Hi Friends! I have had so many people ask me about outfit choices for their family session, I decided a blog post would be a great way to share that information with you! These are just a few outfit coordinating tips that I have thought about through the years but the most important thing is that you are comfortable!
When thinking about what to wear and props to bring, just know that less is more. I do not provide props for sessions but I am happy to incorporate things that you may want to bring. One thing we can do would be styling to add a little something to your images. We do not need to have a ton of things to style with, maybe just a few.
Here are my tips and tricks for getting ready to have an amazing family session!
Styling your Session
Want your photos to look more editorial? Bring a little extra something with you! Fresh flowers bring an extra “wow” factor to just about everything, especially when they’re attached to something else, like a bicycle basket, tree swing, tent, picnic basket, balloons or car bumper. Whether you want to incorporate larger items like classic cars or bikes, or smaller ones like blankets or hats, even planning for just one extra styled item could be a fun way to make your session more unique.
Coordinating the Crew
you’re coordinating your outfit with your family, keep in mind that your
outfits will look the most cohesive on camera when the color
palette and wardrobe pieces coordinate, but don’t actually “match.”
In fact, I recommend that you avoid thinking about “matching,” and instead think about what
“fits” together. This will create more
visual interest, and allow each personality to shine through.
How to Mix Colors
The goal for coordinating a family is to visually
break up the colors and shades so that you’re not all wearing the same color on
top and bottom. The more we can mix that up, the better. I encourage you to
think about planning each outfit with “dominant colors”
and “accent colors” in mind. A dominant color is the color that you see
the most in an outfit, while an accent has a smaller piece of visual real
estate. When you’re planning each family member’s outfit, if you can aim for
each person to have a different dominant color, and then tie in and vary the
accent colors, it’s going to look great all together.
For example, if you’re wearing a blush dress, soft
blue earrings and nude heels (blush being your dominant color), then he could
wear a navy coat with a white button-down and gray pants, paired with brown
leather shoes and maybe even a blush pocket square (making navy his dominant
color). Your daughter could wear a soft blue top with a white tulle skirt
(making a soft blue her dominant color) while your son wears light beige pants
with navy suspenders and a white button down (making white his dominant color).
Now each person has their own dominant color while still incorporating a few
touches of the others that will pull all the looks together. This will break up
the color visually and highlight each personality. Most of my moms choose their
dress first, and then build the rest of the family’s outfits based around that.
Remember, I recommend selecting those softer, lighter tones and avoiding those ultra-bright, bold colors. The camera loves shades of soft pink and muted blues, mixed with sophisticated light neutrals like heather gray, creams, leather brown and white. Feel free to vary the shades of the colors, too. That softer color palette fits beautifully into a natural environment, and can easily be paired in so many different ways.
Mixing Up the Pieces
If you have multiple children, don’t
feel like you need to put them all in the same type of outfit. For example, one
of your daughters could wear a dress and flats, while the other wears a skirt
and boots. One of your sons could wear a bowtie, while the other one wears
suspenders. Mixing up the wardrobe pieces will bring a great visual interest to
Prepping Your Little Ones
Before your session, pack a bag with
snacks, water and any small objects (like toys or lollipops) that might help me
get their attention when it’s time for them to look at the camera. If they are
old enough to understand you, it’s a good idea to prepare them for what’s to
come before the session starts. Explain how much the photos mean to you so they
know to be on their best behavior. A lot of families discuss and pick something
fun in advance as a treat after the session if they’re good listeners, like an
ice cream cone, for example. It also helps if they’re bellies are full and they’ve
has some good rest beforehand. Once you prepare them
physically and mentally, then feel free to give them (and you!) grace! They’re
little, and I know that some days don’t always go as planned. I’ve seen it all
and will make sure to get you great photos, regardless of their moods. My goal
is to make this as fun and stress-free as it possibly can be for you and your
I hope this is a helpful guide when it comes to getting your family ready for your photography session! If you have any questions or more things to add, let me know, I would love to hear from you!
I realize that I have been focusing a lot on weddings. Posting mostly photos from my Ali B Couples special day, sharing lots of wedding wisdom this winter. I am extremely excited I am able to to do that and I hope brides and grooms find it inspirational when planning their wedding.
Today I wanted to do something a little different and start a Motherhood category on the blog. I know you all know my kiddos. They are the joy in my life and I just love sharing their cuteness… See.. I mean.. Look at them!
But in all seriousness, I am going to share posts in this section not just of my kiddos, but kiddos I get to meet throughout the years as well! To start, I am sharing my 10 favorite photos that I have taken of kiddos to inspire you to pick up your camera and shoot away! You do not need a professional camera to get amazing photos of your children!
Let them make a mess. I love it when my kids are laughing so hard and making a mess…Deep down..I really do not love the mess, but I love their laughter and pure joy when they throw all their blankets on the floor and their stuffed “friends” When they do this, they almost always pretend to sleep. So grab the camera and get the shot! It’s not all the time they place nice together.
2. Reading– Henry has a love for books! He will stop what he is doing at any time during the day to sit down and read. I caught him sitting on Ethan’s bed reading a book from our little library. I saw him and loved how the light was on him I had to grab a photo. If he saw me taking this picture he would have probably moved and told me “No Picture”. So, try to sneak it for the best candid!
3. Sleeping– When I get both of my kids to sleep at the same time I feel like supermom! I work during that time but I do spend some time just watching them. Ethan is 4 1/2 and he is just the sweetest. I mean look at him sleeping. Sneak in a photo of a nap so you can cherish it forever! Especially when they no longer nap as they get older.
4. Adventure– Everyday is an adventure with kiddos! You can use your phone and capture awesome photos. ( There are some cell phone shots in this post- can you tell what ones??)
