Irvine Family Photographer | What to Wear for Your Photo Shoot

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What to Wear to Your Session with an Irvine Family Photographer

I specialize as an Irvine family photographer. When it comes to deciding what to wear for your family photo shoot, I always say, first and foremost:  don’t wear anything that makes you frown.

Now, that might seem fairly obvious, but the truth is: it’s not. How many times have you picked out brand-new strappy shoes or a fun new dress, and then when it came time to wear it to an event, you were miserable because the fit or feel just wasn’t right?

 So, instead of feeling as fabulous as you thought you would, you’re distracted by your clothes. When you feel this way, it comes across in your portraits, and even worse, just like any mood, it’s easily shared with the rest of your family.

The same goes for kids. While we want them to look their best, kids aren’t usually happiest in very fussy or restrictive clothing. I have some great suggestions on clothing that looks great on is classic enough to look great on your walls for decades in my Fashion Guide. Enter your email, and you can download it right away.

Where to Start

The first thing I suggest for your family photography session is to focus on selecting the perfect outfit for Mom first. You don’t have to get a whole new wardrobe. Start with classic pieces in your closet and build from there. Select clothing with a similar tone for the top and the bottom, and sleeves that come to the elbow are also very flattering. 

From there, a good rule of thumb is to select 1-3 colors from a similar or complementary palette for your whole family to choose from. Think golden sun and trees if you’re thinking of something with a warm outdoorsy vibe.  You could wear a dress with a minimal pattern in muted tones and then choose solid button-down shirts for the men in muted tones that match one of the colors in the pattern. You can use jewelry or scarves as simple accents to tie in colors or add a little bit of pop if you’ve chosen all neutral tones.  

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Once you have decided on the style of family portraits you want, I can help with all the best locations in and around Orange County for your portraits. We’re pretty spoiled for gorgeous locations here in Orange County. If you want a beach look, a nice neutral dress with a flowy skirt with some flat sandals feels as relaxed as it looks. Select textures like cotton or linen blend to wear on a warm day, so stick with those, and then accent neutral tones by selecting navy blues or teals to add a little color punch for outfits for the kids.


Helpful when choosing your wardrobe is also considering the kind of location and family portrait aesthetic which will complement the décor in your home. For instance, if your living room wall is a soft, mocha tone, the pop of fall leaves and rich orange or maroon tones would look stunning.

Suppose your vision for a Southern California family session is a finished canvas that hangs in your formal living room. In that case, you might want to think about doing a studio session where the controlled climate lends itself well for formal clothes keeping everyone comfortable and relaxed. But remember for men that a good rule of thumb is selecting dark socks so they blend in at the bottom of the frame.

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The best tip for creating your family photography session wardrobe is to give everything a test run. Ensure that your skirt is as long as you think it is or that your shirt won’t come up too high if you lift your arms up to hold your baby. Most of all, if you pamper yourself with a trip to the salon, make sure it’s two weeks before your appointment so you have time to get used to any new haircuts or colors. Now that you have your wardrobe thought out, it’s time to make that appointment for your session!

For your own session with an Irvine family photographer, contact Diane Gabriel Photography at (714) 366-5445 or online here. For more family content, click on the blog links below.

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