Thank you for choosing Shannon Edney Photography for your portraits!

I am thrilled to help create portraits that you will look back on for years to come. Because these are photos you will cherish for many years, it's natural to want them to be wall frame-worthy. Now that you've selected your photographer, it's time to narrow down outfit selections to ensure everyone in the family looks their best. I know determining what to wear is just as difficult as finding the perfect photographer, it can be a daunting task. You want the whole family not only to look great, but also to have some coordination to bring the family portraits together. As overwhelmed as you may feel, it doesn't have to be stressful and that's why I put this guide together.

Regardless of the location or theme of your family portraits, I hope this guide helps to ease any overwhelm and give you some guidance to find the best outfits for your upcoming portrait session.

to your family portrait session

You booked your family portrait session. Now it's time to get everyone's outfits ready. The following are a handful of stylist-approved tips to consider when deciding what to wear.


Waiting until the last minute, especially with family portraits, is a risk we don't recommend taking. Do yourself, and your family, a favor and plan out everyone's outfit ahead of time. This will give you a chance to make sure everything fits everyone (essential with growing kids!) and is comfortable. Keep in mind you may be posing in different positions so the outfits should be comfortable sitting, squatting, etc. Don't forget to prep the clothes before the day of so they're wrinkle and stain free.


It's safe to assume you're going to want to display your family portraits in your home. That's why you should consider the color scheme of your home when selecting everyone's outfits. For example, if your home is primarily decorated in neutrals you likely won't want to dress everyone in bright colors. Go with a color scheme that's similar or complimentary to your home decor so when the photos are displayed they flow with your home. 


It is best to select colors that are complimentary as opposed to matching. Soft colors such as pink, light blue, lavender, yellow, etc. are very pleasing to the lens. If bolder colors are more your style, red, black, dark blue, purple or orange make for a more dramatic look. Earth tones or contrasting, such as big stripes paired with a solid color, work well too. Pinstripes or small dots generally do not photograph well.


While patterns and prints can be fun, they can also be overwhelming if your entire family is dressed in them. Focus on solid colors for the majority of the outfits. Solid colors tend to photograph beautifully and don't take away from your beautiful family. To add some personality and dimension to everyone's outfits, mix different textures together instead of the use of a lot of patterns. If you want to add a pop of pattern, just be sure it's done in moderation and not included in every family member's outfit. 


Trying to style every family member's outfit at the same time will lead to major overwhelm. Instead, start with a statement piece or outfit for one family member and coordinate colors & styles for other family members that are complementary. Styling looks one at a time makes it easier to visualize how the looks will complement one another.


Gone are the days of the entire family wearing the same exact outfit. Selecting outfits that coordinate, rather than matchy-matchy give your family a complementing aesthetic that's much more modern. It also allows each family member to be an individual and stand out.


An area that is often overlooked is shoes. Remember to style complete head to toe outfits for every family member. Men, avoid wearing white socks with dress shoes. Make sure your shoes are clean, not raggedy or muddy. Barefoot photos can also be fun! For the women, boots, heels, sandals or dress shoes look great.


For children, bring outfits that have a lot of creativity behind them. They can be fun, layered looks, sporty, textures (tutus and ruffles for girls look so cute!), jeans, khakis, sweaters, dresses, etc. "Sunday" wear dress code works well.


Don't forget to add an accessory or two to tie the outfits together. Layers are an easy way to change up the look of your portraits without needing a complete wardrobe change. Scarves, vests, jackets and even blankets are great additions.


Avoid character t-shirts, shirts with sayings, etc. It is best not to get your haircut the day of or the day before a portrait session - try to allow 5 days after a haircut before your photo shoot. Please avoid wearing sunglasses for two hours prior to the session so your face won't have indent marks from the frames. 


My dogs are a huge part of my family, which is why I love when families choose to incorporate pets into their session. I recommend planning for your pet to be at the first part of your session and then either dropping them off or having a friend take them home. We won't use your pet in every photo so it's also nice to have a friend available to hold him or her in between shots.