What to wear for your portrait session

What to wear for your portrait session

Whatever makes you feel good is the easy answer!

The best advice is to choose clothes that you feel comfortable in, and that are simple and neutral as possible.

Choose clothes that don’t have a graphic, text or logo on. One plain colour is best – although bear in mind that plain black or white clothes don’t photograph that well. A subtle pattern is fine, and stripes or spots are ok but they can be a bit distracting.

I’m very happy to offer advice based on my experience – if you have a selection of clothes ready, I can recommend which will work best.

You can also change outfits partway through the session if you’d like – when we head outdoors can be a great time to do this. Bear in mind your child’s willingness to change clothes, though – if your baby really doesn’t like being changed, it’s better to minimise the number of outfit changes.

Below are some more detailed suggestions – nothing’s cast in stone, so if something doesn’t feel right for you and your family, by all means ignore it and do your own thing!

Colour choices

If we’re taking a group shot and you’re all wearing the same colour, it’ll look a bit staged – a mix of colours can look more natural.

Bear in mind that if one of you is wearing a bright colour, the viewer’s eye will be drawn straight to that outfit in a photograph – try to keep to more neutral colours, or to all be wearing something quite bright and eye-catching.

“Do have a think about what you’re wearing in advance. Without too much preparation we managed to wear some brighter colours and roughly coordinated which really helped the shots. A bit of pre-thought on that part really helps”. Jessica

Here’s an example where a family gave a nod to pastel colours:

Family group shot photographer south London

Blues, whites and denim can be another good colour combination:

April family photographer Peckham Rye south London-30

Different shades and patterns with the same colour can work well, and is a great option if your family shares a similar colour palette of clothes:

family photographer earlsfield south west london

Outdoor clothing

Wearing bright colours can bring a pop of colour to the portraits, especially if it’s a grey day. Brightly coloured wellies, scarves or coats can work wonders to brighten our British weather! Mums, leave your enormous coat at home – try to choose one that’s not too bulky.

November Family photographer south London
October Family photography south London

Try to each wear a coat with a similar thickness – it can look a bit odd if one parent has a lightweight jacket and the other’s in a thick quilted coat, or if one parent doesn’t wear a coat at all when the other’s all wrapped up:

April family photographer Barnes Bridge

Umbrellas can be lots of fun for portrait sessions – choose one with a pale colour (black umbrellas will cast dark shadows on your faces) and ideally without any text on it:



A plain shirt and jeans or casual trousers is the most common combination.

Avoid text or graphics on your clothes.

If you’re conscious of carrying a little extra weight, avoid tops that are too fitted – a thick T-shirt or shirt works well.

Shorts are also best avoided unless it’s a scorching day, as they can be quite distracting in photographs.

Family photographer London dad and son


I suggest avoiding sleeveless tops (especially if you have a baby and might throw them up in the air), and tops that will expose your bra straps.

A plain top and jeans or casual trousers work well.

Shorts are best avoided as knees can become distracting and can affect the crop of a photograph.

Have something to tie your hair back (or clip your fringe) in case it’s a windy day.

family photographer earlsfield south west london


To best show off your bump, choose a snug top that clings to the contours of your bump. An open shirt also works well if you’d like a photograph of your skin but would prefer to keep your top on. If you’d like a photograph in your underwear or nude, I’m very happy to take those too.

If I’m taking photographs of both of you, and Dad has also put on some sympathy pregnancy weight, gently suggest something that’s not totally skin tight!


New mums

If you’re conscious of baby weight, a loose fitting t-shirt or shirt work well:

Newborn baby photographer London mum bed

Take your watches off beforehand, to give skin a chance to relax and any watch marks to disappear. Watches can be quite distracting in close-ups of you holding your baby. The same goes for hair bands on wrists:

Newborn baby photographer London arms

Many new mums are not yet wearing their rings again yet – if you usually wear an engagement or wedding ring, don’t worry if they don’t fit yet, that’s part of the story! If it’s borderline, though, it’s worth giving the rings a try as you might miss having them in close-up shots where your baby is holding your fingers:

Newborn photographer London fingers


Have a few changes of clothes to hand as your baby’s unlikely to make it through the whole session in the same outfit!

Plain white babygros or vests work really well – the simpler, the better really.

A babygro without feet works really well for photographing their tiny toes.

Collars can often flap open and cover a bit of your baby’s face so it’s best to avoid them.

If you have any special outfits (a cardigan knitted by Granny, for example), we can also incorporate those.


Even if your baby is already standing, consider pyjamas and onesies as part of the mix – they really show how young and tiny your baby still is! For day clothes, choose simple clothes with plain colours – and ideally not too fitted if your baby is in nappies, or the clothes will bunch around the nappy.

Baby and family photographer London landscape

Little girls

If you choose a dress, do have some trousers or leggings ready too. If your daughter’s in nappies and feels like sitting down, dresses can show more nappy than intended so it’s handy to have an alternative.

With tights, coloured ones are best for outdoors, as muddy knees really show up on white tights.

Choose clothes that your daughter likes wearing – if she’s a little tom boy, go with that!

At the risk of repeating myself, it’s best to avoid any illustrations or text on the outfits – a gentle pattern is ok, but simple and neutral clothes work best.

Have some clips to hand in case your daughter’s hair has a wild day and you want to tame it a little!

Family photographer London

Little boys

Pretty much anything goes; just avoid clothes that have a big graphic on the front like a dinosaur or tractor. Jeans work really well, and this is definitely the moment for those cute little trainers. Stripes, checks and spots are ok but if you can avoid them, so much the better! The aim is for the clothes to not be distracting in the photographs – we want all attention on your little one.

Natural family photography Bishops Park south London-22
Family photographer London portrait
Family photographer south London

Fancy dress

If your child loves dressing up in a particular outfit, we can absolutely incorporate that into the photographs! The more your child enjoys the experience, the more their character will come through. If getting your child out of a fancy dress outfit can be a challenge, I’d suggest starting the session in “normal” clothes, and getting the fancy dress clothes out partway through.

Lifestyle family photographers south west London

“Our children look so beautiful in the photos playing with their favourite toys – there is an amazing one of my little daughter dressed like Cinderella on a colourful carpet, it looks so magical.” Irena

Family photographers London dancing Clapham

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