what to wear for family photos

Like many families, we try to take photos together each fall. This year we spent 30 minutes on a chilly October morning at one of our favorite parks with our photographer/friend Shandy and got a bunch of great shots. But choosing outfits is always super stressful...I want us to look unified but not matchy, and I don't want to buy anything new. So I go into each person's closet and pull a few favorites from each, and then lay everything out next to each other and try to choose a color theme. It's a huge mess, but it's the best way I've found that works. I'm not typically a fan of red, but it pops well in photos so we gave it a shot. These might be our best yet!

How to choose outfits for family photos

  • My best tip: Everyone in our family is wearing red somewhere, but that's not necessarily how you have to do it. As a general rule, it looks best when each color you choose shows up at least twice. For instance, my shirt matches Rooney's scarf, and my scarf matches her hat. All our shoes are brown, as well as Rooney's cardigan and the pocket on Eric's sweater. And Rooney and I are both wearing black pants. It's subtle, but Eric's sweater matches the inside of Rooney's cardigan (which is showing because of the rolled sleeves). Every color has a "match" somewhere else in the photo. For this reason, I actually found it easier to style four people rather than three (because you have more ways to get each color represented). Of course, none of this matters if you simply change your photos to black and white!
  • Think outside the box! I had to get creative with Rooney this year. Her scarf was actually purchased for Finch, but I couldn't find any other red for her to wear. And, she is wearing my hat and a cardigan about two sizes too big. No one has to know!
  • Small-scale patterns work really well (plaid, stripes, dots, leopard print, buffalo check). Bonus points for mixing prints!
  • Layers add dimension and texture (cardigans, sweaters over button-downs)
  • Accessories add an element of "fun" (hats, scarves, mittens)

I would love to hear how you choose outfits for your family's photos!

P.S. Here's what we wore in 2014 and 2013!