December 7, 2021
One of the biggest questions I get as a family photographer from clients is, “How should I style my family for our pictures?” That’s a totally valid question! We often see these perfectly curated family images on Instagram and blogs, with color-coordinated outfits, pristinely designed homes, and sweet, smiling kiddos. But when you look around you, all you see is disorganization, maybe Amazon boxes everywhere, and yesterday’s lunch stuck to the carpet. Does this sound like you? I know this sounds a lot like my house where my kids are often still in their jammies come afternoon. But don’t worry, you aren’t alone. I’m here to help!! Below, I’m sharing The 4 Best Styling Tips for Family Photos.
TIP #1: MAMAS, PICK YOUR OUTFIT FIRST
This is the one thing I can’t stress enough. This is the best tip and the one tip you should always, always start with. It can be overwhelming to try to pick out a bunch of cute, stylish, and also timeless outfits for your whole crew. So instead of trying to pull the best of the best from everyone’s closets simultaneously and see what coordinates well together, just start in one place. Your own closet.
For me, the most important thing in any session is my clients looking and feeling comfortable. And often, that’s something from your own closet. So, start with your own clothes, shoes, and accessories, and then you can pick everyone else’s.
TIP #2: CHOOSE COORDINATING OUTFITS FOR EVERYONE ELSE
PSA! Perfectly matching outfits are SO ‘90s. So skip putting everyone in a white shirt and jeans! The 90s asks that you leave it to the 90s. While that was the style 26 years ago, that certainly isn’t the style now. I think we can all admit it’s a little overkill now, and not to mention, not super representative of each individual family member’s personality!
Instead, pick colors and tones that coordinate and complement one another. I find it’s easier to pick a color pallet and stick with that (like neutrals, or cool tones, or grays and whites), but don’t overthink it. The great thing about picking a palette to work from (based on mom’s outfit) is that it gives everyone that opportunity to coordinate but also had their own flair and personality. The goal after all is to capture your family and their story and personality.
Essentially, you don’t want one family member in a bright yellow sweater, one in a neon green t-shirt, and have your husband in a beautiful navy blue sweater and slacks. Just doesn’t really flow, does it?
Try to choose a color palette with three or four colors that most of the outfits incorporate (again, use your outfit as the base!), and avoid neon or super bright colors. They’re just hard to photograph and distract from your family’s natural beauty.
TIP #3: SUBTLY MIX IN TEXTURES & PATTERNS
While having everyone in solid colors isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Adding in texture and patterns gives dimension and character. The key here is, less is more. If one child is wearing stripes, don’t put anyone else in that pattern. Same with plaid – if you have one member in plaid, resist putting someone else in plaid as well.
Think of blending complementary tones, textures, and patterns: a cream linen dress on you, tan corduroy overalls with a white cotton long-sleeve tee underneath on your little boy, and your hubby in a sage henley with nice jeans. Simple, clean, and comfortable is best here! Avoid anything with characters, logos, brands, or words printed on them.
TIP #4: GET YOUR LITTLES INVOLVED
This is the best-kept secret that I have. I know that getting everyone excited for a session can be exceptionally hard. Especially with the kids (sorry, I can’t help make your husband excited about it ha!). But what can help is to have them help pick out their outfits. Pick stuff from the color palette you have chosen for your family. And then let them go wild on picking which one they like the most. It allows them to add their personality to it while keeping stylish for your session.
Don’t forget accessories! A cozy throw, a sun hat or beanie, or a ball for the kids can act as fun props in some of the photos. Just keep from anything that has bright, neon colors They’ll add some interest to the images. And they’ll give you and your fam something to focus on or play with, rather than feeling the need to “pose.”
Most of all, you and your family’s comfort is key above all else. You can look as amazing as you want but if you aren’t comfortable in what you are wearing, it’s going to show through your photos.
And that’s The 4 Best Styling Tips for Family Photos! I hope this was helpful for you! If you’d like for me to capture your family memories, I’d love for you to contact me HERE!