You’ve probably landed here because you’re looking for casual spring family photo outfits. In particular, a much requested favorite: women’s pants for photoshoots. You’re in luck! While I write often about my favorite dresses for family photo sessions, I’ve had so many requests to include women’s pants options that I thought I’d write a quick blog post about it.
Every family member should dress comfortably for their photo shoot. Being comfortable will allow you to relax and enjoy the day with your family. Comfort shows through in the photos! However, most of my clients want to ensure they’re looking their best for these photos that may hang on the walls for years to come, and so I offer wardrobe styling and a complimentary Client Closet. The Client Closet is stocked primarily with dresses, which means that I occasionally get asked the question:
“Wait, can I wear pants instead of a dress for my photo session?”
Of course you can! And it will look just as fabulous! These beautiful clients all chose more casual spring family photo outfits with jeans, and these are some of my favorite portfolio images. It’s all in what you pair it with–the lighter colors the jeans are paired with as well as simple, timeless tops with textured detail is what elevates these casual outfits.
So why is the Client Closet almost all dresses? Well, for starters, dresses are easy. There’s no matching tops to bottoms—just grab your favorite one and you’re done! When you’re assembling a whole family’s wardrobe, there’s something to be said for making it easier on yourself by choosing one piece options like a dress for some members of the family.
Dresses are also easier to find in flexible sizing. Most of the dresses in the Client Closet are made to fit several sizes and body types with features like wrap dresses or adjustable waistbands.
Lastly, flowy dresses give incredible movement to a photo session that I just love! You can let the breeze gently swish the skirt, you can hold a bit of the fabric of the skirt in your hand as you walk (bonus: you’ll give your hands something to do), you can let it twirl around you as you hold your baby and spin slowly. So. Much. Movement! That sort of thing photographs beautifully and just adds a fun element to your photo shoot.
Casual Spring Family Photo Outfits Tips for Wearing Pants instead of Dresses
Today I’m sharing my best tips for wearing pants instead of a dress at your family photo session. These few tips can make all the difference in making sure you still have elevated photos with the aesthetic you want in your wall art and on your holiday cards. Let’s talk about how to wear pants instead of dresses for family photos and how to look STUNNING!
Follow the one fitted, one loose formula
The one thing you want to avoid is wearing something that is loose and baggy all over. I love to create curves with poses by having clients bend a knee, for example. But, if your clothes are overall so baggy that you can’t see that you’re bending your leg at all, you lose some of the flattering benefit of that pose. You’ll notice that all of the dresses I have in the Client Closet have a fitted bodice and a flowy skirt. Follow the same formula by having a fitted top and flowy slacks. Or try an elevated pair of leggings with a tunic length blouse.
Stick with the colors in your palette
If you’re going for a light neutral or pastel color palette, which I recommend to get the aesthetic you see in my portfolio, you’ll want to avoid things like very dark blue or black jeans or black pants. Even though they’re neutral and are a great dressed up option for regular life, they’ll read pretty dark on camera and bring the overall color tone of your final portraits away from the light, airy tones we’re usually going for. Instead of black slacks, try a light grey or light olive. Instead of dark wash jeans, try white, cream, or the lightest denim wash you can find—that usually looks great with oatmeal color tops, like in the color palette below. This image would look so much darker if everyone had dark wash jeans instead of lighter ones.
Don’t be afraid to dress it up
This is my favorite advice to give in the Wardrobe Guide, and it holds true whether you’re wearing a dress or pants. Family photos are a great opportunity to dress up a little, so you might try wearing something a little elevated. I like to aim for a dressy casual look. You don’t have to go all out in formal clothes (that is, if you don’t want to). Instead of jeans and a t-shirt, think of what you would wear to a nice brunch or date night. It can be as simple as looking for a dressier fabric or a different cut: flowy slacks, linen paperbag waist pants, that kind of thing!
Nip in at the narrowest part of your waist
This is a favorite trick of mine that we see in dresses allllll the time: have your waistband sit at the narrowest part of your waist. This is one reason I love empire waist dresses that are fitted just under the bust, or ones with an elastic waist at the natural waistline. It gives your body some shape there and is super flattering on a variety of body types. It’s a hard lesson to get to stick with people like me from the generation of super low cut jeans (looking at you, Britney circa 1999). If you choose an outfit with a visible waistband, that horizontal line will emphasize width wherever it hits. For that reason, higher waist pants that hit at your natural waist might be a better choice.
My favorite pant styles for casual spring family photos:
Links, from left to right:
I love how these nip in so perfectly at the natural waistline, plus there’s a wide range of colors that include plenty of lighter tones to go with your light and airy color palette!
This is the type of light wash that’s going to photograph beautifully with softer tones. There’s no extra detailing on the denim so it’s timeless, and it’s a mid-high rise that’s going to be super flattering.
This is another great option for paperbag pants. It has less gathering fabric around the waistline, if you’d prefer less fabric bulk at the waistline.
These are a great flowy option. They look tailored instead of sloppy because they’re fitted at the waistband and hips. Keep that fitted look up top as well with a fitted blouse or tee like they’ve done here. It’s also such a great neutral color.
Leggings are always an option–just stick to solid color, light neutral colors in an elevated fabric like this suede. It’s perfect paired with a tunic knit.
Madewell always has great elevated casual pants in neutral colors, and this pair works great as a wide leg option. It’s tailored at the waistline and around the hips and made in a lightweight, flowy fabric.
I hope this all helps as you plan your casual spring family photo outfits! Pants or dresses, choose whichever feels right to you. Remember your color palette and look for a flattering fit, and you’ll be ready for for your next family photos.