Family Christmas Photo Ideas – What to Wear for the Family Photo

It’s time to start collecting family Christmas photo ideas if you haven’t already taken that perfect photo. For us, one of the most important (and difficult!) decisions when planning your family photo is deciding what to wear. But it’s worth the effort. Coming up with some sort of theme, even a simple color palette, can turn an ordinary family photo into a portrait worth hanging on your wall—not to mention a beautiful Christmas card!

If you’re having your photos taken by a professional photographer, be sure to ask them for clothing ideas that will work best in the location you’ve chosen. He or she is certain to have a few ideas. To give you some examples, we’ve gathered a few family Christmas photo ideas that we love, focusing on the clothing choices and how they affect the photo.

Light colors
When the whole family is wearing light colors, it focuses attention on the darker colors in the photo, such as facial features, hair color, or the beautiful scenery in the background. We like a mix of light colors, which looks more natural than everyone wearing the same color.
Light Colors
Light colors
Top photo by: Christy Bode Photography
Left photo by: Ashlee Raubach; Right photo by: Ashlee Raubach

Dark colors
The dark colors this family is wearing make them stand out against the lighter sky and field. The dark blue color solidly grounds them and gives them the appearance of a tight unit, which is a nice subliminal message for a family photo.
Dark colors
Photo by:

Bright & casual
The playful poses of the kids match the playful colors in this photo, and help the kids stand out against the gorgeous fall colors in the background. Letting the kids wear something they’re comfortable in can also make the photo shoot go a little more smoothly, which is something to keep in mind when collecting family Christmas photo ideas.
Bright and casual
Photo by:

Create contrast for black and white photos
If you plan to make your photo black and white, creating contrast between light and dark colors will make it more interesting. Light colors, whether clothing, faces or background objects, will stand out the most. To draw attention to the faces in your photo, wear clothing that’s darker than your skin tone. Keep white clothes to a minimum, and avoid dressing everyone in mid-range colors which all turn to gray. A mix of shades is more interesting, like the photos in our Fresh Poinsettia Vertical Photo Christmas Cards and Gingham Photo Greeting Cards.
Create contrast for black and white photos

Stark background
A background without a lot of color, such as a snowy landscape, monochromatic field, or an urban setting, will keep the focus on you and your family. Even subtle colors will pop, like they’re hand-painted onto the photo (as in the winter scene at left) while dressing everyone in bright colors (like the other two photos) can make a completely different statement.
Stark background collage
Left photo by: Ashlee Raubach; Top right photo by:; Bottom right photo by: Ashlee Raubach

Colorful background
A brightly colored background can give your photo a ton of attitude, but it might call for simple, black and white clothes so the family members stand out. In this example, we notice Mom, Dad, and son first and then realize, with a smile, that their daughter blends right in with the fun surroundings!
Colorful background
Photo by: Laci Davis Photography

Match your clothing to the card (or vice versa)
If you love the color of a certain Christmas card, have one or more people in the family wear something in that color, even something as small as a hair bow. That way, it looks like the photo and the card were meant for each other. Our Tis the Season to Sketch Horizontal Christmas Cards, for example, look great with bright aqua, green or red accents in the photo. On the other hand, our You Pick Color Christmas Cards allow you to change the color in the card to match something in the photo. Either way, it’s a match made in heaven.
Match your clothing to the card (or vice versa)

See our family Christmas photo ideas Pinterest board for more examples of family photos. Once you have a photo you love, you’ll be ready to start creating your own holiday photo cards. Still looking? Read more photo ideas, including:

Christmas cards


As the marketing and website copywriter for Pear Tree, Cathy knows how intimidating writing a Christmas card or thank you note can be. She is married to an active husband and Mom to three teenage boys.

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13 thoughts on “Family Christmas Photo Ideas – What to Wear for the Family Photo

  1. Love these photo hints and article. We just shot ones on our property wearing black shirts and jeans. I can’t wait to get the pics back and make Christmas cards from them.

  2. When we went for holiday photos last year, everyone was all decked out in overpriced and over decorated holiday attire, and my family decided to wear pajamas and slippers for a casual, cozy feeling. People were kicking themselves saying, “What a great idea!” and “Wish we would’ve done that!” The best part? The kids had fun and were comfortable, too!

  3. do you think that it is good idea to all the adults wear red clothes and the toddler white? i will really appreciate your answer thanks

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