What to Wear for a Photoshoot Outdoors

If you have an outdoor photoshoot locked in, congratulations! You are going to be in for some stunning photos at the end of the experience. Outdoor photography sessions are a popular choice for family photo sessions where you can get family portraits and group photos taken to document the time of life you are in currently. If you have booked a professional photographer, they will have no doubt mentioned a choice of location and the vibe they are intending to go for but what do you wear to a photoshoot? In this article, we will discuss the best way to tackle dress code for your upcoming photo session including colour schemes, style and accessories, textures and the small details. 

Location and Weather for your Outdoor Photoshoot

When you’re planning your outdoor shoot, consider the weather forecast and season of which your outdoor photo session is taking place. This will influence how well your photos turn out or even if your outdoor session can go ahead on the chosen day. Outdoor photo shoots are heavily dependent on the weather conditions. This isn’t to say that the photo shoot can’t go ahead if the conditions are overcast or even rainy but in moments where there are weather warnings or excessive rain and/or wind, your photographer may choose that these weather conditions don’t work with their vision of the project.  

To dress your best for an outdoor location, it is best to wear something that you will be sufficiently comfortable in outside. It’s also worth considering choosing clothes that fit well. If it’s a shoot in Summer, it might be best to wear an outfit that is breathable and light to prevent you or the other subjects from sweating throughout the outdoor session. The same logic applies to Winter weather and every other season. If you’re having a Winter shoot, you don’t want to sit there shivering in the cold because you didn’t dress for the weather. If you’re not comfortable within what you’re wearing, it can show in the final output and ultimately could disappoint you with the result.

Location of your photoshoot can come into play with your clothing choices in terms of the vibe you may want to give off. Your location is an important aspect to consider when choosing your outfit so that you dress to complement your surroundings and the natural elements. Outdoor shoots generally fall into four different categories of locations:

  • Open country 
  • Woodlands or forest
  • Beach
  • Urban or cityscape style

Deciding on a Colour Palette for a Cohesive Look

Family photoshoot. Image by Jonathan Borba from Unsplash.
Family photoshoot. Image by Jonathan Borba from Unsplash.

Before you go rushing off to choose particular clothes you would like to wear, you should choose a color palette for the group. We suggest you don’t try to match colours for everyone, rather coordinate outfits with corresponding colours. A few popular choices of colour palette options include complementary colors which is a mix of two colours, including a few similar shades from the colours. We recommend choosing up to three colours for your next outdoor family photoshoot. Better yet, you can use different shades of each of the chosen colours to give everyone a sense of their own personal style to your family photo.

We recommend you choose clothes that don’t include text, cartoon drawings, busy patterns and large logos for outfits for outdoor shoots. This will detract from the end result and will create visual interest in the clothing choices instead of on the subjects faces. For a timeless look, we recommend choosing outfits that have solid colors that will complement the rest of the family’s outfits and skin tones. 

Each season has it’s own colours that symbolises and represents the weather change. You can use the following colours and clothing options as a guide for your next family photography session. This is so everyone’s outfits coordinate and work cohesively together. 

Summer Clothing Options 

Popular colours: pastels or neutral colours.

Clothing options: short skirts, shorts, flowy dresses, linen button downs, t-shirts with bare feet.

Autumn Clothing Options

Popular colours: earthy colors such as oranges, browns, reds, purples, yellows, blues and greens.

Clothing options: pants, long skirts, long sleeve shirts, cardigans, boots, scarves and hats.

Winter Clothing Options

Popular colours: browns, neutrals, reds and greens.

Clothing options: jackets, pants, long sleeve shirts, jumpers, scarves, boots and hats. 

Spring Clothing Options

Popular colours: greens, neutrals, yellows, pastels and blues.

Clothing options: skirts, dresses, pants, shorts, long sleeve shirts, t-shirts, jackets and cardigans.

If you’re still unsure how best to make these colour palettes work and look great, you can look through Pinterest for what to wear for outdoor photo shoot. This will give you an idea 

Choosing the Right Style and Accessories

Depending on the season you are having your family pictures taken, you can accessorise in different ways. Say you’re having your session take place in Winter or Spring, you can add in a hat/beanie, scarf and other layers to create a bit of variety across the group. Accessories are there to help showcase your personality and your style, so don’t be afraid to add in your favourite accessories! This will help ensure you feel comfortable and relaxed in what you are wearing on the day.


Textures can add in a lot of dimension into professional photographs. When we talk about textures, we’re referring to the clothing materials you use to dress appropriately for your session. While you don’t want to match clothing items specifically, you do want to match or at least coordinate textures. This means if your shoot is taking place during the colder months of winter, you want to make sure everyone is dressed in warmer clothing textures such as knits, flannels and other similar fabrics. Textures can also be extended to anything from a different material cardigan to a statement piece of jewellery. 

Don’t Forget the Small Details 

Fun family photoshoot. Image by Gustavo Fring from Pexels.
Fun family photoshoot. Image by Gustavo Fring from Pexels.


Don’t forget about the shoes! Though, this is dependent on whether your shoot is happening on a beach or if everyone is going barefoot instead. While shoes might be the last thing you’re considering when you’re choosing what to wear, they do make an impact when it comes to portrait photography. When it comes to choosing what shoes to wear, consider choosing shoes that are in muted colors or tones. If you choose your show stopper pair of shoes (that are a very different vibe to the rest of the shoot), you can be sure that this will take attention away from the end product. It’s also best to avoid wearing shoes that are ‘well loved’ and have holes or noticeable wear and tear. Shoes can surprisingly make or break an image.  

Hair and Make Up

To put your best foot forward, make sure your skin and hair is kept tidy for your shoot. This does not mean going to get your hair and makeup done professionally prior, though if that would make you feel more comfortable being in front of the camera, then there’s nothing to stop you from getting it done. If you’re wanting more natural styled photos, we suggest you opt for a casual style make up look and hair that you can manage to do yourself. If you do want to try a new style out for your next family shoot, we recommend you try and test your look beforehand to make sure you’re 100% happy with it.

Enough Sleep the Night Before

We all know why sleep gets called ‘beauty sleep’. Getting the right amount of sleep the night before is imperative to giving the shoot your best go. It will help you look less puffy and reduce any potential dark circles around your eyes. If you’re not well rested, you can guarantee you’ll have a lower mood than if you were well rested. Make sure that everyone goes to bed at a decent hour the night before to ensure everyone is in a good mood. This goes for young kids as well. The last thing you want is a sleep deprived kid or adult that could possibly bring the mood down for everyone. 

Have Fun!

When you’re uncomfortable in a scenario, it shows in the end photos. Be silly and have a laugh. These are the moments that can create the best images and show off your individual personality. This will help you relax throughout the shoot as well which will help bring out overall better images and give a much sharper look. 

Planning for a Photo Shoot, Outdoors

If you’re planning your next outdoor shoot, you want to consider all variables and possibilities. While an outdoor shoot can be unpredictable with the weather, you can capture some beautiful moments that would otherwise be very different if it wasn’t for the setting around you. Take it all in and enjoy these moments during the shoot, this might be a moment you wish for time to stand still.