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How to Style Your Next Family Portraits (Like a Pro)

May 7, 2021

Family photos can happen year-round, but with school ending and summer vacations coming up, I’m getting a lot of questions about my tips to style your own family or couples photo shoot like a pro.The right styling, and making sure everyone’s personalities are incorporated, makes an absolute world of difference in both how the photos look, and how you and your family/partner feel while taking them.

First, because growth is important, let me show you a few family photos from the distant(ish) past. Yes, I have done all the cliché photo shoot themes and posing, including chinos and white shirts on the beach.

Yes, we are very cute in these photos, but what we’re wearing does not reflect our personalities or really connect us to the beautiful locations we’re in. Again, growth is important.

What Your Photo Shoot Styling Should Look Like

Here are a few recent photos that I love, and that are true to the guidelines in this post– and, I have one mini collage for beachy summery photos, and one for Fall/early winter photos.

You can see how each different shoot has a coordinating palette that feels natural, and every piece really represents each member of the photo.

Here are my quick tips to achieving family portraits you’ll love.

Getting Inspo for family photos

  • Work with a color palette 
    • spring/summer: bright colors, pieces with bold colorful prints (florals, polka dot, bold stripes, paisley, etc)
    • fall/winter: jewel tones, neutrals, plaids, black and white or navy and white stripes, etc)  
  • Dress the most challenging person first, and work around them (it’s ok, if the most challenging person is yourself)
  • Make sure everything fits a week before your shoot to avoid scrambling and stress the morning of
  • Texture and patterns add visual interest 
  • Ladies, avoid tops/dresses that are really loose and/or low cut, so you can feel free to bend and move without worrying about what the photographer is capturing

Engagement

  • Choose outfits that represent you as individuals, it’s easy to coordinate, when there is only two of you
  • The only thing you should both coordinate is the level of formality that your outfits will reflect (so you can avoid one of you wearing jeans while the other is in a suit)
  • If you’re comfortable wearing dresses or skirts, choose one that has a lot of movement to it, engagement photo shoots can sometimes involve dancing, and the movement of a skirt/dress will photograph beautifully

no more 

  • white shirt and khakis on the beach photos
    • Don’t worry, there was a time when I didn’t know better, and we did these matchy matchy beach pics, but then we learned and did better
  • Creepy coordinating twin outfits with mom and kids
    • It can be cute to dress up your kids in semi-matching outfits, but don’t do it to yourself. Just another avoidable moment where you don’t need to only have one identity (as a mom)

instead…

  • Mix it up with colors you could find at the beach – blues, neutrals, etc. 
    • Add in patterns and textures 
    • If patterns aren’t your thing, have your little ones wear them! Patterns look great on little kids

Some super exciting news: I wrote a book!!

I’m so excited to announce that my book, “We Don’t Do ‘Just Okay’ Anymore” is now available to preorder. It’s a spiritually-infused memoir full of style advice, my journey to running my own business as a stylist, and the important self-discovery journey that has guided me to where I am today. I want to see everyone live with authenticity and the ability to express themselves with confidence and fucking GUSTO.

The book officially comes out on June 15th but you can pre-order your copy now.

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