I'm a Maine based photographer, specializing in weddings and lifestyle portraiture. I serve all of New England and beyond as no event is ever too far.

What to Wear for Family Photos in Maine

For family portraits, there are so many things to keep in mind and it’s hard to make everyone happy. While your teenager may want to wear their favorite Nike T-shirt and a pair of old, faded jean shorts, Grandma may not be as thrilled about that clothing choice when she receives the photos as a gift.

Everyone has their own unique style, but there’s a few things that are almost always a “nope” when it comes to family photos: shirts with huge, distracting logos, worn-out sneakers, stuffy outfits that make the person look uncomfortable, or having 100% matching outfits.

It doesn’t have to be a scary process to figure out what to wear, though. Sure, the conversation about potential outfits might be uncomfortable at first {and you might have some resistance from your rebellious preteen}. But you can work with your photographer to figure out something that will help express your family’s personality. Being comfortable is what matters; otherwise, that discomfort will show up in the photos.

It’s good to spend time picking nice outfits for your family photos, but just remember that in the end, what you wore is not going to matter as much as the fact that you have a timeless piece of art that will be telling your family’s history.

What I’ve often found with styling portraits is that smaller families have an easier time coordinating. To help my clients who want to take extended family photos, I give them advice to coordinate so it’s several smaller units that have to come together.

Let’s take this family portrait session above, for example. While vacationing at Sebasco Harbor Resort, they wanted to have their portraits done at their favorite spots around the resort. The dad and kids wore dark blue and teal tones, with mom wearing coral as an accent color. While they didn’t match, the colors complemented each other and conveyed a fun, summertime vibe.

Here’s an example of extended-family photography where each individual family looks great in their outfits, and all of the families coordinate well together. It’s good to stay in a color tone — in this case, shades of blue.

When people book me for portrait sessions, we talk about what not to wear and how to pick outfits that match their personality and the scenery.

These extended family photos were so lovely — the sisters, as well as all of the girl cousins, coordinated with dark blue and coral outfits that matched their unique personality.

The thing to remember is that you need to find a middle ground: have a color scheme, but allow for flexibility.  Some wore dresses, others wore cropped pants and blouses, but all of them looked comfortable and happy!

The sisters on the left belong to the parents below on the left. The mom kept the coral theme going, which worked really well together in smaller family photos as well as in the larger extended family photo.

These portraits were for the grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary; pictured below on the right, you can see the happy couple in their coordinated blue and white outfits! I love that the grandma wore a three-quarter sleeve shirt, because they both look like they’re wearing something they feel like themselves in.

Here’s a great example of patterns working well together in a portrait session in Camden, Maine. Since the flannel shirt isn’t the center of the photo, the peach color in the two ladies’ outfits played nicely off of each other.

For this session in Wells, Maine, the soft colors worked beautifully with the beach setting and the evening lighting. The kids looked wonderful together, along with Dad styled in with a neutral color.

It’s also important to keep up certain traditions! For this portrait on Drake’s Island Beach in Wells, Maine, the sisters always get to pick out matching dresses for a family portrait session. Mom’s outfit adds a nice pop of color.

Styling also matters for black and white portraits — the patterns add a visual element to the photograph in these types of pictures. The left one was taken at Drake’s Island Beach, and the right is Perkins Cove in Ogunquit, Maine.

Another 50th anniversary gathering with an extended family portrait. We have siblings, cousins, and grandparents here with the water as their ideal backdrop in seaside Maine. The soft color palette works so well with the light blue water and sky.

Portraits in the fall have a nice crisp quality to them. This portrait session at Point Lookout Resort in Northport, Maine, has the boys looking solid together; adding in Mom and Dad and the pop of color in the blanket ties it all together. Note: The boys wore dress shoes rather than sneakers — subtle, but a nice touch!

Another lovely fall session in New Gloucester, Maine. Besides the kid being the cutest, I liked how the flannels work together here. The guy {who is sometimes the toughest to dress} was granted permission to wear what he wanted. This way, he was as comfortable as can be and not forced to be something he isn’t, which translated to a wonderful family portrait.

Regardless of what you wear, it’s so important to have family photographs of all your loved ones together. It’s rare to get the whole family together in one place for a beautiful portrait, so take the time to coordinate outfits and create an image you’ll cherish for years to come.

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Welcome and thank you for taking the time to visit the Melissa Mullen Photography blog. I'm a Maine based photographer, specializing in weddings and lifestyle portraiture. I serve all of New England and beyond as no event is ever too far. Please feel free to take a look around and introduce yourself by leaving a comment of affection at the bottom of any of the posts. Or drop me a note as I would love to hear from you.

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