When dressing kids to take photos it can be a bit overwhelming – how do you get the perfect mix of “dressy” while making your kids feel at home, rather than in a second skin? All you need to do is keep these three C’s in mind: Casual, Comfortable, (a bit) Colorful, and Coordinated. Here’s the breakdown:

Casual- For Relaxed Kid’s Photos

No one likes being confined in a monkey suit, particularly when it’s warm outside. Find dressy, yet casual clothes – sundresses, t-shirts or short-sleeved dress shirts, skirts, shorts, etc. Let them be a bit involved, lay out some choices, and you’ll get a less fidgety photography subject. If dressy is needed (such as for a wedding) keep an eye on the weather (so they’re not too hot or cold) and try to keep the clothes as laid back as possible.

tips for clothing in children's photography


Even some casual clothes can be uncomfortable, so make sure that you choose materials that can breathe and are soft against the skin. Kids who are comfortable are happier – keep it loose and airy. If you are worried about them being too hot or cold, start with a few layers that can be added or removed as the weather changes.

Colorful (with Caution)

While you don’t want to go nuts with color, a dash here and there helps to make your child the center of attention. Whether it’s a shirt, sundress, hairband, hat, etc., a little color can go a long way. For larger pieces of clothing, such as a long-sleeved dress or full-length coat you can go with lighter colors. However, it also depends on how much of the photo a particular piece of clothing will be prominent in – for a close-up shot a lot of bright color may be a bit overwhelming, but when pulled back (to include the surrounding landscape) it can make for a fantastic focal point.

Tip: Always avoid dark clothes on kids – it tends to make the photo more serious.

tips for choosing kids clothing photographyCoordinated (but not “matching”)

You could certainly go the matching route, but sometimes mixing it up a bit can give you more interesting images. Try for one colorful piece plus one neutral piece, such as white or khaki. If you don’t want your kids looking too “matchy,” stick with different pastels – it shouldn’t matter which you choose as they will all work together. You can also try different layers so you can mix and match.

Bonus “C” – Contrast

If you have a good idea of what your background will be then you can choose clothes that contrast with it so your kid stands out a bit more in their photo. If not, look for backgrounds that naturally contrast with what they are wearing. This might mean you’ll have to move around a bit. You can always bring an extra shirt or two just in case!

Finally, keep it simple and timeless. You don’t need frills, lace, or fanciness – that’s not what your child is all about. Give them the freedom to play, move, and most of all be themselves.

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