How I Style My Family for Photos (tips from a photographer)

Mar 20, 2023

Okay so you’ve found a photographer (hopefully me! HA jk), you’ve got your session scheduled, now the fun part: outfits! I don’t know about you but figuring out outfits for my family is probably the most stressful part of photos. Here’s my process for how I dress my own family for a photo sesh:

1. I like to start with the vibe! I think there are two main “looks:” casual or romantic. A casual look can be super cool and allow you to show your kids’ personalities. Think of it like an upgrade to their usual outfits! This could mean denim jackets, a jumpsuit for you, jeans, and tennis shoes. Or do you prefer a more romantic, dressy look? Think a long, voluminous dress for you blowing in the wind, overalls for the boys, and sweet floral dresses for the girls. Deciding your vibe is really just a preference, one isn’t better than the other. To help you decide, ask yourself: which do you think captures your family best? How do you want to remember this season of your life? Also keep in mind your location. A more casual vibe fits probably fits really well at the beach or an urban location, while a romantic vibe better suits a hilltop or tree-lined path.

2. Now time to pick your color palette! I’ve broken down the color wheel into the 3 palettes that I think photograph best for my clients. Earth tones, neutral tones, and pastels (you can view my Pinterest boards with examples of each palette using the link below).

Think about your location and try not to “match” it perfectly. For example, if you’re shooting in a field with long green grass, then I would avoid a green outfit. Or wearing orange against a brick backdrop. Keep this in mind and select whatever color palette you love the most!

3. You’ve got your vibe, you’ve got your color palette, it’s time to start actually picking the outfits. Start with moms outfit! Let’s be real, we (the mamas) are the most invested in our photos. When I look at our family pictures I may love my kids’ smiles or the way they’re hugging but if I don’t like how I look then I don’t like the picture. I can’t help it! So pick out an outfit that makes you feel confident and like the goddess you are!

family photos with bethany jean photography

Those are my top 3 tips but here are a few other “guidelines” to follow:

– Avoid neon colors
– Stick with smaller patterns, for example, a small floral pattern or thin stripes
– You can pick multiple patterns as long as they compliment each other! For example, flowers compliment stripes or a checkered pattern

– Shoes matter! Stick with basic colored shoes, like black, brown, or white. Make sure the bottom of your kids shoes aren’t crazy colored and are clean
– Avoid having everyone in your family matching PERFECTLY! Sometimes this can be cute, or having maybe two family members (for example, your daughters wearing the same dress or your husband and son wearing matching shirts). But in general, you don’t want every person wearing the exact-same thing.

These are the rules I follow for my own family, I hope they help! Let me know if you can think of any more!

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