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what we’ll wear for family photos

    We’re having family photos taken this week for the first time in way too long. We’ll use one for our Christmas card, but we also just hope to capture us being us during this slightly chaotic, but also really fun time in our family’s life.

    What it means for me is that I get to choose coordinating {but not too matchy} outfits for our whole crew and they’ll actually wear them. Love this.

    So here’s what I’m thinking:


    With three boys {plus dad}, navy is a pretty obvious choice, but it also works well because of its timelessness and the fact that it is sort of season-neutral. Plus, everyone in my family except for me have really striking blue eyes and they look good in blue. We’ll add in a few hints of orange just for fun.

    Most of these items are the actual clothes the kids will wear. Some we already had, some were purchased especially for photos.

    Here’s a close-up of each outfit:


    Our oldest is almost 10, not a fan of anything but athletic shorts and hooded sweatshirts, so he’ll probably not love me for making him wear a button-up or jeans, but he’ll look cute and preppy like his mama likes. {sources: jcrew factory, abercrombie, gap, crocs shoes}.


    No. 2 is eight and has a thing for dressing up. He doesn’t do it often, but he likes to look nice and so I thought a tie would be fun to show a little bit of his personality. Still sporty, but a little bit fancier. {sources: jcrew factory, gap, old navy}


    No. 3 is six and would wear shorts, no shirt and flip flops every day of his life if he could {and if it was not 40 outside}. I would have loved to put him in a cute chunky knit fisherman sweater, but my baby would have been terribly uncomfortable and I think we would miss his super sweet/spunky personality in the photos if he was pulling at his sweater the whole time. {sources: gap, old navy, target}


    Audrey is happy in anything that spins or is sparkly. It may be too cold outside to go without tights, so her outfit may change a little – maybe her navy rain boots instead of the sweet striped shoes. {sources: joyfolie, target, old navy, jcrew}

    So, obviously, I’m a little crazy to create a design board for what my kids will wear for photos. But I was sick in bed and it was fun. And now I don’t have to think about it on the day of photos.

    But here’s one thing we need to decide: since this is the first year we’ve had a dog … are we a family that includes Atlas in our photos? {we’re thinking probably yes – at least for some}. And then, when we send our christmas cards, do we include our pup’s name on it? Is that what you do? Or is that super dorky? Advice, please …

    50 thoughts on “what we’ll wear for family photos”

    1. Last year our card that had a picture of each girl (3 daughters), one group picture and a picture of Elliot, our dog. It was super cute. Everyone one was listed including Elliot.

    2. Super cute outfits! I love your take on the family photos….and the dog is part of the family so I vote him in the pictures. You could ask the kids what they think. Have fun and enjoy these years, they go sooooo fast.

    3. I have three boys 6-4-2 and this too is our first year with a pup (labradoodle) and we opted to have our Sophie join us. It was painful. None of my boys cooperated. The dog was wanting to do her own thing and my husband and I were just a frustrated mess. Maybe it was the age of my boys and the dog still being a pup. However, she is the newest member of our family and we want to be able to share her with our friends and family. Good luck!

    4. The outfit choices are great and won’t take away from your adorable kiddos. I like it when my friends and family include the dog on their Christmas Cards., Our fur babies are part of your family and his name is a must! (just my opinion) It’s your everyday life…looking forward to see a few of your family photos =)

    5. Here’s the deal…this is YOUR card and should include what best represents your family. Make it all about you and your family, whoever & whatever that includes! Having said all that, we are huge pet lovers. Our pets are part of our family and everyone that knows us, knows this to be true! Personally I would include my pets and their names.

    6. I think it’s adorable when families add their pets. They’re family members too! And they really capture your family as it exists now, for you and your family members to look back on for years and years to come.

    7. We have our dogs on the card every year (and sign their names as well ;). It’s become a tradition now. Love the outfit choices, especially Audrey’s shoes! Can’t wait to see how they turn out!

    8. I would definitely vote to include Atlas in at least some of the family photos. I would personally vote to also include him on the Christmas card and to include his name but that’s my personal preference and I’m a bit of the crazy dog lady (plus, my husband and I don’t yet have kids).

      I think your family will enjoy have a pic including Atlas even if you don’t use it on the card. If you do use it on the card, my philosophy is that they’re a member of the family too so their name should be on it. But again, this is all personal preference.

      Good luck – the outfits are adorable!

    9. I think your dog should be included in the picture and his/her name included as your pet is part of your family. I love how the kids are all going to be in blue, such a Pacific Northwest color… it!

    10. These are going to be fantastic photos! Great choices and everything flows so well. Thanks for giving me the heads up for JoyFolie – totally forgot about that brand and I am heading to check our their new stuff now!

    11. Sparkle and spin, I love it! When my daughter was 3 we coined the term “twirl factor” to describe the types of dresses and skirts she loved. She is nearly seven now, and nothing has changed! I hope it never does….

    12. In France, we do not often do this type of pictures for greetings or Christmas … But our family does! I usually take a picture of our summer vacation or other and I include our faces inset with a text to wish our wishes. Or, again, we sat on the couch and the camera took us alone!
      Regarding outfits in our sofa, we wore our outfits for Christmas Eve, as we were all very chic!
      On the other compositions, which I made ​​with a holiday, I take our most smiling faces as possible! …
      For your required, I like your choices, but you do not see yours!
      Good photo, I hope from France, I would get your wishes! And I promise, I will send you mine! Carole

    13. Hi! I couldn’t resist commenting that just a few more {green} accessories and y’all will could transform the cute outfits (at least on a few takes … ) to “12th Man!!” Go Seahawks! They are doing so well!

