What to Wear for your Hawaii Family Portrait Beach Session

I know that figuring out What to Wear for your Hawaii Family Portrait Beach Session can feel like the most stressful thing about having family portraits taken. This post is meant to guide and inspire you, and hopefully, take some of that stress off! But keep in mind that it is not an exact formula nor is it a prescription of what you HAVE to wear.

The most important thing to remember is to keep it clean and simple, relaxed and comfortable. Keep outfits soft, warm and easy – that way, we can focus all of our time on your family and the connection you have with one another.

Basic Tips on What to Wear for your Hawaii Family Portrait Beach Session:

  • Solid colors always photograph well. There’s no risk of distracting from faces, joyful interactions or even the beautiful Hawaii scenery.

  • Ladies: look for soft, natural fabrics that drape and flow. These make for beautiful portraits and give a sense of motion.

  • Choose colors to pick up the beautiful colors of the ocean and sunset. Neutrals such as soft pinks, cream, muted blues, soft greens and white all photograph extremely, blending effortlessly with the natural elements rather than competing with them.

  • When in doubt select one patterned outfit for a single person in the family and then pull colors from that pattern to dress everyone else in solid colors to coordinate.

  • Don’t worry about shoes. Plan on being barefoot as shoes in the sand aren’t really practical and look a little odd. In fact, please don’t bring nice sandals to the beach! Sand is pretty good at getting everywhere.

  • Bring a change of clothes or backup shirt/bottoms for little ones and a towel. Someone inevitably gets a bit wet and sandy from the ocean sprays or surprise dips in the ocean!

Where to Shop for you Hawaii Family Portrait Beach Session:

  • For mom: H&M, Old Navy, J. Crew, Forever 21

  • For dad: J. Crew, Zara, Gap, H&M, Target

  • For kids and baby: Zara, Target, Baby Gap, Old Navy

Looking for more inspiration about what to wear for your Hawaii Family Portrait Beach Session?

Pastel and soft colors

A beautiful long, flowy dress for mom is a classic choice. The blush color set against the pinks and blues from the sunset is a nearly guaranteed perfect look. Dress dad and kids in complementary neutral colors, leaning towards solid colors to keep everything perfectly coordinated. Remember to accessorize with jewelry, belts, hair bows, and other personal touches.

Burst of Tropical Colors

Pull colors from one patterned look to help dress the rest of the family. Above, the pinks, greens, and yellow from Mom’s beautiful tropical maxi help to make the entire family coordinate without being “matchy-matchy”. This fun color combo is perfect for sunrise or sunset beach portraits on the beach!

A bold pattern (+ neutrals)

Make sure only one outfit is bold in color if you want a cohesive look without any competing or clashing colors. The crisp white and gray tones perfectly match each other as well as the bold blue and will look perfect on a warmly lit beach at sunset. This is a more formal collection set.

Go red and bold

Soft colors are classic but don’t be afraid to go bold if that feels more right for your family! A bold red for mom sets the foundation and colors from everyone else coordinate beautifully with it. The hint of yellow from the young girls’ dress is echoed in the baby’s outfit to tie everything together. This color set is perfect for a bright, golden sunrise portrait session.

Shades of Blue

For larger groups, a good rule is to find a pattern and stick with it. Here, the boys are in khaki bottoms and crisp buttoned shirts. The girls are in solid and patterned blues of a complementary shade. This pattern easily repeats itself for a family group of 6+!

Colors of the Ocean

Shades of soft blues and aqua are an easy choice for your family beach portrait session. These colors work beautifully with the colors of the ocean and sand. This is a more casual outfit collection – with dad rocking a classic and simple Aloha shirt (patterned, but not too loud or overpowering), and the two boys wearing relaxed cuffed shorts for a modern beachy style. Putting mom in a short, fun summer dress keeps her look in step with the relaxed look of the rest of the family.

Final tip: Add your own personal style

I’m not saying you need to look exactly like this. In fact, I count on each family adding their own twist and personality to these suggestions to bring their session to life. This is meant to be used for inspiration and to help guide you. At the end of the day, it’s really not about the clothing. I’m going to be capturing your FAMILY and that’s the most important thing. So don’t stress, just have fun with it!

Will you be vacationing on the Big Island of Hawaii soon? What better way to capture your family than with a sunset photo session on one of the beautiful beaches in the Waikoloa / Puako area. I’d love to capture memories you’ll cherish forever! Book your Hawaii family portrait session today!


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