what to wear for fall family pictures

      The cooler weather and beautiful jewel tones of fall make it a favorite time to plan a family portrait session. If you are like most families, the most difficult part is planning what to wear for your fall family pictures. Coordinating family outfits is a challenge all its own. And when you added all the vibrant fall background colors into the equation, that can make planning your family outfits even trickier. 

      If you have a family portrait session coming up and are wondering what to wear for fall family pictures, I’m here to help! Just a note, the tips below are geared specifically toward fall family pictures. For general tips and suggestions, such as how to choose a color palette, how to look coordinated without looking too matchy matchy, and how to use accessories to pull your outfits together, be sure to check out my Ultimate Guide for What to Wear in Family Pictures. 

      Now, onto all things fall!


      I alway start by asking my families how they plan to enjoy their portraits. Is this a yearly family picture for their Christmas Card? Or do they need an updated family portrait to hang in their family room? This helps me know how to select the perfect location for their session as well as how to help them when planning their outfits. If you are planning on hanging your family picture up in your house, let’s talk about: 


      Think about the style of your home. Is it formal? Casual? Beachy? Contemporary or Rustic? We want to select a style of clothing that will feel at home in your space. A session at a farm while dressed in cowboy boots and cute sundresses would look perfect in a rustic home. But the same image would feel out of place in a contemporary home. 


      Next, take a look at the colors you tend to decorate with. Are they cool and calming? Bold and Vibrant? Or do you lean toward neutrals? This can help you when you start thinking about what colors you plan to wear for your family pictures. Dressing in colors similar to your room’s decor will help your family portrait fit in well with the overall decor. 

      If you lean toward cool tones, serene blues and have your heart set on fall family pictures, be sure to work closely with your photographer on what to wear as well as your location. A picture heavy in yellow, orange and reds (fall leave colors) may feel out of place in your home. You will want to select your location carefully. 

      custom family photography


      Fall is such an amazing time for family pictures because there are photo options that aren’t available the rest of the year. Pumpkin patches and apple orchards tend to be favorite locations. And of course any location with vibrantly colored leaves is always on the list. Deciding where your fall family pictures will take place will help you as you plan what to wear.

      Here are the three most popular fall family picture locations and how to plan what to wear around them. 


      Session in the apple orchard tend to take place in early fall. And typically before the leaves begin to change colors. The backdrop of your session will be heavy in greens with pops of red or yellow (from the apples). There are many color options that would look perfect on your family here! You could keep your family’s outfits neutral by dressing in tans, camels, browns and adding a pop of color in your accessories. Or for a little more color a scheme of navy, tan and pops of mustard would look amazing. 

      One color I would recommend avoiding at the apple orchard is red. Paired with the green of the trees in the orchard, you picture could accidentally end up with a Christmassy feel. 


      The challenge of a pumpkin patch is that your background will have a lots of orange. But, planning your family wardrobe with that in mind can help create stunning fall family pictures. Rich jewel toned outfits would look amazing with the oranges of the pumpkins. Plums, wine, and rusty reds would all be great choices. Of course you don’t want everyone dresses head to toe is such rich and vibrant colors. But use these colors paired with neutrals such as tan, camel and navy to create a harmonious color palette for your family pictures. 


      family wearing blue, red and gold for fall family pictures

      If your session falls at the peak of the colorful leaves, you will have a beautiful backdrop of reds, yellows and oranges. To ensure your family stands out in your portraits, avoid wearing colors the same as the leaves. In Northeast Ohio, we tend to have lots of bright yellow leaves. So I caution my families against wearing lots of yellow. Instead I suggest navy blue as wonderful contrast to the golden background (or course a yellow statement necklace or belt would be a perfect tie in to the yellow leaves). Or rusty oranges and tans would look beautiful as well. 


      what to wear for fall family pictures

      When picking what colors to wear for your fall family pictures, think of your family’s clothing choice as one big outfit. Your goal is to look coordinated rather than matching. If you are like me and need a visual of what that looks like, just click the links below to see a few of my favorite fall family outfits. 

      Start with 2-3 colors and use those colors in various solids, patterns and accessories in your family’s outfits. I usually recommend choosing one patterned piece in your color scheme to be a focal item. This may be a floral dress for your daughter or a plaid shirt for your son. Once you have a focal item selected, pull colors from it for the other outfits. Mom may choose to wear a solid dress and pull colors from her daughter dress into her outfit with a statement necklace, belt or even with shoes that are a pop of color. 


