The Complete Guide to Coordinating Family Outfits & Other Photo Tips

I get a lot of questions about how I plan my family’s coordinating outfits when we travel or take family photos together. I credit my knack for coordinating outfits to my love of fashion, working as a stylist for Stitch Fix, and always paying attention to the small details.

Obviously, I try to coordinate our outfits for professional family photo shoots, but also when we’re on vacation because I know that I’ll want to frame some of the pictures from our trip. I don’t go overboard, but I do try to plan one day of coordinating outfits. Lucky for me, my kiddos and husband are pretty easy going and are used to my antics by now! Below is my complete guide to coordinating family outfits, plus tips and other things to keep in mind before you travel and/or take family photos!

Most of our photos are taken outdoors, so this guide really focuses on tips and recommendations geared for outdoor photography. Also, many of the links I’ve included are affiliate links. I may earn a small commission, at not extra charge to you, if you purchase items using any of the links provided. Thank you!

Example: We all wore green to the Grand Canyon. This color really popped with the darker tones of the canyon behind us!
CC Beanie | Boy’s Sweatshirts | Women’s Fleece Top

Follow These Steps to Coordinate Your Family Outfits:

1. Seasons

First, I always suggest thinking about the season you’ll be taking photos in, especially if you’ll be outside. Most of the time, we opt for outdoor photos, so this information is important for choosing the right colors and the right style of clothing for the season!

Fall photos – I went with warmer tones like dark yellow and dark green and a hint of maroon.

Fall – If you’re taking photos in the fall, you might want to choose deeper fall tones, like mustard yellows or maroons. Pay attention to the current trends, like booties vs. tall boots.

Winter photos – I went with navy and beige but love the pop of pink in my sweater! Similar Women’s Sweater | Boys’ Sweaters | Similar Men’s Sweater | Women’s Snow Boots | Kids Sperry Boots

Winter – Winter photoshoots can be so fun! We finally had family photos done in Winter Park when we visited last year. I opted for navy blue because it’s easy to find and navy is often considered a neutral color. I went with beige instead of white since most of the background would be snowy!

Spring photos – I went with bright, cheerful tones that matched the beach!
Women’s Maxi Dress | Men’s Shirt | Boy’s Shirt | Teen Shirt

Spring – Spring time is a very popular time for outdoor photos, especially since flowers are in bloom! Neutrals are a great choice if you’re going to have lots of colors in the background.

Summer photos – I went with shorts, it’s hot! We all had on neutrals in either green, white, khaki, or black!
Green Tie Shorts | White Tank | Men’s Polo | Men’s Shorts

Summer – I’ve only had summer photos taken once, I mean the heat in Texas is almost unbearable to be outdoors for too long! But, we opted for shorts, neutral colors, and only spent about 10-15 minutes on this sunflower photo shoot.

2. Ladies First

Once you know what season you’re working with, I highly recommend all the ladies in the group find their outfit first! Then you can coordinate the men’s and children’s outfits after you nail down your pieces. I always feel like I am the hardest to shop for, so getting my outfit and shoes picked out first is always super helpful and eases the stress!

Example: For our winter photos, I started with my sweater first! As soon as I found it online (Old Navy), I began looking for complimentary colors for the boys. They are so much easier to shop for! I knew it would be easy to find navy and beige for them. Then I added in the hats, gloves, and snow boots!

Example: When shopping for our recent beach trip, I found the green maxi dress. I was drawn to that color because I know the waters in Orange Beach are often emerald green. Once I purchased my dress (Amazon) I started looking for tops for the boys that would match. I found Jake’s first (Old Navy) and was able to use it to add more colors for Jereme and Jett. I made this screenshot to double check how the colors would look together

3. Colors

Black is my favorite color! These outfits are more casual, but I am so happy with this photo! Similar shorts | Bodysuit | Boys V-necks |Men’s Top

Even though certain colors are associated with certain seasons (I’m thinking of those warm fall tones here), I cannot recommend enough to wear the colors that you feel your best in! I love wearing black, so we’ve had several photos in blacks and grays. Keep in mind what colors look best with your skin tone and eye color. If you’re wearing pastel colors, make sure everyone in the photo is also in pastels. Do the same with warm and light color tones, too.