5. At the hospital- After having a baby I know you want to savor each moment! Bring your camera and have visitors snap a few for you if you can’t do it. The hospital (Fresh 48) photos are always my favorites.
6. Being Playful– Dress them up and take them out! Here was a fun sister moment that I just so happened to catch….!
7. Jumping Puddles– Get the rain boots on and get outside! Let them go to town in the puddles! They will love you for it!
8. Focus on the details– Look at their hands. Are they chunky? Do you just love their little hand dimples? I am sure you do! So capture them! When they can have a prop- like a toy or leaves as this photos has, its lets them play and they will “show” you what they got giving you time to grab that photo and not have it be blurry.
9. Silhouette by the window– Here we had a sleep over with a friend and it was snowing outside. The boys were playing at the window and watching the snow fall. They looked so cute standing there and it came out to be a dark photo I turned black and white.
10. Love– Capturing the love they have for other kids/siblings is just the cutest! When they show their love to someone try to capture those moments. They happen way too quickly! You will love that you have those images.
Friends! I say this all the time when I look at my kids- ” WHAT HOW DID YOU GET SO BIG!?” Then, Ethan usually comes up to my legs and has me measure him. Then he will run back to back with Henry and compare heights together. It’s the cutest thing.
I know what you think when this happens, as I too am thinking the same thing- Where did the time go? Sure, the days are long but the years are short! Each season of our lives are so different from one another and many times, the seasons (good and bad) go by and we have no evidence from that time period. I know that I am a culprit of this. Me, a photographer, who LOVES her job so much, struggles to get in the frame, and struggles to take photos of all four of us as a family. Now, I understand the importance of family photography, which is why this year, it WILL happen for our family. We WILL get family photos and from now on, we WILL get them 1-2 times per year by another photographer.
These milestones come and go and it is so important to freeze that time to look back and remember life in that moment.
Here are 10 reasons why you should have a family portrait session:
It Savors that moment in time– Each family is different from one another. Everyone is changing and growing. This is one reason why I love my job! Many of my clients come back to see me year after year, sometimes multiple times a year and the differences are just so amazing. It really only takes a few months to see changes in your family, and documenting that time is precious.
Family sessions are FUN– I know that many people dread family portraits, I completely understand. My husband is one to dread them. Many people opt for the portrait sessions from JC Penny, which is great if that is the style you want however that does not sound very fun at all for anyone. Sessions don’t need to be that way! If you have a session with me, I promise you capture images that are YOU and not just staged in a studio. I love it when everyone is themselves. I provide my clients with a style guide and I play with the kiddos. I give prompts in moments where I am not getting that genuine smile or laughter and I am not kidding when I say the hour goes by so fast!
Giving the gift of Smiles– When you are struggling to find that perfect gift for a loved one, nothing comes close to the personalization of a family portrait. With my sessions you recieve an online gallery with over 60 images that are edited to my style. You gain the rights to those photos meaning you can print them and enlarge them from any photo lab, or you can order right from my website! These make perfect gifts for grandparents!
Instant Home Decor- I LOVE home decor! The people who inspire me with decor ideas, I follow in Instagram! (@Jordecor, @Misdiy, @Laurenmcbride to name a few) You can print your photos, frame them, enlarge them to a canvas, make a photo book and they will add a little something to your home styling personality. **FUN FACT: did you know that hanging up portaits in the home help to increase childrens self esteem? Studies show that having your family photographed and having your loving portraits displayed prominently in your home sends the message that your family is important to one another…and that you honor the memories you created together.
You can get the WHOLE family in the photo– How often do you get to see the WHOLE family? The great thing about a family session is that you can add on as many people as you need. My sessions include up to 5 people and everyone after that, is an additional cost. I love when I get contacted for extended family sessions. Many times these sessions are used for gifts to parents and grandparents and it really is so nice! I am able to get the group as a whole, and each family individually plus I focus on the parents together and the kids. It’s so much fun and it goes by really fast!
6. BIG MILESTONE- Your baby is 1. They just started walking and its time to capture that huge moment! Mom, dad, you did it! You survived your first year of parenthood! Sleepless nights, spit up all over, those wonderful diaper explosions, I know… I have been there! CELEBRATE IT! Maybe you’re having a baby, maternity sessions are so beautiful to cherish that time together before your life changes forever, and document that perfect baby bump. High school graduation? You name it! There are tons of milestone we all go through and making sure we capture that time is so important!
7. Locations– Do you have a happy place? A place where your family loves to be? I will meet you there! Let’s go! I love shooting at so many different locations in New England (and beyond) and when that location has a meaning to you and your family it makes it even more personable than the session already is!
8. These photos are natural and represent who you are– It is not just about saying “cheese”. I have other tricks up my sleeve that will help to get your genuine personalities to shine in your photos. However, a tip for you if your photographing at home- Have your little one say “Honey” it helps relax their face and the smile will not look forced.
9. You can relieve these memories– Photographs bring back all kinds of feels. You can look back on your images and remember how you felt before the session, during the session and when receiving your final gallery. You will remember what life was like and you can talk about it with family and friends. How amazing is that?!
10. Family sessions are an investment- I know that many people stop thinking about family portraits because of the cost. Professional photography can be expensive but knowing that when you invest in a quality service, you are investing in something that will be valuable for a lifetime. It has value the moment you book your session and it then becomes more valuable throughout the years. These images are high quality. The experience if fun and I can not wait to meet you!
Hi, I’m Alex. I am a lifestyle photographer who absolutely loves her job and everything that comes with it. I appreciate the people I meet, the places I go and everything there is to learn about photography.