      A few popular color combinations to wear for fall family photos are:

      Plum, navy and mustard

      Navy, gray and yellow

      Brown, cream and burnt orange

      Wine, tan and cream

      Navy, tan and rust – this outfit would look perfect at a pumpkin patch or at a park surrounded by fall colors. 

      Gray, burnt red and mustard



      Layers always make an outfit look more polished and put together. But layering in the middle of he summer isn’t always easy. Thankfully fall and layers go together like peanut butter and jelly! But, adding layers can also add bulk. And nobody wants that! Especially in family pictures. So how do you add layers without looking bulky?


      I love my slouchy sweater as much as the next person, but in pictures, it won’t love me back. Look for dresses, sweaters and jackets that are tailored to look polished in your pictures. 


      While fall is all about cozy cable knit sweaters, you may want to opt for something a little lighter when it comes to your family picture outfit. Light weight sweaters, open weave knits, or light and airy cardigans tend to be more flattering on. 


      One of my favorite fashion tips is to use a belt to add definition to your waistline. Especially with layers. Throw a belt over a flowy dress or cardigan to keep it from looking bulky in pictures. And, it can double as a pop of color to your outfit. Or help you tie your look into the other members of your family. 


      I know deciding what to wear for your fall family pictures is a big task. Even though most of the time is spent looking at the big picture and how all the outfits will look together, don’t forget to pay attention to the little details as well. Small touches can make a big difference in the overall look of your outfit. Rolling or cuffing up a sleeve so that a little bit of your forearm shows can make a layer appear less bulky. The same is true for choosing a neckline that shows a little more of your skin. Opt for a v-neck or scoop neck top rather than a turtle neck.


      Remember to plan out what shoes each person will wear. (And have your little ones try them on the week before to make sure they still fit). This is a detail that is so easy to over look. And, I know they don’t always seem important because they are so small. But they really do have a huge impact in pictures.


      Don’t forget to think about your accessories. Hats, scarves, statement necklaces and earrings are a perfect way to take your outfit to the nest level. They make an outfit look polished, pulled together and complete.  And they are a perfect way to add a pop of color.

      6. WHERE TO SHOP

      Over the years of working with families to find the perfect outfits for their family sessions, I have come across some amazing stores. Here are a few you may want to check out as you plan what to wear for your fall family pictures:

      H&M – H&M is great for one stop shopping because they offer styles for moms, dads, boys and girls. If you find an outfit in a color you love, it will be easy to find coordinating pieces for the rest of the family. 

      Norstroms– Nordstroms (or Nordstroms rack) also offer fashion for moms, dads, boys and girls. I do love one stop shopping!

      Burberry – If you’re looking for classics that will stand the test of time, Burberry is one of my favorites. And the hallmark tan and black plaid with just a hint of red would look perfect at an apple orchard dotted with red apples. 

      The Red dress

      Anthropology – This may be my all time favorite place to shop for myself!

      Free People

      Alter’d State

      Persnickety – Persnickety specializes in clothing for children. And I especially love their clothing for fall sessions. Their style is bold and vibrant both in color choices and fabric patterns. Often combining a variety of bold fabrics into one dress or skirt they have a look that provides a statement pierce for your family outfits.

      Chasing Fireflies – Another of my favorite Children’s clothing stores!

      family dressed in blue and yellow sitting in covered bridge


      And here are a few of my favorite fall sessions:

      Fall Leaf Fun – I love the deep blue and plums of the daughter’s Persnickety dress against the red and orange fall leaves. A must see as you are planning what to wear for your fall family session pictures.

      Covered Bridge Fall Session – this outfit paired cornflower blue, gold and orangy red perfectly. And the colors really popped against the yellow fall leaves.

      Wild One Cake Smash – This was an early fall session. And the leaves took forever to change that year. So the background was still heavy in greens. But the choice to wear blue, gray and mustard  worked perfectly! You will find the family pictures about midway through the post.


      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.




      Classic family portrait for the holiday card is what I strive for in the first 5-10 minutes of a session when everyone is focused.


      Exactly! It is so much easier when everyone is fresh and sure does make me relax knowing we have it done.

      […] Toddler dress by Persnickety – I’ve had this gorgeious dress since she was a baby and have been waiting for a chance to let he wear it. I love how the rich jewel tones look against the red fall leaves. It made for a perfect color combination for fall pictures.  […]

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