Best 5 Tips for Picking Fall Portrait Outfits

Photo of my family by Makenzie Evans Photography

It’s everybody’s favorite time of year again! Cooler weather (finally), pumpkin-flavored everything, sweaters and boots, football, and beautiful changing colors. Fall is the number one choice for families who prioritize renewing their family portraits every year, and for good reason! Your kids are little and growing FAST, or they’re getting married, and you’re adding beautiful grandbabies to the mix, and life is flying by faster than you can wrap your mind around. Sure, you snap pictures with your iPhone all the time, but everyone is always so busy that there’s no time to take a breath and enjoy the experience of bringing your whole family together- the people who mean more to you than life itself. Here, you finally spend time together without your eyes glued to your phones, without rushing around to the next thing, and get to create a piece of art that will freeze this time that’s disappearing every time you blink.

This sounds AMAZING, right?! Okay, so now the big question… WHAT DO I WEAR?? I’ll be honest, I was the WORST about struggling to pick the perfect outfits for portraits of my family! Once I figured out some key elements for choosing the right clothes, now it’s a breeze! It makes the experience way more fun! Here are my top 10 tips for picking outfits for fall portraits:

   1. Coordinate

What does coordinating mean, exactly? Most obvious- you don’t all wear the same color! Pick between 3 and 5 different colors, depending on the number of people, and wear varying shades of those colors. Big families can be more daunting to coordinate, but it’s okay if someone is wearing the same color as another. This actually looks great! If you’re using a professional photographer, they will know how to pose the family in a way that those similar colors compliment each other. The family to the right is a perfect example! See how there are two men in navy sweaters, the mom in the middle and the baby girl are wearing burgundy, there are multiple shades of green, and then other colors mixed throughout? When planning for your portraits, communicate with your whole family to ensure that you all coordinate, and it’ll be a success!


2. Seasons

Yes, we’re talking about fall, but there are different stages of fall that can determine your color scheme! The stage of fall that you choose is dependent on 2 main things:

  1. Your personal preference- Do you absolutely LOVE the deep red, orange, and yellow hues of the peak fall colors? Do you love the cool temperatures of fall, but don’t love the color red? Do you prefer the late fall/almost winter vibe (Christmas lover, anyone?)
  2. Availability- You and your family are BUSY! What date in that 2 month timeframe works for all of you, AND your preferred photographer?


Ask your photographer what the best dates are for your preferred look, or if you choose your date first, then ask them what the colors will look like at that time. It’s a busy time of year for us- we know the season and its changes well!

Now that you’ve decided on your date, let’s talk about choosing your outfits around the colors.

Early Fall

In early fall, the greens have started dimming, and the trees are beginning to change, but there isn’t any vibrant color yet. Honestly, almost any color looks great at this time of year! We are talking about fall here, so I wouldn’t recommend spring or summer-like colors, but rather colors like cream, brown, navy, green, burgundy, etc. This season is perfect for those who don’t prefer the vibrant fall colors, and want to keep things more neutral and versatile. I am a HUGE advocate for printing your photos, especially displaying as pieces of art on the walls of your home, so keep this in mind as well. If your home decor style doesn’t contain bright or vibrant colors, or you just hate the color red, then this is the season for you!

Peak Leaf Season

This is when the trees are on fire! There is about a 7-10 day window, depending where you live (I’m located near Little Rock, Arkansas), when the colors are at their peak, just before the leaves begin to die. Around here, this is the most popular time of the entire year for portraits! (So book your photographer early!) Bring on the sweaters, boots, and layers! Again, this is all about personal preference. If you LIVE for those fall colors and want all of them you can get, then go bold! If you like it in small doses, keep it neutral. It’s simple- don’t overthink it! Here are some examples of neutral and bold:


Late Fall

Whether personal preference, or schedule-driven, if you choose late fall (after the colors have dulled and the grass and leaves are mostly brown), or even early winter, your portraits are going to be just as beautiful! And you’re just in time to gift the photos to family members for Christmas 🙂 Like with early fall, you can get away with a wide range of colors, and now you can add on more layers (without sweating underneath, anyway).

3. Dress it up

You may only have new portraits created once a year- go all out! Don’t be afraid to dress it up! Your favorite boots may pair well with a knee-length dress, or choose a maxi dress for a comfortable, yet classy look. Your man can’t complain about being hot in a suit or sports coat this time of year, so it’s a perfect time to go for it!

Photo on left: Makenzie Evans Photography



4. Sweaters, Boots, & Layers

Three of a Southern girl’s favorite words! When dressing for fall, you can never go wrong with the big three: sweaters, boots, and layers! Pro tip: make sure that the sweater is flattering with your body type. Whether it be the width, length, or neckline, you want to feel confident and comfortable in the sweater! Not all sweaters are created equal! Look in the mirror and go with your gut- does it make you look shorter than you already are? Wider than you actually are? Don’t settle just because sweaters are “in.” Be careful with the height of the heels on your boots. If you’re close to the same height as your partner, I wouldn’t advise wearing boots with a tall heel that accentuate the height difference (unless you’re both totally cool with it- then go for it!) As for the layers, make sure they’re layers that flatter you and compliment your outfit- not that make you appear wider than you really are! Layers are a fun way to add diversity and interest to your wardrobe, so have fun with it!



5. Blankets

Using a blanket in a few of your portraits is a fun way to add a cozy, romantic vibe to your portraits! Or bring one along for the little ones to sit on. Coordinate the blanket with the outfits (ex: if you’re wearing solid colors, go for that plaid blanket, or vice versa) and you’ll love the variety!


Are you feeling more confident about your wardrobe this fall? GOOD! You can do this! Now go and enjoy it! And if you’d like to reserve your fall session with me, click here!


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