What to Wear for your Fall Family Photo Session

You envisioned gorgeous photos of you and your family frolicking in the fall leaves; maybe in the pumpkin patch. You reached out to your friends and gathered a list of potential photographers. You painstakingly researched your choices and settled on the perfect portrait artist for you. You officially booked in and wrote the date on your calendar.

And then your number one question hit and put you in a panic: “What should we wear?!?!” Fear not! Help is here!

girl and mom beautiful backlit fall scene

But you are absolutely right to ask the ‘what should we wear?’ question – your wardrobe choices really are super important to your final images. The clothes and accessories you wear for your portrait session reflects who you are as a family, and should speak to the environment in which the session is taking place. They should also complement the style and décor of your home where the final images will be displayed. 

well dressed family with scarves and layers and accessories fall family photograph
girls holding hand in back lit garden well dressed

Putting together your family wardrobe can be great fun, as clothing is a reflection of your personalities. You are what you wear! Your style should be as unique as your family is; working well together but also representing each family member individually. The goal in dressing your family is to create a coordinated look while ensuring each family member retains their own personal style. 

So… what should you wear? Here are a few tips:

·  Choose a palette of 2 to 3 colours and work with variety, such as including both long pants and dresses, blouses/shirts, sweaters and denim. You want a cohesive feel without being ‘matchy-matchy’. You want everyone to coordinate without anyone standing out.

family dressed for autumn on the beach

·  Choose styles that are en vogue and flattering to your body type, but also classic with staying power. You don’t want your images to become too ‘dated’ with crazy ‘very trendy’ looks. We all remember the 80’s (or at least have seen the photographic evidence). Say no more. Need help with your style? It’s easy to get help. Book a professional wardrobe consultation with Toronto’s Style & Image Consulting Queen Suzanne Colmer of Your Shop Girl, or with a style coach at Toronto boutique Fresh Collective to suit yourself up with Canadian-only labels.

·  Choose styles that work with your on-location setting. The autumnal outdoors doesn’t lend itself to suit ties and peep-toe shoes. Don’t feel like you need to go dressed up formally. There are exceptions to every rule as you might see in my photos here; the key is to be yourselves and have fun within your comfort zone.

two girls dancing in the fall leaves in party dresses

·  Choose colours that work with your on-location setting.  Think neutral and natural colours for the autumn – browns, muted greens, greys as well as either oranges and very dull and dark mustards, or mauves, maroons and dark pinks - whatever works best with your skin tones. Blue and pink hues work well too. You might carefully include some pops of creamy off-whites or simple pastels too. For fall, avoid whites, blacks and bold primary colours.

·  Choose colours that will also work with the decor of your home where your photos will ultimately be on display.

girl dancing in the autumn light

·  Take care with patterns. It's okay to throw in a fall classic like plaid, or some basic stripes or polka dots, say, but stick to one and use it sparingly throughout the family wardrobe.

boy in plaid shirt against brick wall laughing covering mouth

·  Fall is also a super great time for textures, which incidentally photograph beautifully. Think chunky knits, cashmeres, various wool textures, tweeds, denim, suedes and leathers. Mix and match a ‘palette’ of 2 to 3 textures, as you do with colours.

·  Layers and accessories also flatter and autumn is the perfect time for one of the most miraculous accessories there is: scarves.  Also think simple hair decorations, semi-chunky necklaces and bangles. Accessories can really bring out your personalities! Throw a few extras in the bag to change up the look a bit too!

·  Choose clean and stylish seasonal shoes - they will show! Try high ankle boots, clogs or pumps with thick or wedge-type heels for mom and the girls and semi-casual dress shoes, Chukka or Chelsea boots or upscale sneakers (Converse or skate-style) for dad and the boys.

stylish dad with casual boys on home doorstep

·  Kids should be in non-fussy, casual clothes to ensure happiness, comfort natural expressions. Layers and fun, funky fitted clothes are perfect, paired with understated accessories. Get them perfectly outfitted with some of my favourite lines at Advice from a Caterpillar – like Makie or Bonton. Or perhaps a pair of Finger in the Nose denim jeans. Or save a bit of money (to invest in a more pages for your photo album!) by checking out Little White Sneakers on Mount Pleasant for deals on gently-used designer pieces. Oh, and THIS adorable bunny poncho from Toronto designer Dagg & Stacey! *melt* But back to serious business…

girl in felt hat and jacket in the fall leaves

·  For everyone, avoid clothing with writing, logos, pictures and loud patterns. These can distract from the real subject: YOU!

·  Finally, clothing should be casual and comfortable. Depending on how fun, crazy and creative you and your photographer are, it’s not uncommon to find yourself laying in the grass, jumping up and down throwing leaves with the kids or involved in a tickle fight. Be ready for anything!

And finally and very importantly, whatever you do, please DO NOT leave this bit of planning until the night before your family photo session. I recommend assembling your clothes and accessories at least a week in advance so you that you have time to fill in any gaps, and to ensure everything is clean, pressed and ready to go!

Now think – it’s not just you being clever this fall and booking in a family photo session. Your friends have also recognized the need to update their family portraits, create heirloom portrait holiday gifts for loved ones and tick this year’s holiday card off the list. Be sure to share this post and ask who else in your circles is going up in front of the lens this gorgeous season! You might just be surprised!

Be sure sign up for my newsletter and pop on over to my Facebook and Instagram accounts and give me some follows because I’ve got more ‘what to wear’ advice coming soon and you won’t want to miss it!

Happy scarf-wearing and leaf-pile-jumping season!