What to wear on Day In The Life Family Photo Day?!

When you know you have a photoshoot coming up for your family, one of the biggest thoughts in your mind might be, “What is everyone going to wear?!”

The great part about having documentary family photos done is that the clothing part is a bit more laid back than what your might want for your traditional posed or lifestyle portraits. For the most part, kids and parents can wear what they want! The idea behind the photos is that they represent what a real day in your life might look like–so everyone’s normal clothes typically work pretty well for that general idea.

Still though, there are some tips and guidelines you can have your family follow to help your photos come out their very best!

Family photo of a boy running from the scooter his mom is helpfully holding out for him.
Try to avoid shirts with written words–I love this photo, but the first thing my eyes go to is the word on his shirt.
  1. Minimize/avoid clothing with large or obvious written words. The reasoning behind this is that especially in still photos, the viewer’s eye is drawn to the written word. And when you are reminiscing later on through your memories, you want the moment to be the star of the photo, not necessarily the words on someone’s shirt.
Minimize character tees–This one isn’t terrible, but my attention immediately goes to the fact that my son is wearing a Harry Potter shirt, instead of the sweet way he’s adoring his little sister.

2. Minimize/avoid character tees. Along the same lines as the written words, memorable characters can be the first thing the eye is drawn to, and they can potentially distract from the moment the photo is showing you.

Yes to solids or patterns! The gentle floral pattern in her dress helps keep your attention on the scrinchy face she’s making.

DO choose solids or gentle patterns. Stripes, floral, etc. Block patterns, textured solids– those are all fine, too

Avoid neon when possible–While super fun for this snow day, it’s also very much the first thing you see when you glance at this photo. The neons don’t really ruin this photo, but you can see how BRIGHT they are! Sometimes it works, but many times it doesn’t.

Avoid neon. Neon is a whole monster of it’s own, and can be very distracting in photos. It’s best to stay away from neon on photo day if possible.

Do NOT wear matching/coordinating outfits. I can’t even find a photo example of this without using someone else’s photo, which I’d like to avoid–but here, I’m talking about the family photo sessions where everyone is wearing khaki pants and white shirts kind of thing. That can be fun for certain types of sessions, but unless you and your family wear matching outfits every Saturday as a normal part of your routine, this isn’t the photoshoot for matching outfits. Day In The Life sessions are meant to represent your real, candid life. These photos should remind you of what a typical day was like in your life. The only other scenario I could think of (off the top of my head, anyways) where maybe you would have coordinating outfits would be if you have twins or kids that are close siblings and you normally match them to each other. Otherwise, it’s best to avoid matching outfits for the whole family for this particular session.

Break the rules when it’s appropriate! This teen ALWAYS wears quote tees, and she actually didn’t have a non-quote tee to wear for this session! And that’s fine because it accurately portrays her style and personality.

Break these rules if it’s fitting for someone’s personality to wear something on the “avoid” list! For example, maybe your teenager only wears tees with quotes on them. Or your preschooler has a million shirts with Paw Patrol on them. In these instances, it would be odd if they WEREN’T wearing those for the photos and, it will actually help you remember that they used to be obsessed with Paw Patrol!

And that covers it for the most part!! The priority is that you feel happy and comfy on photo day. Wear something that makes you feel good. Wear something that your family will recognize as “YOU” when they see it.

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