Family Photo Outfits

Over the years, I have somewhat become a master at successfully getting my husband and kids to take family photos without much struggle. I’ve rounded up my biggest tricks and tips for achieving beautiful family photos, from picking coordinated outfits to keeping the kids smiling throughout the whole way.

Family photo session in downtown charleston with outfit inspiration.

I believe that everyone should treasure family photos as they are such valuable memories, especially the ones with little ones. Time is fleeting, so it’s important to learn how to keep and master the art of reading session photos with joy and ease. You will never regret spending money on capturing these memories and will always look back on them without any remorse.

All images in this article are courtesy of Caitlyn Motycka Photography.

Finding the Perfect Photographer

We are fortunate to have such a wonderful photographer and friend who specializes in emotive and classic photography. Caitlyn Motycka is an extremely talented photographer who loves soft color palettes and lots of light, making her perfect for coastal and self-loving photography. Not only does she specialize in family and newborn photography, but she also excels in maternity photography. These family photos are not only beautiful but also fun and stress-free.

Kids' outfits for family photo session.
Girl's dress inspiration for family photo inspiration.

Instagram is also a great place to find local talent that fits your personal aesthetic, whether you prefer a more moody and dark side or a lighter and airy Caitlyn-like vibe. I recommend asking a few of your friends about their own experiences with family photographers in the area as a first step in finding the perfect photographer for your family photos.

I have found that finding the perfect photographer means ensuring a seamless experience with someone whose personality “jives” with yours, which can be difficult when you feel like you are being interviewed by all prospective clients. It is important to make sure that the expense of booking a Family photoshoot is well worth the time and money you are investing, but don’t feel overwhelmed by suggesting a phone call before making the decision.

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Family photo outfit inspiration in downtown Charleston,SC.

Caitlyn goes above and beyond to make you feel like family, from the easiest planning of locations and wardrobe selections for her gorgeous downtown Charleston studio. She makes the process so natural and peaceful that you won’t even feel like you have an additional person in your home. She knows exactly when you don’t want the door open for a photographer, especially during those exhausting days with a newborn in the house.

The Details

It’s challenging to go wrong with Charleston’s downtown historic charm and beautiful beaches. We’re lucky to live close enough to capture family photos that capture the charming vibe. Once you have a booked photographer, it’s time to start thinking about the perfect time to capture your family’s vibe.

I recommend picking a location that means something special to you or your family, a place that captures the season of life you’re currently in. For our latest session, Caitlyn and I met at her downtown studio and walked over some iconic cobblestone streets in Charleston.

Family photos walking in downtown Charleston.

The reason why the “Golden Hour,” frequently referred to as the perfect time, is universally flattering is because it creates a light that is either too soft or too bold. This is a very popular choice among photographers, especially before sunset or after sunrise. It is also important to consider this when scheduling your family photos.

During a family photo session, when the kiddo is “hangry” and cranky, Caitlyn always recommends feeding the child well in the late afternoon. While some kids are early birds, others are not. I also take into consideration that my kids will be on their best behavior.

How to Coordinate Outfits

I would start by picking a color palette that reflects the style you’re going for and the photos you’re taking. Thankfully, we’ve moved on from those long gone days of matching khaki or denim. Now, I almost know all of us have a family photo from our childhood.

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Family photo outfits, with sage green dress and neutral kid's clothing.

In the fall, I love the beach but I would prefer to see earthy tones like tans, blues, and creams reflecting the light, instead of competing with the scenery. The mountains, in particular, would look especially beautiful with these colors.

When taking photos, logos can often be distracting. It is advisable to avoid logos whenever possible. Just like stark white, bright red, or black, it is recommended to stay away from any vibrant or extremely dark colors. Opt for more subdued alternatives. Personally, I prefer using neutral colors to maintain a clean aesthetic when taking photos in my own home.

You can always keep a few people in solid colors, so you don’t get too busy. I like to mix subtle florals, keeping stripes, dots, and plaid small and soft, without becoming overwhelming. It’s recommended to keep patterns large and bold, rather than small and soft. It’s always fun to play with different patterns.

Kids coordinating outfits for family photos.

Make sure to capture on camera the beautiful and cohesive look you are aiming for. Also, take into consideration the time of year when taking photos. For the summer and spring, make sure to use lighter pastels or neutrals. In the winter and fall, it’s easier to create a softer look by using tones like blue slate, olive green, rust, and camel.

Outfit Inspiration

The new coffee shop in town is a great place to relax and catch up with friends.Output: The recent café in the city is an excellent spot to unwind and reconnect with buddies.

What to wear for summer family photos.

Summer: women’s attire, women’s footwear, girls’ clothing, girls’ sandals, men’s top, men’s trousers, men’s footwear, boys’ top, boys’ shorts, boys’ footwear.

What to wear for spring family photos.

Infant sandals, infant onesie, boys’ sneakers, boys’ trousers, boys’ top, girls’ sandals, girls’ gown, men’s footwear, men’s trousers, men’s top, women’s high heels, women’s gown.

What to wear for fall family photos.

Fall fashion includes a selection of attire such as women’s dresses, riding boots, and hats, men’s shackets, chinos, and boots, girls’ dresses and boots, and boys’ plaid shirts, pants, and shoes.

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What to wear for winter family photos.

Women’s boots, women’s dress, women’s hat, men’s sweater, men’s jeans, men’s shoes, girls’ floral dress, girls’ riding boots, plaid toddler boy, toddler boy’s jeans, toddler boy’s boots.

Long maxi and flowy dresses for women for family photos.

Green dress with a floral pattern, off-white dress, dress with blue floral print, green dress located at the bottom left, green dress located at the top right, blue dress, taupe dress, and white dress.

Tips for Photos with Kids

To ensure a successful family photoshoot, I think the biggest tip is to make sure children are well-fed and well-rested. Anyone who knows kids knows that tired and hungry children can be a recipe for disaster, so it’s important to arrive prepared and pack snacks.

Kid's outfits for family pictures in downtown Charleston.

If you have toddlers or babies, you can also make the event fun by bringing a special appearance in some photos, which may even distract them. Choose wisely! Caitlyn is incredible because she brings her toys, which made their way into our last photos. Theo was being Theo because it can be fun to make a special promise to everyone – a hot cocoa or a special ice cream treat afterwards if things go well in this little bribery case.

Girl's white lace dress in family photos.
Boy's family photos outfit.

To begin the photo shoot at Caitlyn’s amazing new studio, we all dressed up and walked there. We made sure everyone looked their best before showing off our incredible outfits. I packed a “go bag” for each child, including accessories, socks, and shoes, so that they have everything they need. I want to avoid any tears or spills, so I curated the outfits carefully. Another big tip is to avoid getting the kids dressed at the very last minute.

Kid's running in Charleston SC for family pictures.

Family Photos

So, what do you think? Are you finally ready to tackle those family photos you’ve been putting off for years? If you follow my tips and tricks and pack your patience, I can almost guarantee a successful outcome. Heck, I might even make this a new annual tradition for your family. I promise, you won’t regret anything and these pictures will be something you’ll cherish for years to come. Don’t forget to drop your own tips below the photos!

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