Step 1 - Coordinate outfits. Everybody in the portrait should wear items that complement each other in style and color. It is not necessary for all clothes to match, but they must make sense together. If grandpa wears a suit and tie and grandma wears shorts and a t-shirt, the portrait may look unbalanced and poorly planned.
Step 2 - Pick clothes appropriate to the portrait's setting. An outdoor portrait with a backdrop of fall leaves lends itself to casual clothing like khakis and crisp white shirts, or jeans and sweaters. A studio portrait with a plain colored background lends itself more to formal or semi-formal attire.
Step 3 - Stick to solids and subtle patterns. Bold stripes, large designs and polka dots stand out and tend to draw attention from the portrait's subject. An eclectic mix of patterns can clash and reduce the quality of a portrait.
Step 4 - Dress in timeless clothing for your family portrait. Let your age, rather than the clothes you wear, date the portrait.
Step 5 - Have appropriate shoes and socks. Many family portraits are full-body shots, so if you wear sneakers with your dress, you'll probably feel silly. If you plan to change clothes, bring shoes and socks to go with each outfit.
Step 6 - Wear colors that translate well through photography. Dark colors like navy blue, black and earth tones look especially nice outdoors. White clothing can get lost against a white background, and dark clothing against a pastel provides nice contrast. Bright shades of yellow, orange and pink can alter skin tones and are not ideal for photographs.
Step 7 - Clean and iron all clothing before the portrait. If your clothes wrinkle easily, change just before the sitting. Bring wrinkle release spry and a detergent pen to the portrait site for last-minute emergencies.