4. Styles

Sometimes I feel like all photos start to look the same. Adding in a trendy hat can change the feel of a photo!
Fall Hat | Similar Style Sweater

If you’re like me, then you’re probably already up to date on the current styles and trends! I know that I prefer to be very trendy and wear the current styles of each season. But, sometimes keeping a more classic look for photos will pay off in the end since these trends are constantly changing! Ultimately, you should always wear what makes you feel your best, and be mindful of everyone’s style preferences in your group! And, can you continue wearing these outfits or pieces even after the trip or photoshoot?

5. Solids vs. Prints

We spent the day exploring tide pools and wanted to look cute but be comfy. Boys are in solid green sweatshirts and I’m wearing a printed sweatshirt with green flowers.
Men’s Green Sweatshirt | Boys Green Sweatshirts | Women’s Green Yoga Pants | Women’s Top

For me, I think this is a personal choice. I tend to stick with solids for photoshoots with a photographer, but we wear prints and dress more casually when we’re taking photos on vacation. I try to envision the background when deciding on going with prints or solids! If the background is going to be busy, stick with solids. Often, my boys will wear solids and I’ll wear a matching colored top with print!

6. Background/Scenery

Continuing on with choosing solids, prints, and colors, you need to know what the background is going to be. Think about what colors will be in the photo and then plan your outfits based on the landscape and prints that will complement the background. Helpful tip, it’s better to stand out than blend in with your surroundings!

7. Printing & Framing

The colors in these photos go perfectly with our home decor!

This may sound crazy, but I also plan outfits based on what colors will go with our home décor. I love to print our family photos! But I want everything to match the aesthetic of our house.

8. Accessories

Oh geez, this necklace! Ha!!

This is a big one! Sometimes less is more. I cringe at some of my past photos and the accessories that I wore. Keep in mind that styles are constantly changing and those colorful, chunky necklaces and bracelets may not be “in” for long!

9. Be YOU!

Most importantly, be yourself! You are beautiful and your family is precious. No matter what outfits you go with, you are going to cherish these memories and these photos forever! Let your true style and personality shine!

More Outfit & Color Ideas

Below are more of our favorite color combos and coordinating outfits for your viewing pleasure! I hope these ideas and color schemes help you coordinate the perfect outfits for your next vacation or family photo shoot!

I love these paperbag shorts from Loft! I completed my outfit of tangerine shorts, a white top, Miller sandals and then added in khaki shorts for the boys with similar colored tops that matched my shorts!

While exploring the beaches in San Francisco, we all wore jeans and navy tops. My top is the only one with print.

While exploring the Redwoods, we all wore maroon. It started with my top first, I love this print! I then completed my outfit with maroon hiking pants and a hat. From there, the boys wore different shades of gray hiking pants with maroon sweatshirts.

While hiking in Moab, we wore bright blue and black. I actually started coordinating these outfits with Jereme’s jacket first. Then I found matching hiking pants for me and the vests for the boys. Sometimes it’s easy to match a few pieces when you begin coordinating your outfits with things you already have in your closet!

I based the boy’s outfits on colors from this maxi dress. Each one is wearing a different color from the dress, but we all match very well together!

Other Important Tips & Recommendations:

  • Shoes matter, even on your kids! Make sure they’re clean and match the style of the outfits.
  • It’s perfectly fine to wear white after Labor Day.
  • Make sure that bra straps aren’t visible.
  • Don’t wear hair bands around your wrist, they can be really hard to Photoshop out!
  • You can’t go wrong in neutrals!
  • This is not, and I repeat NOT the time to cut your bangs, cut your hair off, or change your hair color just for family photos or an upcoming trip!
  • I love using Mixtiles to print our vacation photos!
  • I love using Smallwoods to print our professional family photos!

I hope you find some of these outfit examples and tips helpful! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Click here for my complete guide on Simple Photo Tips Anyone Can Master!


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