Stress-free tips for dressing your kids for family photos

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I am Neyssa Lee a Seattle area photographer, mom of 6, planning obsessed, and who help you see the beauty, love and joy, in your own family’s chaos. I also use my super power of time management to help fellow photographers take control of their businesses. Learn more by heading to my ABOUT ME page.

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Hi, I'm Neyssa

Getting a family ready for family photos can seem daunting. Before her session, one mother told me that it’s always such a hassle trying to pull together outfits for her kids. I get it, especially if you have multiple kids, trying to coordinate everyone can be challenging. However, I want to help you with these tips on dressing your kids for family photos.

The first few tips will most likely surprise you. Read until the end though, I include a few of my favorite places for kids’ clothes that photograph (and wear) beautifully. Make sure you’re brushed up on what to wear for family photos tips as you’re thinking about the kids outfits too!

Family of five on Mercer Island for family photos, inspiration for dressing kids for family photos

Consider coordinating options as you refresh your child’s wardrobe each season.

So this first tip may sound crazy to many of you. I must confess, I love picking out outfits for my kids. Yup, I’m a nerd, and I think about it way in advance. By doing so, I relieve a lot of stress when it comes time to put together outfits. So in the spring and fall when I’m already shopping for my kids, I try to purchase items for my kids that coordinate.

Shopping at one store helps colors match.

I would say the most difficult part of coordinating outfits is how many shades of colors there are and they don’t match. So if the colors you’ve chosen for your family photo session are navy and white with pops of yellow and red, you want to make sure the reds and yellows are the same across your kids.

What do I mean? Well, look in your closet and grab a red shirt. Now without holding onto that shirt, go do the same thing and find red in everyone else’s. Chances are, those reds are all different and will clash. You could have Christmas red, faded red, orangey red, and the list goes on.

To avoid this problem, I suggest sticking with one store when you buy your kid’s clothing for family photos. Each season they will have colors that you can find across all of the kids’ clothing – from infant to teenager.

This tip is more important with colors that are more difficult to match. Neutrals and navy are pretty easy across the board. However, teal, red, and pink can be a bit more challenging.

Baby boy in red beanie hat sitting in big sister's lap during portrait session in North Bend, Wa

Use layers for warmth and color.

This family did a beautiful job of using layers to add color. Baby boy’s red hat is a perfect pop of red that ties in with his sister’s outfit without looking too matchy-matchy. Even better it served to keep his head warm! Other ways to add color and layers are through sweaters, scarves, and mittens.

This tip is great for dressing kids for family photos in the fall and winter in the Seattle area. Warm kids are happy kids. So why not make the most of it but make those layers count and look good?

Sisters twirling during fall family photos in Carnation, Wa

When dressing kids for family photos, think about their outfits head to toe.

Again, this mama nailed it with the red shoes for the youngest daughter, and the bows in the girl’s hair. Know that your photographs will capture entire bodies – shoes and all. So if your son (or husband) only owns tennis shoes that are neon green, you may consider finding a pair of shoes that go with your outfits better. The last thing you want is for those neon shoes to be a major distraction in your family’s photos.

Dress kids with movement and comfort in mind.

Remember, a family photo session with me is not stiff. There are snuggles, tickles, running, jumping, and dancing. There is plenty of movement.

Make sure your kids can play comfortably.

Of course, you want them to look nice, but if you’re afraid they will get those white pants dirty, maybe they are not the best option for photos. Instead, stick with jeans or darker pants that hide dirt better. We will be outside, playing, and there will be dirt.

Don’t forget undergarments for girls in dresses. My girls love dresses that twirl, and they photograph beautifully. However, make sure you have either tights or under shorts for them!

Girl dancing and playing with mother during family photos in Snoqualmie, WA

Dressing kids for family photos: Favorite places to shop.

I have a few favorite places for clothes for kids that photograph beautifully and my kids enjoy wearing.

These are recommendations that I personally use and love because their clothes photograph beautifully and are comfortable so my kids enjoy wearing the clothing. (Some of these are affiliate links where I may benefit when you purchase using them).

Alice + Ames – They have a classic ballet dress that twirls beautifully. For the past few years, they are almost the only dresses my girls wear regularly and can be seen in our family photos numerous times.

Remie Girl – Girls dresses, skirts and leotards. Again, adorable dresses that twirl.

Hanna Anderson – They have something for kids ages newborn to age 14, boys and girls. This is one of my favorite places when matching colors across several of my kids.

Target – Their Cat&Jack line is both affordable and adorable. They, too, have great colors across ages for both boys and girls. Bonus, you can even find coordinating things for mom or dad often too.

Primary – They are great for basics and coordinating across the kids. Since they are mainly solids, I love them for things like undershirts, undershorts (for those dresses), polos and cardigans.

Childhoods Clothing – They have mainly things for baby, but do have great pullover crews and peplums for a little bit older kids (up to size 8/9).

Have any other favorite shops for kids’ clothes? Leave me a comment below. I’m always looking for new ideas.

When you book a session with me, I am here to help you every step of the way. So if you’re still in need of help putting together outfits, do not let that stop you from getting photos done.

One mother said to me after getting her family photos back, “Oh my gosh, my favorites ever. I can’t thank you enough. You seriously did SUCH a good job!! The annoyance of getting everyone ready for family pics is worth it every time.”

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