Your Guide to Holiday Family Photos

It's a fact of life: when the holiday season rounds the corner in it's cherry-red Santa sleigh, the to-do lists immediately skyrocket. Buying gifts, coordinating family outings, making Christmas cookies, decorating the tree, sending out holiday cards - it's undeniably overwhelming.

So when you're planning your yearly holiday family photo shoot - whether with a professional photographer or your sister's iPhone 13 - the question of what to wear can seem unnecessarily daunting in the midst of all the other tasks you have to assume. That's exactly why I'm here to give you my top pointers on dressing for your holiday photos - because this time of year should be filled with love and joy, not stress about matching your kids' socks. Read on to discover my top holiday outfit tips.

1) Know your background

In typical family photos, you choose a location/background to match your vision. However for holiday photos, you're probably looking at a very set background - whether that be your photographer's mini session set up, a tree farm, or in front of your own Christmas tree. They key is to know the background and choose colors/outfits that compliment it. For example, if you're taking photos on a bright red velvet couch, you don't want to go for the traditional red buffalo plaid look, since it will either clash with the red of the couch or blend right in.

Pittburgh Christmas family photos

2) COordinate, don't match

Unless of course, your family photos consist of matching Christmas onesies in which case I am HERE FOR IT. Otherwise, you want to coordinate and compliment outfits, not exactly match. Choose a color palate and use different tones from that palate in each outfit.

Pittburgh PA holiday family photos

3) Minimize patterns

It can be sooo tempting to throw all the kids in adorable red and green plaid overalls - but be warned: patterns, when used in excess, can be extremely distracting. Try not to have more than one or two family members with a bold pattern as their main clothing article. You can use that piece of clothing to build the rest of your outfits to compliment the pattern, not compete with it.

Pittburgh PA red truck Christmas minis

4) Neutrals... and more neutrals

When in doubt... neutral it out. Seriously - neutrals look great with every backdrop and scenery! If you're unsure of your photographer's setup and it might be filled with red, green, and gold galore, neutral clothing items are always a safe space.

Pittburgh studio holiday family photos

5) Wear Layers

Layers bring interest and texture into your photos without taking away from YOU, the subject. Plus, what better time to layer up than when the weather is starting to turn frosty (and you might need them too, if you're taking photos outside!).

Pittburgh PA holiday photos

6) Accessorize

Winter is the BEST time to accessorize and show off your style. The small items can really bring a sophisticated edge to your photos without even trying hard! Hats, scarves, headbands - if the same color/pattern, all these small items can even be used to tie together the rest of your outfits without being too matchy-matchy.

Pittburgh PA red truck mini holiday family photos
Family and Wedding Photographer

Meet Katie

Katie is owner and photographer at KM4Photography, a Pittsburgh-based family and wedding photography service focusing on genuine connection and capturing your memories at beautiful photos and artwork.

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