Top Family Styling Tips | Family Photography Tips

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As a family photographer, I know that it can be stressful for my clients when they are trying to style and coordinate outfits for their family. The larger the group, the more stressful it can be. I wanted to help my clients get ready for their family photos and take away the stress associated with getting ready for picture day, by creating my Portrait Session Style Guide that is free to all my clients after they book. This 40-page guide is full of tips, tricks, and example pictures so you can see exactly what I’m referring to! In this blog, I will highlight my top family styling tips to help get you started and ready for your next family portrait session! 

extended family session with coordinating colors and style

Top Family Styling Tips: Choosing the Color Scheme

The first thing to determine when styling your family is the color pallete. I highly recommend choosing lighter, neutral colors, as well as pastels or jewel tones. Those muted blue colors and soft pinks photograph beautifully, as well as cream colors, light gray, and other neutral, soft tones. These colors also complement the stunning Colorado landscape beautifully! I tend to shy away from bold, bright, and neon colors and busy patterns, as they can be distracting and hard to coordinate with other color palettes. Besides, we want the focus to stay on you! 

As you begin to think about the colors you want, next is how to mix and coordinate them. The main goal is to break up the outfits so that everyone isn’t wearing the same color on top and bottom. I recommend selecting a dominant color that will be the focal point of the outfit, and accent colors to highlight the outfit for each family member’s outfit. Try to rotate between the colors so that everyone is wearing a different dominant color, and then use the remaining accent colors to tie it together.

Now each person has their own dominant color while still incorporating a few touches of the other colors that will pull all the looks together. This visually breaks up all the colors and highlights each person and their individual personality. Most of my moms choose their dress first, and then build the rest of the family’s outfits based on that.

Top Styling Tips for Women

Speaking of dresses … women when selecting your outfit, when in doubt, say YES to the dress! Dresses or skirts flatter the female body and always look stunning on camera. The right fitting dress will give you confidence that is evident in the photos. When you feel good about yourself it transforms your pictures. To go along with that dress, choose a nice pair of closed-toed heels! Heels not only make you stand taller, but they elongate your legs and keep tension on the muscles, which makes them look amazing.

Make a Statement

Next, make a statement! Using jewelry, a hat, belt, scarf, or other item can add visual interest to your photos. It is a great way to add a pop of color and incorporate a little more of your personality!  Lastly, for the ladies, I highly recommend professional hair and makeup! Trust me, you will be so glad you did. I find this really boosts confidence and takes so much stress away from my clients! They don’t have to worry about their hair curling “just right” or getting up earlier than everyone to have enough time to do their makeup and hair. Hiring a professional hair and makeup artist allows you to actually RELAX and get pampered!  A relaxing experience AND confidence-boosting, beautiful, picture-ready hair and makeup, sounds like a win-win to me. 

Styling Tips for the Family: The Men

In the same way a dress flatters a woman’s body, a blazer, sport coat, or jacket has the same effect for men. You can’t go wrong with a dress shirt, slacks and a blazer.  Long sleeves are more flattering than short sleeves, plus we can add variety by rolling the sleeves up for a different look. Button up long sleeves are my go-to! When selecting a jacket or blazer, you want one that fits you just right – snug, but not too tight. 

For dress pants, make sure they are the correct length and don’t have too many breaks. Just like high heels make women look taller than they are, bunched up fabric stacked on top of a man’s shoes will make him look physically shorter than he really is. Stick to solid colors and steer away from pinstripes or any pattern in order to keep the attention where it belongs!

Coordinating Looks with Kids + Large Family Groups

Now comes the part that I think causes the most stress when styling a family: coordinating all the looks with kids and/or extended family members. The thought of coordinating 4 plus outfits sounds daunting, but I promise it is easier than you think! The outfits will look more cohesive on camera when the color palette and wardrobe pieces coordinate but don’t actually “match”.  I don’t even want you to think or worry about “matching”. Think more about what fits together or complements each other. Refer back to my earlier tip on how to mix colors by visually breaking up colors and shades between each person’s outfit using dominant and accent colors. 

If you have multiple kids, don’t feel like you need to put all the girls in the same dress or all the boys in khakis with a light blue shirt. It’s okay to mix things up and create visual interest. For instance, one of your daughters could wear a dress with flats, while your other daughter could wear a skirt with fashion boots if that is more her style. One of your boys could wear a bowtie and the other suspenders. Mixing up different accessories and wardrobe pieces ties the look together.

Styling your family for portraits can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be! My goal is always to create a stress-free experience for my clients from start to finish! Once you book a session with me, you will receive all these tips plus tons more found in my Portrait Session Style Guide. As always, I am here to help every step of the way! You can always ask my opinion or advice when it comes to styling your family. 

If you are ready to book your family session or want more information about my photography offerings, please Contact me today to start a conversation! I can’t wait to hear from you!

See more beautiful moments over on the blog! 

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I'm Catherine and I'm so happy you're here. This blog a journal about our lives, travels, and the amazing families we get to serve. Stay a while and say hello!

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