What to wear for summer family portraits

So you’ve booked a summer family portrait session! You are excited and cannot wait for the day, until the panic of what to wear sets in. You want your family to look their best. Here are some quick tips to get you started on preparing for your summer portraits:

Color is fun! Pinks, reds, blues, purples, yellows and oranges pop out against the lush green of summer. Many photographers will let you work in a change of clothes, and I say take advantage of this offer. Let the kids dress themselves for one outfit… kids have an eye for unexpected color combinations that pop in images. Then compromise with an outfit that you love for the second outfit. Think complementary colors when dressing siblings and family members and not matchy-matchy. When completely stumped on how to start, I always say pick out an outfit that you love for your youngest and then build off the colors in that outfit for everyone else.

Drop the socks and bulky shoes!  Summer is a time for bare feet! Kiddos love let the air hit their toes, but I’m talking about the entire family. Dig out the nail polish add a splash of color to your own toes too! If you insist on shoes, sandals are the way to go. No socks! Did you hear me? No socks!

Forget the sunglasses and avoid nesting them on top of your head. Yes, sunglasses are cool but so are those beautiful eyes that are hiding behind the glasses. Eyes show expression, so let the expression shine! You’ll be glad you did.

And finally, I encourage families to bring along favorite things. Does your daughter have a favorite doll? Bring her along! Does your son adore dinosaurs? Let a few figurines tag along. Do you love reading books as a family… toss a favorite book or two into the bag that day. You get the idea. These favorite things define you, and portrait day is all about capturing your family as your family!


  1. lemaire26 says

    With summer fast approaching, these were GREAT tips for our planned photo shoots. Thanks for a wonderful article.

  2. abheller says

    I was just chatting with a friend this morning about my indecision over what to wear to our upcoming family session. Thanks so much for the advice!

  3. shannonr says

    This is a great tip, I know for me the clothing selection is always the hardest, I cant control if he is in the mood to smile but I can atleast make him look good…LOL! I recently had a friend dress her kids in shades of oranges, the pictures were fabulous when they were done. Thanks for this article :)

  4. BarbaraJ says

    Jessi, these are greatly appreciated tips on summer color and I love the idea of your favorite thing. I could just picture someone sitting on a porch swing with a book in their hands. Great tips and we all need good ideas. Thank you so much. bj

  5. says

    I always do my kids annual portrait in the summer. This year I am going to let, them do tie dye shirts. This will also be a fun summer time I am board project too! We will try agreeing on three colors and going for it. I am looking for a white cotton sundress for my youngest, perfect tee shirt for my son and a summer time tank top for my oldest daughter to make the perfect outfits. Put the older ones in jean short and all in bare feet and look for a really green and grassy place. I am hopping the tie dye colors will give the photos a pop of summer time color fun.

  6. says

    This year I am doing little photoshoots of my granddaughter, Easter, Christmas, 4th of July and thinks like that. Thought I would see how she has changed throughout the year. I love your tips for photoshoots and dressing. Great Articles!!

  7. Tiffany M says

    “No socks!” made me laugh, and I totally agree. Love the color suggestions above and your tips are always so helpful for me!

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