    14. The outfits are so cute! I just bought the same sweater for our daughter. I like the idea of taking some shots with the dog and some without. Then you can decide what you like best. You have to share your card with us when you get it done!

    15. Absolutely, Atlas should be included in the family photos AND his name should be on the Christmas card. I don’t even really like animals, but we got our kiddos a kitty from the humane society about 3 years ago and Tulip is a HUGE part of our family know. We sign all of our cards with Tulip, even birthday cards to others! Tulip isn’t in our family photos since taking a cat out for a photo shoot is much more difficult than a dog, but I usually add in a photo of her off to the side on our card! Good luck – your outfits are GREAT and you will all look amazing!

    16. My son included his dog’s with the family one year and I had numerous calls about the new baby Murphy. I loved explaining Murphy was the golden but he wasnt’ in any of the photos so people were confused. If the dog is in the photo, put the dog’s name in – people will get it.

    17. I love your choices! And since I wrote about the same thing on my blog today, I definitely don’t think you’re crazy to create a design board. You did a great job picking items your boys won’t be too annoyed about, which is a challenge for sure.

    18. Love the outfit choices! You always style everyone so cool and comfy, yet chic. Its just me and my westie pup so my cards are usually just a pic of her and I sign it from the both of us. It may be super dorky but I love it. She’s my family and I always want to remember that. I say go for it!

    19. Yes! We include our dog and he’s usually the hit of the card. A few tips for the photo shoot:
      1. You need a helper. Someone to stand behind the photographer and squeak an annoying squeaky toy so the dog will look at the camera.
      2. Everyone must look at the camera. With the dog in he shot, the kids will be tempted to look at the dog for his reaction. Everyone must look at the camera.
      3. Mom must look at the camera. Don’t look at the dog or the kids, look at the camera. People want to see your faces.
      4. Be ready. Almost every year our first or second photo the best one and it’s the one we use on cards.
      5. Be adventurous with your poses. Think ahead. Standing, sitting, giving piggy-back rides, leaning over the railing on a bridge, etc. One of our favorites was the year we turned our son upside down and he and the dog are almost nose-to-nose, smiling at each other.

    20. this is great, I’m interested in knowing what you wear to a photo shoot. I’m recently engaged and will soon be taking engagement photo and I have not a clue what to wear. Any ideas?

    21. I say if he’s in the picture you send out, then yes! But if not, then no.

      We have 3 cats, and I would love to have them in our photos and their names on our card, but there’s no way we could get them all in one (good) shot.

    22. So fun! I just bought that dotted cardigan from Target for my daughter, and I love it. Now if it would drop below 80 here in Florida so I could convince her to wear it =)

    23. I love them all! My 6-year old is already getting to the point where he doesn’t like to wear what I pick out. So much for the preppy look. It’s been replaced with Superheroes galore!

      I love the grey tennis shoes for your 8-year old. I couldn’t find them on Old Navy, Gap, or JCrew Factory. Where did you find them?

      Can’t wait to see the finished product. I know it will be adorable!

    24. We have always included our dog!!! And we now have our third rescue dog –we’ve had one a time for 15 years and wouldn’t think of leaving any of them out!!! Include Atlas!!

    25. We don’t have a dog, but I always thought it was super cute when families added their pets to their cards. So, if we had a dog, I would add them! Go for it!

    26. You guys will look great, we have had our dog in our family pictures before he passed on and it makes it for a fuller family. Can’t wait to see how they turn out!

    27. Include Atlas, why not? He’s technically a part of the family. I know what you mean about not wanting to feel dorky, though. I think some people go too far with pets and treat them like people sometimes, but I think this is appropriate. ….just don’t dress him up!! :)

    28. you know what, emily? include the dog in both the photo and the names if that’s what you want because it’s really about others enjoying who you are when they receive the precious gift of a holiday card….and that is part of who you are. you love your dog and that’s okay :-) i think a little more transparency in cards is called for our culture after too many years of “look at our perfect little life” cards! but then, i am old ;-)

    29. Of course include Atlas! He’s part of your family isn’t he? Over the years, raising my own 3 children, I have included ALL of our family in professional portraits, 4 legged family included….the children have grown and gone (one lives in WA now, thousands of miles from home)….yet I still have the rest of my family….this year’s Christmas photo will include the two of us, 4 dogs and 5 cats…(and a partridge in a pear tree!) not really, the partridge that is. The photographer MUST come to our home and talk about chaos….fortunately ALL of our family likes one another…..

    30. I love the outfits you’ve chosen… can’t wait to see what you end up wearing, and what your pictures turn out like! I think you should definitely include Atlas in your photos, and his name of your Christmas cards. We always include our pets, and I love to receive cards from friends and family who have done the same!

    31. I love the outfits! What are you planning to wear? I have a house full of boys; so I have a hard time picking out something for me that doesn’t make me standout but is still fun.

    32. I love when people include their animals and their names, it’s fun to know that little detail! I include our lab if he cooperates! Plus they are a huge part of the family! Go for it! Can’t wait to see this cute fam in pics!

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