10 Family Photo Styling Tips

It is family photo season and the photography sessions pop up this time of year like crazy.  Fall is the perfect time to get family photos done.  However, I know for some this can be stressful.  I can totally relate.  The pressure from getting the coordinating outfits just right to capturing that perfect photo for your next holiday card can all seem daunting.  If I am not stressed getting them all ready and to the location on time then I am stressed during the photo shoot hoping that they cooperate.  Then I say a little prayer that we got a couple good ones.  I am convinced that the photographers, I have used, work miracles.

So, where do you even start?  Deciding what to wear can be half the battle.  Here are a few tips to help make picking out your family’s wardrobe for your next session a little more manageable.

1. Plan ahead! Nothing adds more stress to an already tense situation then running around last minute getting outfits together.  Consider shipping times for items ordered online too.

2. Color coordinate not matchy matchy.  I know it used to be a thing where everyone wore the same outfit with jeans and a white t-shirt.  That was a like a million years ago and I admit I am guilty of this too.  Now, I tend to focus on color palettes based on the current trending colors for the year.  These will most likely be in stores too.  Some stores like Gymboree and Janie & Jack have color coordinating lines across genders.  Score! H&M has been another go to place for kid stuff too.  Pinterest is usually tons of help when looking for color combos.  The picture below is the color scheme that we picked out for this years family photos.IMG_9955 color palette

3. Take note of your home decor.  What colors do you gravitate toward?  What is your overall style?  Since these photos will most likely end up on your walls then make sure they will compliment your current decor.


4. Limit patterns. Don’t get me wrong. Patterns are great especially like on the Matilda Jane clothes.  If I had a girl we would be in serious trouble!  However limit the patterns to a few family members and add in solid colors to others.

5. Consider your location. Pick a location that matches your family’s personality.  If you are doing a urban location then maybe consider your outfits to be a little more trendy and if an open field rural location then maybe a softer look.  Also consider colors based on any indoor backdrops.  A black shirt with a black background might make you disappear.

6. Keep it classic. By picking clothes that are more timeless then they will be enjoyed on your wall for many years to come.  Also stay with what you are comfortable with that expresses your family’s style.  Please, please avoid big logos and characters whenever possible.

7. Adding layers and textures. This makes the photos go from good to great! Add scarves, vests, jackets, hats, statement jewelry, belts, ties, and nice shoes.  All this will add dimensions to your photo.

8. Fun props for that little something extra.  Keep the props natural and to a minimum if possible.  Consider incorporating blankets, couches, chairs, or a ladder that can help add posing options too.  For more candid photos, add a book, game, wagon, tricycle, or even their favorite toy.  Props such as chalkboards, signs, frames, wooden letters, or scrabble tiles can help you convey a message in your photo.  Overall, try keeping the props neutral unless you are adding a pop of color.

9. Preparation is key. For the men, that might mean a fresh hair cut or shave. For the ladies, that might mean a manicure/pedicure and styled hair.  By feeling good about yourself, it will make you more relaxed and confident in your photos.  Also don’t forget to iron or dry clean your clothes.  If you wait until the last day then you just might find that the shirt you planned on wearing is in the dirty clothes pile.  That would put a wrinkle in your plans, pun intended.

10.  Don’t sweat the small stuff.  So my biggest fear is that we don’t get one good photo.  But let’s look at the glass half full for a moment.  This is your reality, these are your memories.  Years from now you will look back at these pictures and remember just how little and carefree your kids were.  Let loose of the thought of getting just the right photo because it will be hard to get sincere smiles and personalities of everyone including you.  Instead add more laughter and love.  You will cherish these photos one day.  At the end of it all, you have captured memories of the ones that you love the most.


What are some colors you have used in your family photos?  Comment below.  I am always looking for new ideas.

Ready, Set, Smile!


Photo credit to Photography by Meg Miller



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