Why You Should Wear a Maxi Dress to Your Family Portrait Session | The What to Wear Series

So I am back for my second installment of the “What to Wear Series” and probably one of the biggest things I get asked about with wardrobe styling is “Why should I wear a Maxi Dress?”. If you’ve been following me for a little while, you’ve probably noticed I love, love, LOVE long, flowy Maxi Dresses for sessions. For the longest time I kept quiet about it, not wanting to appear pushy or risk offending someone over wardrobe choices. However at the end of the day if you are hiring me for a session, I hope it’s because you love my work, trust my vision, and therefore want my opinion and guidance in wardrobe styling. I have spent years studying what photographs well and why, so my suggestions are always coming from a place of wanting you to have the best pictures possible. While I love jeans, leggings, and even a good pair of comfy sweat pants, choosing the right wardrobe for a photo session is entirely different. My wardrobe planning always leans towards simple choices that add movement and flowy Maxi Dresses fit right into that vision perfectly. So let’s get into the nitty gritty of why I love them so much and want you to wear one to your next family session with me.

A family of three plays Ring Around the Rosie together during an outdoor family session


1. Maxi Dresses just FLOOOOOW.

If you asked me to give you only one reason to wear a Maxi Dress, this would be it. It flows, it moves, and movement in photography is a beautiful thing. If I ask you to twirl with your daughter, dance with your husband, or walk hand in hand with your family, a flowy Maxi Dress will move with the wind adding movement to your pictures. Jeans, pants, shorts, etc. are just not going to do this. They photograph flat and you’re not going to get any movement out of them, as you see in the dress below.

A Mother to be twirls with her toddler sun in a gorgeous Maxi dress


2. Maxi Dresses are like an extra prop.

You can twirl with it, spin it, carry it, play peek a boo behind it.  A Maxi Dress can become like an extra prop in the session and something you can interact with.

A little boy plays peek a boo behind his Mom's dress during an outdoor family session


3. Maxi Dresses will make you feel like a goddess!

There is a common misconception that Maxi Dresses are these cotton, tank top style dresses and therefore, not dressy enough or what Moms want for a session. However, Maxi Dresses have come quite a long way in recent years and are available in a multitude of styles now. Boho, Classic, Urban, Hipster, Fit & Flare, Backless, A-Line. Take a peek around at just the dresses I have shown in this blog post and you’ll see lots of different styles represented. So if you think Maxi Dresses just aren’t “you”, I can guarantee I’ll find you one that not only matches your style but that you will also feel gorgeous in. For maternity sessions especially it can highlight the baby bump beautifully. Jeans and leggings just can’t do that!

Stunning picture of a Mom to be in a gorgeous Maxi dress standing in the sunset


4. Maxi Dresses are romantic.

Remember when I mentioned earlier about walking hand and hand with your dress blowing in the wind? How romantic does that sound? Maxi Dresses give grace, elegance, and yes, romance! There is just something about the way the fabric drapes and moves paired with sweet moments like this one that really give it that romantic touch.

A husband dips his wife as they dance at sunset during an outdoor family session


5. Maxi Dresses are ART.

When I come to a session, I want to make art. I want to show moments, I want to show emotion, I want to show love, and Maxi Dresses give pictures that extra artistic flair. Jeans and leggings give your images more of an everyday snapshot feeling, whereas Maxi Dresses and a well thought out wardrobe for the whole family looks like art for your walls.

A beautiful candid moment of a family snuggling together during a family session


Now don’t misunderstand me, there’s nothing wrong with jeans. I have them and I wear them almost daily! However you have every day to wear your jeans. Use this time as an excuse to treat yourself. Get your hair done, your makeup done, get a manicure or pedicure, and yes buy a new dress if your budget allows! If it’s not in the budget, then borrow from my ever growing Client Closet of Maxi Dresses curated and picked specifically to create movement in your session. When you feel beautiful, that beauty and confidence shows in your pictures. Professional photography is an investment. It’s documenting this phase of your family’s life so that it can be preserved for years to come. Your kids, your kid’s kids, and so on will hopefully have these pictures to look back on. When you are investing so much into something, don’t you want to look your best?

Now if after reading all of that, you still just aren’t feeling it, there are some things you can do. They won’t flow the same way but it’s good compromise. Kimonos, flowy tops, shorter dresses with flowy skirts can all work. Remember the goal is to create movement so when you’re planning your outfit, give yourself the twirl test. Put on what you’re planning to wear and twirl. Did anything move? If the answer is no, keep looking. If the answer is yes, then you’re on the right track!

Have any questions on this topic? Feel free to leave them in the comments below! Or scroll down to see more flowy Maxi Dress moments.


A family walks together among the wildflowers during a family sessionA husband twirls his wife in a gorgeous maxi dress in front of the water at sunset during a family sessionA beautiful picture of a family of three sitting on a stone bridge

A family of five walks beside the water at sunset during an outdoor family session

A gorgeous Mom to be twirls among the wildflowers in a gorgeous Maxi dressA mom twirls with her toddler son in a gorgeous flowing Maxi dress among a field of wildflowers