Picking Family Session Outfits

September 15, 2023

I am a wife, mother, and photographer who is determined to give you and your loved ones timeless and organic keepsake images that will captivate your heart forever.
EPP serves women and families by offering Maternity, Newborn, and Family Photography in the Portland, Oregon Metro Area. Our photography produces personal, relationship focused, film and film-like images.

How to choose a color palette for your family session: 4 things to think about when deciding on your family photography session outfits!

With Family Sessions in full swing, today I want to share a few tips for deciding your family’s wardrobe for your Portland photo session!

As a mom of two, I know that picking out coordinating outfits is a huge part of the stress of getting ready for your family photo session, but I am here to help! I’m sharing four tips for incorporating color into your family photography session color palette, if COLOR is what speaks to your heart!

Now, it’s no surprise that I love neutral clothing options (my client closet is filled with them!) but I also have a love affair with beautiful seasonal tones, and I think many of you do, too. But we can’t all just dress in bright random colors and get the same soft, dreamy, and natural look in the finished photos that I love, and what you’ve hired me to achieve for you. That doesn’t mean that we all need to be “sad beige children” as they say, or that your favorite colors are off limits, by any means.

There are a few things I recommend you think about if you plan to incorporate some color into your family’s photo session color palette that will pay off big time in the end results! And what a better session to showcase than this family and their gorgeous sunset session at Swan Island Dahlia Farm fields just outside of Portland, Oregon!

  1. Overall feel, season

First, think about what you envision for the overall feel, season, or theme of your images. What season is your session taking place? Is it spring, when the air is clear, sunsets are bright, and the fields are covered in true green? In the spring you may want to include lots of white tones, pastels, and clear blues to fit with the environment. In late summer and fall, I like to go with warmer tones and sunset colors. Do you want your photos to have a playful feel? Try mixing in warmer tones with very subtle prints (I always recommend staying away from bold prints and plaids). If you want a soothing vibe, go for lots of neutrals with pops of cooler earth tones. This session was at the peak of summer in the dahlia fields, and we really wanted to emphasize the beautiful warm summer sunset tones in their wardrobe.

2. Compliment skin tones and features

I talk quite a bit about complimenting your features and body shape, but it’s also a great idea to think about complimenting your natural skin tones! I am certainly not a color analysis expert, but everyone has colors that bring out imperfections and colors that make them shine! I absolutely loved how the corals and pinks brought out the warmth of skin tones in this family session! And, because it’s likely that not everyone in your family has the same undertones, I recommend going with an outfit that works best for you as the mom, and keeping the majority of everyone else in neutral, more subtle versions of your color. See how in this family, mom has the boldest/strongest color on, big sister has a light pink to compliment, and dad and little sister’s outfits have neutral bases? (And only one outfit has a pattern on it, which is what I recommend!)

3. Location

You’ll want to think about your session location when deciding on a color palette. If your session is taking place on a beach or riverside, think about coastal colors like blue, grey, sea greens, and yellows. There are all sorts of locations: mountain tops, tall grass fields, gardens, and forested trails. Wherever you are, think about complimenting nature, not being in stark contrast with it. I love how this wardrobe really compliments the dahlia field, both the warm greens and those beautiful summer blooms!

4. Enjoying your photos in your home

Lastly, you’ll want to think about how you plan to enjoy your photos in your home, and how the artwork will coordinate with your home decor in that area of your home. Whether you’re putting up a gallery wall of framed photos or plan to have an album or matted print box to sit on a coffee table, the colors of your family session will absolutely show on the wall and display table. If your home has accents of blues and browns, I would stick with those colors for your photo session as well, rather than brighter or warmer.

I hope these tips were helpful for you when choosing your family’s color palette for your upcoming family photo session! Decision fatigue is real, so I am happy to help each of my clients find the perfect wardrobe for the whole family, whether that’s from my growing Client Closet and an inspiration board, or with actual shoppable links from my favorite online shops!

Ahh, here in Portland, Oregon there is nothing quite like a beautiful dahlia bouquet (or field) to signal the transition of Summer into Fall.

I can’t wait to see your beautiful families soon and help you get photos of your loved ones from out of your to-do list and into your hands and homes!

Did you enjoy seeing this family session? If so, you’ll want to check out my friend’s new blog post, Kelly Bullock, Family Photographer in Wake Forest, NC, here sharing in-home photos of a family with the perfect mix of neutrals with some color in their wardrobe!


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I am a wife, mother, and photographer who is determined to give you and your loved ones timeless and organic keepsake images that will captivate your heart forever.

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