What to Wear for Summer Family Pictures


      Updated May 2019

      If you are planning family pictures for this summer and starting to think about what to wear, you are in the right place! With summer just around the corner,  What to wear in family pictures is the most common question I am asked as a family photographer. And as a mother myself, I know getting my crew picture worthy and coordinated is no small task.

      For general tips on coordinating your family outfits, no matter the season, you may enjoy starting here where I share my favorite tips for dressing your family.  These tips will help you get an idea of the dos and don’t of what to wear for family pictures. These tips are helpful whether you are planning a summer family portrait session or pulling together outfits for a Christmas mini session.

      For what to wear tips specific to family pictures in the summer, read on!


      Most summer family pictures take place outdoors where the grass is green. And the leave are green. You can pretty much guarantee the color green in your background. It is important to keep this in mind when selecting the colors you plan to wear. Some colors look great against a green background while others don’t. I often caution my families to be careful when selecting a color scheme with red in the summer because the combination of red and green can accidentally leave your picture feeling Christmassy.

      Neutral colors are a great choice for summer family pictures outfits. Tan, cream, navy or brown all look perfect paired with greenery.

      Color schemes for family photos
      navy and cream outfit color scheme



      Color schemes for family photos
      navy and yellow outfit color scheme

      Shades of blue also look at home when paired with greens. Especially when mixed with warm neutrals such as tan and brown.

      Color schemes for family photos
      Turquoise and Tan outfit color scheme

      2.ANCHOR COLORS | Warm and Cool Neutrals

      Summer usually brings to mind brighter colors. I love bright colors and tend to wear them on a day to day basis. But in family pictures they can quickly become overwhelming. You will notice in most of my ‘what to wear outfit inspirations’ that a brighter or bolder color is always paired with a neutral. Pinks are often paired with tans. Aquas are paired with navy… This help keep your outfits and your final portrait feel balanced and grounded.

      color wheel

      If you are working with a color and aren’t sure which neutral tone will look best, first decide if the color is a warm or cool tone. Warm colors are with the reds, yellows and oranges on the color wheel. While cool colors are with the blues, greens and purples. If you are working with a warm color, it is best to use a warm neutrals such as tan, beige or brown. Cool colors work well with cool neutrals such as gray, navy blue or black. Of course just like any rule, there are times to break it and exceptions. For example, red can look striking with black or navy. But if you are stuck on pairing your color and neutrals, this little ‘rule’ can help guide your decision.

      Best colors for family pictures outside
      The bright coral is paired with ‘neutral’ navy and gray to balance the outfit.
      Color schemes for family photos
      Aqua and Navy outfit color scheme


      The possibilities are endless when deciding what colors to wear for your summer family photos! Whether you gravitate toward classic and timeless color combinations or love a bold and trendy look, this season’ s colors have a look to fit every style. Check out this season’s hottest colors below and then use them with the color tips above.  It just may spur an idea you wouldn’t have considered.

      Traditional pastels paired with a soft navy and muted mustard for a classic look.

      For a more earthy look, try this color palette.

      Bold and vibrant jewel tones if you prefer a little more color in your life.


      Layers are the magic touch to any outfit. They add texture, visual interest and a wow factor. But in the summer, layers just aren’t practical to wear. Even in the evenings, the temperature can remain in the mid 80s. Not the type of weather you want to layer up in.

      To get the same effect, try adding textures to your outfit. Lace, fringe, beading or tulle all are ways to add texture and visual interest to your outfits with adding layers.


      Movement always looks great in pictures. Whether it is a family walking through the park. A dad tossing his daughter in the air. A little girl twirling like a princess. Or a girl standing on the beach as the wind tousles her hair and blows her dress behind her. Movement helps bring the image to life, tell a story and add visual interest.

      When deciding what to wear for summer family pictures, consider light weight fabrics that will move and flow in the breeze. Flowing maxi skirts, dresses or tutus are all great options.

      If you know you will be at a location that is fairly windy, like the beach,  it can be helpful to select a longer dress. This helps prevent the dress from blowing upward and showing off more than you would like!

      Color schemes for family photos
      Pink and Tan outfit color scheme



      H&M – I love when you can shop at one store for mom, dad, boys and girls. It helps simplify the ‘what to wear’ process. Once you find and outfit you love, it is easy to find outfits for the rest of the family in the same color scheme.

      Norstroms– Another perfect place for one stop shopping! Nordstroms (or Nordstroms rack) also offer fashion for moms, dads, boys and girls.

      FOR MOM

      Anthropology – if unique and eclectic is your style, Anthropology is a can’t miss! You can find  the nearest Anthropology in Beachwood, Ohio.

      The Red dress

      Alter’d State– One of my personal favorite stores to shop! Their Bohemian chic style is perfect for your carefree summer session at the beach. And if you are local, they have a store in Summit Mall, Akron Ohio.

      Free People


      Persnickety – Persnickety specializes in clothing for children. If your style is bold and vibrant, you will love their clothing. They use bold patterns and striking color combinations to create unique and memorable outfits for your little ones.

      Chasing Fireflies -also specializes in children’s clothing from everyday wears to formal holiday outfits.

      You can find more information about  Kristen Fotta Photography by clicking here. Or I’d love to chat! Just send me an email at hello@kristenfottaphotography.com.


      I know selecting outfits for your family pictures can be one of the most challenging parts of planning your photo session.

      Over the years, I have helped countless families style their sessions and plan picture perfect outfits. And I’ve put my favorite tips into a guide to share with you. Just click the link below for your free download.




      Summer weather comes with a whole new color scheme and dress code, so make sure to stick to the color schemes below when picking out your family outfits.

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