What to wear for your FAMILY photos

What to wear for a family, newborn, or maternity photos is one of the common questions before the photo session. How you dress for your family, maternity, or newborn photo session is one of the most important factors for gorgeous photographs and a successful session. In general, the colors and textures of your outfits will set the mood and tone of your images. Lighter outfits make for lighter photographs, which can really help for in-home sessions given that Toronto homes can have poor lighting.

Please start thinking about your outfits well ahead of your family or maternity photo session – you may need time to find all the items and to coordinate with them well. It can be overwhelming to select outfits, especially if you need to select clothes not only for yourself but for all members of your family. I hope this guidance can make things easier.

Best color schemes

I recommend putting some thought into your preferred color palette for the set of family outfits. The main groups of colors include neutrals, earth tones, and blue tones. Neutrals include light colors and soft tones like oatmeal, beige, gray, and light brown, while earth tones are warm, rich, and more bold colors, and blue tones are cool colors and include so many shades for example light turquoise, sky blue, chambray, and navy.


Neutrals are classic and timeless colors and patterns, and generally combine well across outfits, seasons, and styles. The colors in this palette include blush/dusty pinks, light ivory and creams, whites, and soft muted browns. Neutral Colors are perfect for maternity and newborn photography. They look beautiful and impart a softer, lighter, and natural look to photographs.

Earth Tones

Earth tones are more bold, and include warm cozy shades such as dusty orange, pink, red, brown, and dark olive. These rich tones create depth, and give moody vibes to photographs. This palette is perfect for colorful fall sessions.

Blue Tones

Blues are cool tones which are generally complimentary with the other palettes, and can be included in any session or season. For example, denim blue can really work with neutral colors, and with warm orange or rose tones.

Color Palettes

Denim + Pastel Blue, pink + neutral or tan
Blush blue, pink, grey + tan
Light neutrals + hint of color

Earth tones + light neutrals
Burnt orange and olive
Burgundy, burnt orange + navy

two scenarios: choosing outfits for the family

1) choose one statement piece with a few colors, for example a floral dress for Mom, and then coordinate the other outfits by selecting a solid color from the floral print. For example, if a dress has a blue and white pattern, then another adult outfit could be a white shirt with khaki pants. A child can then wear a white top/dress, blue jeans or even subdued dusty pink dress. Blue And khaki colors complement each other well, and blue and pink is a classic combination. These color palettes are coordinated and do not overwhelm with patterns.
2) start with the outfit for the youngest, and pull colors from that outfit to dress everyone else.


It might be tricky to combine several patterns in larger families’ outfits. Ideally, I would recommend to select only one outfit item with a pattern, and the rest of the outfit preferably to be in solid colors. I also prefer medium-sized patterns which don’t pull attention from the people in the picture. However, please avoid moirĂ© patterns because they create a distortion effect across images. MoirĂ© patterns include repetitive stripes, crisscross patterns or waves and can be typical of men’s shirts.

The Don’ts

  • Please don’t wear black tops – they don’t coordinate well.
  • Please avoid bright neon colors because they give so much reflection.
  • Please don’t wear clothing with large logos or any text printed on them.
  • Please avoid mixing too many colors or patterns.


As a photographer I really want to show your glow. I want you to feel amazing, comfortable, and very special! My advice is to choose the most flattering maternity outfit. This is always a personal choice. If you are up for a maternity dress, please choose a maxi dress which goes right to the bottom, which flows nicely from the middle of your bump, and creates flares. It could be a boho or cottage style dress. Lace, ruffles, and little details always create more interest and depth in photographs.

If you think that investing into a maternity dress is a waste of money because you will wear it just a couple of times before the baby is born, I will try to reassure you that it is a worthwhile investment! There are a bunch of companies which offer ‘bump friendly’ dresses. It means you can wear them postpartum as well. They are very stretchy, adjustable, and easily altered to size. Here is a list of the maternity clothing companies that I love: Baltic Born, Free People, Pink Blush, Morning Lavender, Lait Collection, and The Bay.

If you are not a dress person, I totally understand that. Instead, combine simple tops with textured overlays, such as a big open sweater, a cardigan, or a lace or crochet kimono. Layers can look beautiful in photographs.

What color do you prefer for your maternity photoshoot? As I mentioned above, I recommend lighter colors because they create lighter images, and definitely suggest avoiding black or dark colors, or clothing with large or geometric patterns. They can hide your bump under some angles, and our goal is to show off that beautiful bump.


I encourage you to wear a dress for your newborn session, and for the same reasons as for a maternity session: a dress always looks special, it is cute and romantic, and it is easier to coordinate with other outfits because it’s only one piece. Just put it on and you are ready! If a dress is not your thing, then pick something you love. You can keep things simple but at the same time create more visual interest using layering. Wear an open cardigan over your top and it will give more interest.

Neutral colors such as ivory, oatmeal, creams, and whites would be my preference for a newborn session. Natural fabrics like soft cotton or linen look very nice in photographs. Be cautious though because some cotton and linen fabrics could be very wrinkly and harsh.

Many babies are so tiny in the first two weeks, and even 0-3 months clothing size will be too big for them. Baby’s clothing labeled NB or premie size might fit much better. Please try your baby’s outfit before the session to be sure it fits. The color of your newborn outfit should complement the colors of yours.

Above all, please be comfortable in your clothing and feel happy!

If you are expecting a baby and are looking for maternity, newborn, or family photographer in Toronto, please check out my home page here, and feel free to ask any questions.

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