Preparing for your family portrait session


Meadow-&-Bailey-(OFW)  Shakiel-Family-Portrait-(5)-(OFW)  Shakiel's-Family-Walking-on-Beach-(OFW)

Congratulations on booking your family portrait session!  The images that you receive will bring you and future generations much joy for many years to come and my aim is to capture to you and your family looking their personal best.

But perhaps you have some questions about preparing for your family portrait session?

If you haven’t booked yet and would like to talk to me about your photography needs feel free to drop me an email.


I can photograph your family in my Waiotahe studio or in a beautiful local outdoor location such as a local Opotiki beach. You may already have in mind what you would like for your session, but here are some things to consider:

Studio Portrait:

  • Clean, crisp images with professional lighting and a backdrop
  • Provides interesting, dynamic light and shadows to give a creative feel



Location Portrait:

  • Gives your photos a relaxed, casual feeling.
  • Natural lighting and background gives vibrant, realistic colours.
  • An excellent option for canvas prints.


What to wear?

One tip is that textures and layers look great in family portraits.  When it comes to what colour to choose why not check out this pinterest board for some ideas.

What To Wear For Your Photography Session – Moments In Time NZ

There are many looks that you can go for but here are two suggestions.

1.   Classic – this is where you choose one or two colours and everyone coordinates together.  The family below chose yellow which looked awesome especially in the light of the setting sun (as shown below), or another couple of classic combinations that always look good are denim and white (as shown above), black and denim or something along those lines.

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2.   Coordinating – this is where instead of trying to match your colours you choose a colour palette (a set of say  3 or 4 colours that go together well) and mix and match those colours in your outfits.  You’ll find lots of example of compimentary colours on that pinterest link ‘What To Wear‘ above.

How to choose?

1.  If you’re being photographed at an outdoor location then plan to wear tones that suit your setting.  For the beach pick blues, greens, aquas, white, greys, peaches and pinks.  For the forest go for those rich autumny tones royal blues, emerald green, mustard, burnt orange and dark red.

2.  Pick a ‘hero’ piece – perhaps something that mum or or one of the girls in the family will wear, it’s fine if this is floral or has a pattern with different colours.  Then have everyone else pick a colour or tone from the ‘hero’ outfit and put their outfit together in that tone.

3.  Natural fibres and textures look great, add some layers (avoid branding and images on your clothes but lace or pocket details are great).  

4.   Remember the colours don’t have to just be for clothes, think outside the box and accessorize to make these images a little bit more special – scarves, hats, flowers in the hair for girls, jackets, vests, suspenders, bow ties, socks, shoes etc.

Take these things into account and you will look awesome in your photographs.  If you would like some help feel free to send me through your ideas or questions.

Below are some possible combinations.

Neutral colours with a little colour pop here and there from the same palette often looks awesome!

Here are a couple of sample palettes that might help.



The next two examples are not my images but show families wearing clothing based on a complimentary palette.

Another way to add interest to your images is to add texture and layers – think about different materials and accents – hand knitted materials, lace, crochet, ribbons, ruffles etc.

Dress to Suit The Weather & The Location


Have a think about the weather and the location for your photo session too.  If we’re heading into winter and you’ve chosen a location shoot at say ‘the beach’, rug up and choose appropriate clothing – think boots, long pants, jumpers, coats and furs.  That way everyone will stay warm and you can have fun.  Cold children are miserable children.  But in the summer months nice light, bright clothing will look awesome.

Think a little about the location too.  If you have the beach as your backdrop you may choose completely different colours and clothing  to that you would wear for a bush or urban setting.

For the ladies, it’s often more flattering to wear tops or dresses with some kind of sleeve.  Skin is often lightest part of an image and that’s what the eye is naturally drawn to.  For this reason bare arms will often stand out in group photographs so sleeves are a good idea and you may like to consider 3/4 or even long sleeves depending on the weather.

Should We Wear Patterns or not?

Generally speaking solid colours work better than patterns as they can clash with each other.  But if just one person is in a pattern with the other family members wearing simple, more solid complimentary colours that can look good too.



Make sure that the children especially will be comfortable in their outfits you want them to be nice and happy and not grouchy and miserable.

The same goes for you too, make sure to choose an outfit that is not only comfortable but also makes you feel great.

Things to Avoid

Avoid wearing clothes with logos, big lettering or branding.

Don’t have a haircut the day before (give a haircut a week or so to grow out so that it looks nice and natural).

Don’t wear bright white socks that will take the focus off your beautiful faces.

Can I Help?


If you’re not sure what to wear, why not take a snapshot of a couple of ideas you have and send it through to me, I’d be happy to make some suggestions or to help you decide.

See you at your family photography session!  I look forward to capturing lots of special ‘moments in time’ for you 🙂