What to wear for your outdoor family photo session


by Zürich Lifestyle Family Photographer Kati

Mum hugging her two daughters for family photos at Katzensee, Zurich

Choosing an outfit for your lifestyle family photoshoot in Switzerland

We all know those days when getting ourselves and our kids dressed and ready for a family outing – it feels like climbing a mountain in Switzerland. Literally… 

Factor in a family photoshoot, be that in your home or outdoors, and the question of “what on earth do we all wear?” is enough to send you into meltdown.

Well, it’s time to breathe deep and smile, because when you work with me it doesn’t have to be like that.

One big reassurance I give mums and dads who hire me as their family photographer is this: “I’m here to sort out the things that would usually keep YOU busy.” My aim is to give you time back to just relax and view your shoot as a fun-filled day with the kids – something we all need more of in our lives.

That goes for helping you decide what you should all wear for your photo shoot, too. We’ll go through all the details in a pre-shoot consultation.

We meet at your home, get to know each other, and you have time to think about all the questions you want to ask me. And I even go through your wardrobe with you, helping you select the right pieces.

expat family at LIndenhof, Zurich, being photographed by lifestyle photographer Kati, with Grossmünster in the background
family with two children at Lake Zürich in Kilchberg, during a lifestyle family photo shoot

Wear what you love – your family, your personality

My brand of family lifestyle photography is all about capturing the authentic you, how you and your loved ones interact and how much you love each other.  For me to capture your special and unique family relationships, you need to feel comfortable and free.

So, wearing a favourite outfit that has you feeling attractive and at ease is only going to help.

Be mindful of some items

While I don’t believe in telling you what to wear, I’d still like to advise you on avoiding the following:

  • Checks and stripes
  • Distracting logos
  • Contrasting colours like black and white
  • Very bright colours – I’m thinking red or hot pink for a start

This is all because you want to avoid anything too ‘contrasty’. So, when we look at a photo where someone is wearing a bold logo on their t-shirt, our eyes are drawn immediately to that logo. But because of the nature of your photo shoot, you will want the beloved faces of your family – rather than their logo’d outfits – to shine first and foremost.

outfit tips for babies for photos, Zurich Switzerland
outfit tips for girls for family photoshoot outdoors

Dress for the time of year

Since we are so lucky to live in Switzerland, with all the different seasons at our suspense, your clothing should match the time of year.

Dress for the weather we have, not for the weather you wish for. If it’s cold, then we need layers and coats and hats.

A warm child is a happy child. Especially smaller children, once they are cold, they don’t want to move any longer and may just become cranky.

Thermals are a good investment for autumn and winter. And you can always take a layer off if you get too warm running around and playing.

Also, I always suggest to bring a spare set of clothes and shoes in the colder months. This way, if they get wet during your outdoor photoshoot, you can change them so that they don’t get cold on the way home.


family with 3 boys, example of outfits for family photo session, Zurich
jeans and t-shirt outfit for a casual family photo session in Zurich along the Viaduct

Consider the environment

Think about where we’ll be taking your photos and dress accordingly. An urban setting like Zurich’s old town can work great for more formal clothes.

Yet if we venture into the woods or the Swiss mountains, you may want to wear more casual clothes.

The same applies to your shoes. Formal shoes would probably look out of place in a woodland setting. For that, wear shoes which are comfortable for running and could even get a little muddy.

Also, don’t try out new shoes, especially for the kids, that may cause discomfort or even blisters.

Coordinated Outfits, or Outfits that work for everyone

It might seem like a safe option but jeans and a top in similar colours for everyone is always a winning outfit. It’s an easy outfit to prepare too, leaving you time to think about some individual touches – maybe a great pair of earrings for you and some cool high tops for your kids – that will characterise your family’s lifestyle beautifully in the final photos.

And while you might not wear them in everyday life, neutral colours also work.

People don’t always look convinced when I tell them this, but once they’ve seen some examples of my family photo sessions, they start to appreciate what a neutral backdrop can do.

dad hugging his two kids, wearing the same outfit for photoshoot, Belvoir Park Zurich
family with coordinated outfits for a family photo session, what to wear for outdoor shoot
Little girl during her fall mini session with Zurich photographer

Clothes for babies

Baby clothes are generally very delightful.

I would suggest following the same recommendation of avoiding checks and big logos.

Pyjamas or baby-grows are often supercute. If it’s warm outside,

I’d recommend a legging rather than a pair of tights underneath, so that we can see those gorgeous little feet in the photos.

Outfits for children

Children’s clothes are mostly very colourful, and I know that girls especially love to wear stripes and dots and unicorns.

And who am I to deny a little girl the opportunity to wear her most loved patterned dress!

Just make sure they were little tights or leggings underneath, so that they don’t show their knickers or nappies when turning and twirling.

siblings hugging during a family photoshoot, at Belvoir Park Zurich
what to wear for teenagers for a family photo session, Zurich old town

Outfits for teenagers

Most teenagers have a strong sense of what they want to wear and what not. It’s important they do so, because if they are not happy, it will show on their faces.

Talk to them, and if they insist on wearing something you wouldn’t like in your photos, we can always have a second outfit on hand.

Try your clothes before the big day

It’s always worth trying outfits the day before. To make sure they fit, and cover everything. You need to be able to squat and move around easily during your photo session.

If you have smaller children, you may hold them with your arms above your head. So please make sure you are comfortable and your top is long enough to cover your midline.

Most kids don’t like getting changed, so it would be great if you tested all their outfits too before our day together.

More than just one look

To have a different set of images, either bring a change of clothes with you, or even easier, a cardigan or jacket that will effortlessly switch up the vibe.

This is also very useful for the little ones, since most kids hate getting changed.

mum dancing with her daughters, wearing dresses for family photoshoot
what should my baby wear for a photo shoot, Katzensee in Zürich

A final note – empty your pockets!

This is such a biggie! But I see it times and times again, despite making families aware.

Please empty all your pockets – jeans, pants, jackets, coats – and place your wallets and phones in a small bag. I am more than happy to carry it for you.

The imprint of a phone or wallet, or bulky and saggy pockets, really do not look nice.

And now that you know which outfits to lay out for you and your kids the night before, why not take a look at my blog on preparing the children for a family photoshoot on the big day itself?

It’s full of more super-useful tips on making your shoot memorable for all the right reasons

It’s time to get excited, let’s plan your session!

Do you have questions? You can book a free consultation call with me HERE.