing the memories and personality of your family (and working with squirmy kiddos).  Check her out at Beyond the Blue Studios.


  1. Thanks for the good tips! I have been trying to decide where to start for our upcoming pictures. McGowan Images is doing our first family pictures in November.


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