Leah O'Connell

client tips, families

What to wear for outdoor family photos when it’s hot

what to wear for outdoor summer family photos by charlottesville va photographer
I'm Leah!

I’m obsessed with stories of family, creativity, and simple joys.  A nostalgia nerd, educator, wife, and mom of 3, I believe life’s most fun when you’re dreaming big and having kitchen dance parties. 

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You want an outdoor family session… but it’s a million degrees and you don’t want to turn into a pool of sweat. How do you look pulled together, casual, and summery, but still keep cool and comfortable during the session? How do you decide what to wear for outdoor family photos when it’s hot?!

The struggle is real, but I have answers!

First of all, consider my #1 tip for keeping sessions fun and cool in the summer.

Then shop these recommendations or use them as a starting point for what to wear for outdoor family photos when it’s super hot outside! These outfit ideas are all geared towards mom (because mom should always decide her outfit first!).

Check out my full style guide here for tips on how to casually coordinate the whole fam from there!

What to wear for outdoor family photos when it’s hot

1. A knee-length flowy dress in a fun color or small pattern (like this one from Target!)

You’ll want to stay away from anything too short because it’s hard to move and play, sit/stand/twirl without seeing up the dress! But a knee or midi-length style will totally work and a fun color adds a pop of energy in spring and summer!

2. A twirly linen maxi dress (like this one from Madewell)

This is a classic piece you could wear by itself or layer with a denim jacket for other seasons. For outdoor photos when it’s hot outside, though, a breezy dress on its own would be the perfect base to compliment the rest of the family’s outfits while making sure you’re stylish and cool, too!

3. A midi skirt in a fun color or pattern with a light neutral blouse or simple tee

The skirt + tee-shirt combo keeps things casual while also stepping it up from your regular weekend ware. I love the pattern and texture in this Anthropologie skirt and it would compliment your favorite tee, tank or blouse in white or cream perfectly for a fun, summery look.

4. A cute linen jumpsuit (like this classic from Everlane) with solid tank or tee

Not feeling a dress? Jumpsuits are also amazing options for something flattering but summer-friendly. They’re playful, comfy, and simple, but still super stylish so you’ll feel pulled together. Wear it on its own or with a favorite neutral tank or tee underneath!

5. A breezy boho blouse with denim or linen shorts (like this outift from Lucky)

Punch up the ultimate classic look with a light, flowy blouse and denim shorts or capris. Pair it with some simple gold jewelry and you’re ready to run in the grass or tip those toes in the sand. Neutral looks like this are great when other members of the family have a bolder taste (looking at you, little girl who wants to wear her flowery, twirly dress). The lace texture in this blouse still adds interest and would be so flattering and feminine, while keeping things cool for summer photos outside!

BONUS TIP for outdoor summer family photos:

When all else fails and you’re still sweating at the end, don’t worry. You’ll still look like the rockstar mom you are (and I promise to edit out all pit stains :-)).

Also, I’m never opposed to wrapping up a session with some creek splashing or a wild jump in the lake to really seal the deal for fun and memorable summer family photos!

Want to beat the fall rush and celebrate the carefree vibes of summer for your family photos this year?

Check out my about page for more info about sessions with me and reach out to get on the calendar!

You might also like:

The best way to have fun with outdoor summer family photos

5 casual dresses for spring family photos

Playful family photos at Chiles Peach Orchard

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Hi, I'm Leah.
Family photographer, writer, educator.

I’m  one of the first to meet your newborn baby, the one who won't judge your clothes baskets and unmade beds, and the one who can capture the way your husband looks at you with a twinkle in his eye after 12 years of marriage. I believe in honoring people and telling stories.

I believe art has the power to light up the world in dark places, starting at home.