Family Beach Sessions | What should you wear? | Destin Family Photographer

Family Beach Sessions | Deciding What To Wear


Beach sessions are my favorite and also one which comes with many “what should we wear” questions.  As a mom, I know how important it is to capture every milestone.  I also know how picking out your outfits for a family photo session can be stressful.  Whether you have a 3 year old or a 15 year old…it’s hard to find an outfit that everyone loves and looks great together.  

I decided to put together a Do’s and Don’ts list to help the process.  With a little direction and planning beach sessions can be super fun and laid back.  My most important tidbit is: you want your outfits to reflect your sense of style and personality and be comfortable.  

Santa Rosa Beach Photographer | 30A | Grayton Beach State Park

Santa Rosa Beach Photographer | 30A | Grayton Beach State Park

Here are some other suggestions:

Start With Color

  • Start with a color palette…color is your friend!  
  • You don’t have to match! Coordinating is best and that can look like all kinds of things.  
  • Pick a main color you like and add some neutrals.  Example being if you love blue (pick a shade of blue) and add in cream, gray or a pop of coral.  
  • I like colors that will naturally enhance the beautiful beach setting.  Some colors that look great on the beach and with the water are…blue/greens, teals/aquas and pinks/corals.  
  • Solid colors always photograph well, but don’t be afraid to throw in a simple print. 
  • When in doubt select one patterned outfit for a single person in your family and then pull colors from that pattern to dress everyone else in solid colors to coordinate.
  • Try to avoid busy patterns and apparel with large graphics or logos.  They can be really distracting. 
  • With larger groups it can be easier to pick one or two easy colors or do the classic white and there is nothing wrong with that.
Destin Photographer | Henderson Beach State Park | The Henderson Resort

Destin Photographer | Henderson Beach State Park | The Henderson Resort

Create Interest With Layers & Accessories

  • I love seeing fun ACCESSORIES! They are super quick and add personality for each family member.  Ladies can bring a scarf/light cardigan or statement piece of jewelry, maybe a fun headband or bow for girls, or even a cute hat for boys that can be taken on & off quickly.  Dad can simply roll up his sleeves for a more relaxed everyday look.
  • Think about the beach environment when picking your outfit – short skirts, unruly ruffles, floppy collars and low necklines can be extra challenging in the wind.
  • Clothing with texture photographs beautifully (eyelet shirts, linen, denim, lace, etc.)
Santa Rosa Beach Photographer | Destin, FL. | Henderson Beach State Park

Santa Rosa Beach Photographer | Destin, FL. | Henderson Beach State Park

Makeup, Hair & Shoes

  • When applying makeup – please keep in mind less is more most of the time, but try and stay away from glitter/metallic sheen or a shiny foundation.  
  • It’s helpful to bring a brush or some way to pull longer hair back in the event of wind.
  • I recommend that you avoid applying lotion right before your session to avoid sand sticking to your skin even more and not easily brushing off.  
  • Most families do not wear shoes during beach portrait sessions.  Images generally look better without.  
  • A clean-shaven look for men is best.  It’s great if haircuts for boys/men can take place about a week before the session.  
  • Towards the end of the shoot, feel free to get in the water or your feet wet!


Your Home Plays A Role

  • Consider where your portraits are going to be displayed in your home.  
  • Consider your wall colors and the overall decor & style in those rooms as you plan your outfits and pick colors.  
Destin Photographer | Wall Gallery Collection/Collages

Destin Photographer | Wall Gallery Collection/Collages


  • Before choosing an outfit, make sure you try it on and move around in it; if you can’t transition from sitting to standing without a lot of adjustment, that outfit probably isn’t the right one.
  • I find it’s easier to start with mom’s outfit or the girls (if you have girls)….then from there start adding solid or simple prints for the men/boys.  Find a nice pair of jeans or khakis for everyone and wear a blouse or button-up shirt for the boys.  


At the end of the day…we want to capture your family and help you remember this season in your life.  We want to remember that picture of the kids laughing and tickling each other, those little dimples, shaggy hair or even missing teeth.  I always prefer to have the personality of your family shine through.  I’m happy to help if you have any questions.  You can text or email me pictures and I can help guide you through the process of picking flattering, practical outfits.  Your family portrait should always be about you all – your smiles, happiness, and love for one another.


Check out our Pinterest Board for awesome clothing ideas!


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Destin, Florida