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5 Quick Tips to Styling your Family Session

Because you always want to remember this.

1. Don’t Be Afraid to Dress It Up

Have you thought about rocking a romantic gown, tulle skirt or flower crown but just never had an occasion for it? This is your chance to do it up! Remember: There is no such thing as “too dressed up” when it comes to your portrait session, so don’t be afraid to have some fun! Dresses and skirts look most stunning because they really flatter every female body, especially on camera Long, full-length, flowy dresses and skirts look amazing on camera because they bring extra movement to the photos. Especially when juxtaposed with nature. Consider softer fabrics like chiffon or tulle which allow for beautiful movement in the images. When considering the length of your dresses or skirts, it’s also a good idea to factor in whether or not there will be little ones in your photos. If you have smaller children, I will likely have you sitting or crouching on the ground to interact up-close with them. If you have little ones in your photos, a floor-length dress or skirt, or perhaps a cute midi-skirt, will make moving around with your kids much easier, and look perfect on camera, too. If you’re an expecting mother, I always recommend floor-length gowns or maxi dresses. These dresses create the best silhouettes to flatter your figure and really highlight your bump. A lot of expecting mothers love to incorporate flower crowns or headpieces as well.

2. Avoid Ultra-Bright Colors and Differing Patterns

When choosing colors for your outfits, I recommend selecting softer, lighter tones and more muted shades. By avoiding ultra-bright, bold colors, it will help bring all the attention to your faces and let the eye focus on the way you feel about each other. The camera loves shades of soft pink and muted blues, mixed with sophisticated light neutrals like heather gray, creams, leather brown and white. That softer color palette fits beautifully into almost all natural outdoor environments.

3. Just For Him: Fitted, Layered and Mixed

Long, fitted pants and closed-toed shoes are the most sophisticated and masculine looks for men. They draw attention away from his legs and feet and place it where you want it: on his handsome face. So, for your session, it’s best to leave the shorts, sandals and jeans at home, too, as well as any pants that are loose or baggy. Fitted dress pants or fitted colored pants work best on camera. Solid shades of gray or navy are a strong complement to most women’s outfits, whereas pinstripes or plaid patterns tend to distract the eye. I also recommend staying away from graphics and logos. Adding another layer will bring extra dimension and visual interest to your photos. Blazers, vests and coats up the level of any look. If the temperature permits, he could even consider adding a v-neck sweater with a pop of color from a long-sleeved collared shirt and tie underneath. Don’t be afraid to get a little creative with layers! Many guys love to mix a suit coat, blazer or sport coat with a different pant color. It adds some extra visual interest, and breaks up the color tones.

4.  Coordinating the Crew: Coordinate Doesn’t Mean Match

As 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. 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. 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 the photos.

5. Bring a little something extra!

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.

Bonus Tip: Prepping Your Little Ones

Because they won’t be little forever. Before your session, pack a bag with snacks, water and any small objects (like toys or lollipops) that might help us 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 family!

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