Loads of makeup, fussy kids, everyone dolled up and a rush out the door. It must be time to get gussied up for those family pictures! At least that’s what the chaos looks like in my house!
Last year, I could barely be bothered; I was exhausted with a newborn so we opted for these family Christmas PJs photos for our holiday card.
So this year, it was time to take it up a notch and get dressed up and do the damn thing!
We’ve done a lot of our Christmas family photo sessions at home and, quite frankly, avoided the whole trek-to-the-desert thing. But it is Arizona, and it is lovely. So this year, we went for it!
Yeah, it was a pain. It always is when you’ve got toddlers in the house. But I’m so glad we did it!
If you’ve got an upcoming holiday session and are wondering what the heck to wear for family pictures outside, this guide is for you!
What to Wear for Family Pictures Outside
Consider Your Surroundings
There’s a lot of flexibility when you’re shooting indoors or in your home, but when you’re out in nature you should really take your surroundings into consideration.
I wouldn’t select a pink/orangey dress, for example, that may clash with Sedona’s red rocks.
Try to think of colors that are complementary, provide contrast or (at least) don’t clash with your surroundings.
This doesn’t mean you can’t have fun—I love the idea of ballgowns in unexpected places! If that’s your style, go for it. Just be conscious of colors to avoid clashing.
Still not sure what to wear for family pictures outside? Stick to neutrals, that’s always a lovely look.
Dress Yourself First
Moms by all means, pick your outfit out first! It doesn’t matter if you have no idea where to start when thinking about what to wear for family pictures outside, what you need to do is start with yourself.
Once you have your outfit picked out, everyone else’s can be chosen. This includes picking your theme or color scheme.
If you’re struggling with your closet, consider something like Rent the Runway! That’s where I got this gold sequin skirt I’m wearing in these photos. I highly, highly recommend giving it a go so you’ll be in something fun, new and holiday-ish!
Rent the Runway also lets you pick a backup size, so you don’t have to worry about something not fitting.
Decide on a Color Scheme
Now that you have your outfit picked out, it’s time to consider everyone else!
The easiest way to find a cohesive look is to decide on a color scheme. This doesn’t mean matchy-matchy looks, that whole “everyone wears a white T-shirt thing” is so cheesy and so 90s.
What this means is picking colors that work well together.
My friend Amanda, who owns Amanda Capello Photography and shot our photos this year, also recommends staying away from prints that are too busy. Otherwise, it’s just too distracting!
I’m a huge fan of Pinterest for finding color inspiration, you can even follow my family photo board here for loads of ideas.
Searching Pinterest and Google images for wedding color schemes is another great way to get inspired and find loads of new ideas.
Still need help with family photoshoot outfits? Click here to message me about a virtual styling session!
Visualize Your Outfits
This part is so important when you’re trying to figure out what to wear for family pictures outside!
If you can, I recommend laying your outfits out flat so you can get an idea what they’ll look like together.
If you don’t want to do this step, or maybe don’t have all your outfits yet, you can also create a mood board. I recommend doing this before buying your outfits so you can see what it all looks like together.
You can use a free tool like Keynote on Mac to create a mood board, or Canva!
Simply pop in the photos and you can easily remove the background and see what they all look like together.
This is a bit of a geeky step I suppose, but it really, really helps to see what’s working and what’s not! Plus, if you’re trying to decide between one shirt or another, you can create multiple graphics to see what you like the best! (If you want a tutorial on this, let me know)
Lower Your Expectations
It’s family photos with kids, and when you’ve got toddlers and babies running amok, it’s O.K to lower your expectations a bit.
You may not get a photo where everyone is smiling looking dead-on at the camera but that’s totally fine! The natural shots are more beautiful anyway, IMO. As your family is being captured how they really are.
If you book with a great family photographer who knows how to capture children, you won’t really know how to worry about this anyway. That’s another reason it’s so important to shoot with someone who is experienced in this!
Order Your Cards Quickly
I always order our holiday cards through Minted, I love the quality and the selection!
They can be pricey, so I tend to take advantage by ordering on Black Friday/Cyber Monday or paying attention to sales.
Even if you don’t know exactly what to put on the card, or if you don’t have all your addresses yet, you can pay for your cards to save the deal you’re after and finalize it later! All you have to do is select free professional proofing and then you just edit before selecting final approval.
More Family Christmas Cards & Outfits
Our 2017 Holiday Card in Family Christmas PJs
Our 2016 Holiday Card in a Red Plaid Christmas Skirt
Still need help with your family photoshoot outfits? Email me to book a virtual styling session to style your whole family–stress-free!
Beautiful photos & family! I’m exploring outfit inspo for our family photos this year and found your page! Love it! Can you share this location?! I love the mix of cactus and rocks! Definitely looks like its somewhere outside the valley!
Thanks, Zofia! We shot with Amanda Capello photography in N. Scottsdale. Please tell her I sent you 🙂
such useful tips… I would keep them in mind while do our next photoshoot…love all of yours outfit especially your skirt is gorgeous… you have beautiful family…❤️
Thank you so much for the kind words!
Tillie Adelson says
Stunning family photos!
These are some of the most breathtaking family photos I’ve ever seen! you all look like a fairytale. Wonderful job with the outfits and location!
Oh my goodness, thank you so much for the kind words!!
Azanique S. Rawl says
What beautiful pictures! I love your skirt 🙂
-xo, Azanique | http://www.lotsofsass.com
Thanks! It was a fab RTR find!
You skirt is gorgeous and I’m loving your daughters dress!
How 2 Wear It  http://how2wearit.com
These photos are absolutely beautiful! I love the outfits you all chose!
Thanks so much!
Stop! These photos and outfits are so perfect!
Aww, thank you!
Laura || Walking in Memphis in High Heels says
I really love this skirt that you have on! I love how you dressed the children, you have a gorgeous family!
That’s so sweet, thank you so much!
You have such a beautiful family and I love this skirt on you! So stunning mama!
cute & little
Laura Leigh says
These are beautiful! Your little ones are absolutely precious!
xo Laura Leigh
Your pictures turned out perfect! I adore your sequin maxi skirt!
Your photos are beautiful, I love your fabulous skirt!!
wow you captured such amazing family photos! And i love your sequin skirt!