As a long-time photographer, one of the questions I’m most frequently asked is, “What should we wear?” And it makes sense!
We often see these perfectly curated photographs on social media with perfectly coordinated outfits, pristine homes and smiling kiddos. You may wonder how as you look around your own home and notice the scattered Amazon boxes, kids running wild and dishes piling up in the sink. Your kids may prefer to dress themselves in *unique* outfits more often than not. So how do these families on the ‘gram get it together and look sooo pulled together for photos?
I have answers for you! Let’s talk about tried and true styling tips.
Tip #1: Pick your outfit first, Mama!
It can be overwhelming to select stylish and also timeless outfits for your whole crew! Instead of running back and forth between closets (or Nordstrom!) trying to figure out what might work, start with you. You’ll feel more relaxed and confident if you pick your own outfit first and wear something you feel great in.
When you’re used to always putting your kids first, this may sound counter-intuitive, but it’s actually really helpful and will put you in a great headspace for the rest of the wardrobe selection experience!
Tip #2: Choose coordinating outfits for everyone else.
Newsflash: matching outfits are so 90s. No shame! But I think we can all admit matching white shirts and blue jeans is a little overkill. It’s also not super representative of everyone’s individual personality.
Pick colors and tones that complement one another. Try to stick to one theme (like neutrals, cool tones or grays and whites), but don’t overthink it. Basically, you don’t want a bright orange sundress, another in a lime t-shirt, while your hubby is in a maroon shirt and khaki shorts. It just doesn’t go, you know?
Try to choose a color palette that incorporates 3 or 4 colors that most of the outfits incorporate (use yours as a base) and avoid super bright or neon colors. They’re hard to photograph and you don’t want to take away from the natural beauty of your family.
Some of my own favorites stores to shop for my family include:
- For me: Free People, Anthropologie, Lulus and Jen’s Pirate Booty
- For my kids: Zara, Rylee + Cru, Jamie Kay, Joyfolie and Target (Artclass brand)
- For my husband: Stag, Nordstrom and Target (Goodfellow brand)
Tip #3: Subtly mix textures and patterns.
You may feel good about having everyone in solid colors, but mixing different patterns and textures can add more dimension and character. Note: less is more. If one person is wearing a floral pattern or strips, don’t put everyone else in polka dots. It’s just too much!
Focus on blending contemporary tones, textures and and patterns: a cream linen dress on you, tan corduroy overalls with a long sleeve tee underneath for your kiddo and your hubby in a sage henley with nice jeans. Steer clear of any clothing with large logos, graphics, characters or words on them. Simple, clean and comfortable is best!
Tip #4: Don’t forget accessories and your environment.
If you are taking photographs in a grassy field or lush green park, you may not want everyone in a bunch of green and beige tones because they’ll blend in too much with the surroundings. Neutral colors are usually a safe bet, but try to choose colors that work with the surroundings, not against them.
And by all means, bring accessories! A woven throw, a sun hat or beanie, a bouquet of flowers, picnic supplies or a ball for the kids can act as great props in some of the photos. They’ll add interest to the images and give your family something to focus on besides the “pose”.
Tip #5: Get your littles involved!
The key to getting your littles to wear coordinating outfits and excited to take pictures is to let them in on the process. This doesn’t mean you have to give them free reign!
Pick 2 or 3 outfits that would work best for the shoot and let them choose their favorite. Give them some options for a few accessories or props and let them choose 1 to use in photos. This gives them some buy-in for the photos and will result in a more fun experience and better photos in the end.
Above all else, your family’s comfort is key. You need to feel good in order to look your best. Stay true to your personalities, let your kiddos get involved. Let your creativity shine through. Family photos should capture the individual personalities of everyone in your family during this season of life, so the clothing is really better left simple and comfy.
Haven’t worked with me before? Learn more!