Good question. There are a lot of right answers here, and a few wrong ones. Different things apply to different families, and children are their own category all together! This post by Leigh Anne of "Your Homebased Mom" is a good place to start.
Recently, the Burgener clan had our own family photos taken. Despite my experience as a photographer, and the secret way I laugh at people for worrying so much over what to wear, I found myself carefully considering our attire. I wanted it to be just right. Everybody does it! So, based on that experience, let me give you my own advice:
1. Be comfortable.
Just as with location, lighting, and colors, great photos rely on relaxed subjects. If you squeeze yourself into that perfect dress or those fabulous shoes that pinch your toes, you will likely be uncomfortable, worried about ruining your clothes, and look uptight in your photos. Choose clothing that you love to wear - your favorite shirt...you know, that one that makes you feel gorgeous because it's just the perfect shade to highlight your eyes or hair...is a good option.
Nine months after having a baby, I was still very aware that my body is not the same as it used to be - so I rocked a cardi that is loose but flattering. I also chose a blazer for my baby, since it was winter but I wanted non-seasonal looking portraits. The blazer kept him warm and stylish without adding a coat.
Photo by Kenna Grace
2. Coordinate, don't match.
This is a personal preference, but I find that most people like this look better, once they put their finger on it. Nothing screams 90s more than matching sweaters (or denim jackets!), and the all-black thing is just a little over the top. (Of course, sometimes you are going for "over the top," in which case, be my guest!) For example, bright bold colors, jewel tones, "earth" tones (green, brown, dark blue) are all good color schemes. For my own family photos, since there are 3 of us, I decided to go with primary colors. I had a favorite shirt in yellow, my husband's favorite color is blue, so that left red for our son. Perfect!
This was our style/inspiration board:
3. Start with mom.
In general, guys are less self-conscious that the ladies. They aren't too hung-up on appearance, especially when it comes to clothes. So, start with mom and work from there. Find something that you feel pretty and comfortable in, that flatters you, and then dress your family to coordinate with what you're wearing. This applies to extended families as well. Begin with the pickiest dresser (which I can almost guarantee will be the oldest female), and then let the family know what the general idea is and let them choose their own perfect outfit. This way, everyone is comfortable and happy.
Photo by Kenna Grace