What to Wear for Summer Photos


Summer is by far my favourite season! Bring on the flip flops, suntans, and campfires! Not to mention those warm evenings with long lasting sunsets, and the beautiful greens colours everywhere… It’s really every photographers dream season! However, that silly questions of “What should I wear for my summer photos” question still comes to mind for any photo session. But this season is by far my most favourite one to dress for! The rules are so simple and easy to follow, that even if your closet is not the most fasionable(much like my own). I am confident that what to wear for your summer photo session will be the easiest one yet!

The basics of what to wear for your summer photos:

What to wear for photos

Regardless of the time of year, or the type of session, there are always some basic rules of what to wear that should apply to all photo sessions:

Dress for the environment around you

If the forecast says plus 27 degrees… Definitely make sure you are dressed accordingly so that you don’t get too hot during our session together. In fact, if the weather is going to be hot, be sure to bring along some bottles of water to keep you hydrated. It could also be a fun idea to stop for ice cream on your way home. Especially as a reward if the kids were well behaved!

photo outfit inspiration

Avoid wearing patterns and checkered shirts

Busy patterns such as small stripes close together, small checkered shirts, zig-zigs, ect.. may cause something called “Chromatic Abbreviation” in digital images which could potentially ruin the images. However, if you must where your classic Alberta plaid style, shoot for a larger squared pattern!

Ball caps and Sunglasses

This is mostly a tip for the guys whose hats and shades are a part of who they are! I know it may seem completely uncomfortable, but being able to leave your hat at home will prevent any harsh shadows over your eyes. Also, I promise I won’t make you look directly into the harsh sunlight.

What to wear to family photos

Graphic Tees, Neon Colours, or Hoodies

Wearing graphic tees or bright neon colours really steal the focus away from the emotion within the photos. Plus, you are paying good money to have your photos taken. So you will most likely display these in your house for others to see. It really is a special event that is worth dressing your best for! That might mean dusting off your fancy pants from the back of the closet, or even heading to the mall to grab the family some nice items for this special occasion.

Embrace Layering

This concept may be foreign to many people, as it was to me for a long time. Adding layers to your outfit can be so simple though and it looks great in photos! Try adding a jean or leather jacket to your ensemble and you’ll be amazed at the effect it has on tying your outfit together.

Dressing up the family for photos

Make sure your clothes fit

This tip is mostly for kids. I have 2 little boys and let me tell you, they sure can grow! One day their clothes all fit, and the next day I’m out shopping for more pants that will soon turn capris.

Don’t be afraid to dress up!

How often do you get to capture your entire family at their best! Why not dress up! Pull out all your favourite dress and jewelry. Get everyone looking sharp so that you will feel proud to display these pictures in your home for people to see.

Light and airy photo outfits

Check your Pockets

Empty your pockets! The last thing your want to see in all of your pictures after your session is keychains and your phones showing through your pockets

Flip flops or Flats

If you’re wearing shoes that are difficult to walk in but look amazing, bring some comfy shoes to change into while we walk to each shooting location.

What to wear to our summer family photo session

Common outfit myths about what to wear

Believe it or not, you have so much control over the outcome of your shoot and what it looks and feels like! What you choose to wear for photos is a big decision that often causes a ton of stress for Mom before hand. However, my hope is that with a little education, you will be able to determine the style and feel you desire for your family session and that will make your outfit selection so much easier and less complicated!

Let’s start by de-bunking some very common outfit myths that a lot of people believe about what they should wear to their session!

Summer family photo outfit inspiration
Myth One |

“Avoid neutrals, they wash you out!” Whoever started this myth couldn’t have been further from the truth. Sure, there are colours that don’t work for some people, but I spent a large majority of my life believing that I could never wear neutrals and I was missing out! The truth is, neutrals are the most photogenic colour for portraits.

Myth Two |

“Always wear black or you won’t look thin.” Sure, black is slimming, but it’s always very heavy in portraits. There is nothing wrong with black, but if your only wearing it to look thinner and deep down you’re hoping for light, airy, free and flowy styled portraits, it may not be the best decision.

