What NOT to wear for photos

Sometimes it’s easier to look at a short list of what NOT to wear for photos – check out my top suggestions to avoid wardrobe malfunctions.

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I'm a newborn and family photographer based in Tacoma, WA. I love working with new and growing laid-back families who are comfortable with the imperfect and love doing life with their people.


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There are an abundance of options for what to wear for family photos (or newborn photos, maternity photos, senior photos, etc.), especially in the age of online shopping that we live in.

I wanted to give you a resource that focuses on what to avoid when choosing your outfits since really, that’s a much shorter list!

At the top of the what not to wear for family photos list: things that don’t fit well

We tend to fidget with clothes that aren’t fitting like they should. Whether a piece or the whole outfit is. . .

  • Too loose (pants falling down)
  • Too tight (you can’t sit on the ground with your kids for a photo because you won’t be able to get back up)
  • Too short (certain angles will need to be avoided. . .)
  • Too long (your little one is tripping over the end of their pants or drowning in their dress)

. . .it all makes for an uncomfortable (and potentially awkward and unflattering) situation.

This goes for shoes, too! Make sure they aren’t too small or too big.

Bright / neon colors, overly matching outfits, and athletic or baggy clothing should be avoided

Also on the list of what not to wear: clothing that has large logos, text, characters, or is a neon color

These types of outfits can be pretty distracting from the point of the photographs – you and/or your family! We want the focus to be on the love and connection between you and your partner + kids, or the particular milestone you’re documenting.

We do not want it to be on the latest Disney character craze (no matter how much they love Elsa!) or the witty T-shirt you got for your birthday (that I’d probably agree is pretty funny).

Avoid wearing obviously athletic or workout gear in your photos

Now, I realize that telling you not to wear workout gear can seem opposite of what I’ve said in other posts. I preach that comfort is key! I myself practically live in cropped leggings, sports bras and tank tops. But, that’s not the look I’d choose to be photographed in for family photos. Wearing this type of clothing just doesn’t result in the aesthetic people are typically going for.

Exceptions to this “rule”:

  • High school seniors wearing their gear specific to the sport they love for part of their session
  • Getting branding or headshot photos to promote the gym or coaching service you offer
  • Moms who’ve just pushed out a human – you get to wear your favorite comfy leggings if that’s what you want my dear 😉

I want you to feel comfortable in what you’re wearing and be true to your style. There are plenty of ways to do that while following the advice above. The things I’ve called out just don’t translate well into photos!

If you’re stuck on choosing outfits, don’t hesitate to ask your photographer for help! That’s what we are here for – to help you make sure your photos are something you’d be proud to share.

Other ‘what to wear’ posts you may find helpful:

Outfits for newborn photos

What to wear for family photos

Bonus tips for picking outfits (details to pay attention to!)

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Ashley Morrisey

Tacoma-based lifestyle newborn and family photographer serving South Puget Sound + greater PNW


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