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What to Wear For Bright and Airy Fall Family Photos // Hillsboro Family Photographer

September 29, 2019

Filed in: Tips

what to wear for fall family photos in portland, oregon

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of light, bright, airy photos!  And you know what?  I love them like that ALL YEAR ROUND!  I may live in the rainy PNW, but something about a warm, bright photo just feels like HOME!  When I coach my clients through what to wear for the photo session, we talk a little bit about their color palette, since that is usually the first step to pulling everyone’s outfits together.  I’m always telling clients that the color palette they choose for their wardrobe will drastically effect the overall look of their final photos.  Choosing light neutral or pastel colors, like I normally recommend, will make the overall photos look light and bright!

what to wear for fall family photos light and airy

That said, I know there are plenty of autumn lovers out there!  Fall is the busiest time of year for family photos, and while pastel pinks and blues look AWESOME in a warm summer field, they might not pop as much as you’d like against the heavier greens and yellows that we aim for in fall themed sessions.  So how do you get that light and airy look in fall?

ACCENT COLORS!  There are some key accent colors that scream “fall” and you’re going to use them to fall-ify your light and airy family portrait wardrobe!  You’ll still want to stick to mainly neutral colors: taupe, khaki, light beige, ivory, even light denim–these are all great bases and can be mixed and matched within the family and within a single person’s outfit.  It will look timeless and elegant.  Then, choose an accent color or two and sprinkle pops of it throughout everyone’s outfit.  For 2019, I think burnt orange, rust, maroon, pumpkin, and mustard are all excellent choices!

what to wear for fall family photos light and airy

The key is to use these as ACCENTS, not as whole outfits.  These are bold, deep colors, and if you’re dressed entirely in a dark color like maroon, your overall photo is going to read much darker and moodier than if you’d worn a beige dress with a maroon scarf.  There’s nothing wrong with that at all, of course, but I often get clients who come to me specifically for a brighter, airier look to their photos–and selecting the right wardrobe is key to achieving that look!


And as a final tip, don’t feel stuck to just one of these accent colors!  I think you can get some great depth to photos by using 2-3 of these accent colors, depending on how many people are included in the photos.  Because it’s fall, it’s easy to layer and accessorize in your accent colors, so there are plenty of opportunities!  I’ll share a few examples of how you can mix and match these accent colors here!

What to Wear for Light and Airy Fall Photos mustard oatmeal and maroon


This is a great example of how to make the light and airy style work in the fall.  We have a solid base of those warm, light neutrals that I love: ivory, white, oatmeal, and light khaki.  These colors are my go-to when clients want suggestions for light, bright, and glowy photos–they photograph BEAUTIFULLY!

To fall-ify those colors even more, I added mom’s mustard skirt and a maroon jumper for the baby.  Because the darkest color is on the very tiniest member of the family, it won’t overpower the photos with a darker color.  Mustard is a great fall color that still photographs pretty light and bright, so it’s a great choice!  Not everyone loves it near their face, but as a skirt you can add whichever neutral color is most flattering to you on top near your face to really glow!  And you probably know by now–flowy statement skirts are my FAVORITE to photograph!  This one is made of a light chiffon fabric which has a ton of movement already, and then pleats are added for some great subtle texture.

The older daughter’s dress is also lace, which adds another layer of subtle texture.  Those textural elements are KEY to getting a great layered look without it seeming too “busy.”  Last, I added some bling with the gold leaf bracelet for mom.  Bling is always important–those metallic elements add a touch of glam.  You could also do something similar as a tiara headband for the older girl, if mom doesn’t want to wear a bracelet.  As a final styling touch, I’d remember to have dad push up his sleeves for a more casual fall look, and mom should wear the skirt pulled up to her natural waist to emphasize it.  If you aren’t used to doing that, it might seem strange, but if you wear it too low, it may actually emphasize your hips rather than your waist.  I’d finish off mom’s outfit with some great fall booties like the ones I showed in last year’s What to Wear for Fall Photos.


White Long Sleeve Top







Hair Bow


Thermal Henley


What to Wear for Light and Airy Fall Photos mustard chartreuse buffalo check


Button Down Buffalo Check Top

Green Chiffon Maxi Skirt

Crystal Statement Necklace









I went a little darker for this one, mainly because I’m OBSESSED with buffalo check this season!  Something about fall just makes me want to have buffalo check everywhere!  I used it in mom’s outfit, and I think it’s important to note that it’s a larger check pattern, rather than a smaller gingham print, which can sometimes photograph a little strangely because the pattern is so small.  The larger print photographs well, and since it’s a neutral grey it isn’t too overwhelming.  When styling this outfit, I’d make sure again that the skirt is pulled up to your natural waist, and then button the shirt and knot it tightly at the waist, gathering any loose material into the knot.  The top should fit really snugly, since the skirt is so loose and flowy.  You always want to have balance, so if you have a blousy top, then you’d want slim fitting bottoms, and vice versa.  I would also roll the sleeves on the top to the elbow to make it appear even more fitted.  Once that’s done, add that big statement necklace (again, in a neutral crystal) on top of the shirt to add some extra prettiness!

Since mom’s skirt is a showstopper, I kept everyone else’s outfits simple.  The boys are in neutral greys (is that little boy’s vest the CUTEST??), and the toddler girl is in a simple mustard dress with cable knit ivory tights to balance the color of mom’s skirt.  I love that long chiffon skirt–it’s so full that it’s easy to pick up and add some drama by twirling it during your session!  It comes in a ton of colors and Amazon has a few different similar ones so you can find the color that works best for you.  I totally love this green because again, it’s a lighter version of a fall color, so it won’t look super dark and heavy in photos.

I hope that was helpful!  Remember that you can pin these images to refer back to them later as you build your family photo outfits!  Just hover over the photo and click the Pinterest icon.  Let me know what color schemes or seasons you’re hoping for in my next installment of What to Wear for Photos in the comments!

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