Summer family photos
Myth Three |

“Your location determines your style more than your outfit.” False! Your outfit has way more impact than your location! Your location is just a setting in the background and gets way more attention and credit than it deserves. You and your family will be the main focus of the image so you want to look your best.

Myth Four |

“You need to match!” Please, for the love of all things beautiful, do not try to match! Instead, try to coordinate! Coordinating is a completely different concept from “matching”. Coordinating means you are usually choosing colours that look good together but are not close to being the same. You can also use patterns and solids to bring out those colours in a a subtle, yet coordinated way.

Myth Five |

“You have to buy something new!” False! If you know you look awesome in an outfit that you already own and it fits the style you want for your engagement session, that outfit would be a great choice!

Family photo outfits

Choosing what colour pallet to wear

When it comes to choosing a colour pallet for your summer session outfits, you’ll want to remember that the key is to keep things “Light and Flowy”! Picking light colours not only give the appearance of making you look and feel lighter, but they also photograph really well. Here are some colours that always photograph well in the summer months and pretty much all go well together:

Summer photos color pallet

Picking colours like pale pinks and baby blues and pairing them with light greys, whites or even tan colours are always safe choices and will give your photos a light summery look!

Putting together your outfit ensemble

How to dress the kids for family photos

Start with Mom’s outfit

It can be difficult to know where to begin when putting together your summer ensemble. Think of it like building blocks! Start with one outfit and build from there! Since women’s clothing tend to have more colours and patterns to choose from, it’s usually easy to build around Mom’s outfit to begin with. Not only that, but I really like to highlight Mom’s in my sessions since we are usually the photo takers. It’s nice to be the center of attention for a change.

I would also highly recommend picking a long, flowy dress in either a white, neutral or pastel colour pallette. Dresses are so flattering, and you will feel good in it! They create so much flow and movement within your photos and really capture that light and flowy look to a T! If you hate dresses, you can always go for a skirt & top combo. Be sure to choose something that is slightly dressier than your everyday look though. Perhaps in a material that is a higher quality(not t-shirt material) because they tend to hang better.

Dressing for summer family photos

Then move onto the kids, and Dad!

Selecting the kids outfits should be made a little easier once you have your outfit already picked. Use the colours within Mom’s chosen outfit to create the rest of the ensemble. If you have opted for a solid coloured dress. Then incorporate that colour in a simple or subtle pattern in either a shirt or a dress. Beige or light, neutral coloured shorts or pants with a light solid or subtle patterned top are always a great choice for guys. For little girls, dresses are so perfect and can either be a solid colour or a subtle pattern incorporating a colour within your outfit.

Family Photos

When in doubt, check Pinterest!

I honestly don’t know where I would be without Pinterest! There are SO many great outfit inspirations on what to wear to your summer photo shoot. You can’t go wrong with checking it out before putting your ensemble together. I have put together a Styled Board that I made specifically for helping my clients find outfit inspiration so be sure to check that out here.

Don’t be afraid to dress up and accessorize!

I know I have already mentioned this above, but I think it’s so important to note again! You’re investing a lot into your family photos, and for most people it is a once a year kind of event! I want to look back and feel your best so that you will feel all the joy and love within the images.

Red Deer Family Photographer

Take this opportunity to dress your best! Bring out that long flowy summer dress! Or even go get yourself something that you know you will feel great in! Do your hair and make-up, put on your favourite jewelry, and rock your favourite sun hat(which are VERY in style right now!) My point is, when we feel at our best, we look our best and our expressions in photos reflect that. So don’t be afraid of being too “dressed up” because when it comes to photos, there is no such thing!

Lastly, I’m always just a phone call away

I don’t expect you to know magically become a fashionista, or know what photographs best! That is my job! Which is why I love being a apart of this journey with you! Don’t ever hesitate to reach out if you have outfit questions or are unsure on what to put together or what might look good. That is what I am here for and I love being a part of your outfit choices!

If you haven’t got your families summer photo session booked yet be sure to send me a message here so we can get you scheduled in! If you are wanting an affordable option for some summer family photos, don’t miss out on these amazing Summer Mini Session dates! Reserve your spot now.

Red Deer Summer Mini sessions - Family Photographer

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