Ahhhh, family photos. It's bittersweet experience isn't it. I LOVE family photos because, HELLO, I am a mom and usually the one behind the camera. Pictures with me in them? Oh, you mean my awkward selfies with my kids? BOOM. Reason number 102 why I kinda go in full-blown “they gotta be perfect” mode. It’s the ONE time where I am IN the picture and hopefully my hair is styled up to par than the original mom bun with postpartum fly-aways.
The bitter side of things… trying to plan it. I see you. Rummaging your closet. Panicking over what in the WORLD to wear…not just for yourself, but the entire family. It can be super overwhelming, and although I am no pro at this, I have learned some tricks along the way that make the process much easier, while creating a cohesive “look” while streamlining all the anxiety along the way.
Winter. Spring. Summer. Fall. I always like to make my photos match the season, especially if your planning to be outside. You want to make sure you and your crew aren’t freezing or sweating like you just ran a marathon. Obviously, if there is snow on the ground for your session, wearing a tank top may be a little out of place and vice versa… a wool sweater and in mid-summer, probably is not a good idea. This can also help you choose colors for your outfits! I always like to mesh the seasons in with our overall color scheme, which I will get to in just a bit.
Start by thinking about where you plan to display your portraits. If the wall where you plan to hang your family portrait is brightly colored, you may want to avoid brightly colored outfits so the colors don’t compete. Instead opt for soft neutrals or muted tones. On the other hand, if your walls are neutral, pops of color in your outfits would look great!
The location you choose will also impact the colors and style you choose to dress your family in. Think about the overall colors of your location. WHERE are you having the shoot? Indoors? Outdoors? At the beach? At a park? Downtown in an urban setting?
How do you want the pictures to feel? Classic. Boho. Earthy. Trendy. Formal. Relaxed. Whimsical. Rustic. Playful. Romantic. Cheerful. Beachy. Depending on the location, vibes play an important part too.
• Put yourself first for once Mama. Be confident and Love what you wear. Getting ready first than getting ready last will ensure you have enough time to look your very best.
*I personally recommend dressing in long skirts, pants, or dresses. There is just something about a long flowy dress that photographs so beautifully, and you will have so much fun wearing one! It's a beautiful visual element to your photos. Only if it fits your personality of course.
• Add in various textures, colors that mesh well with one another, and don’t be afraid to pop in a splash of pattern. Choose 1-2 simple patterns. Mix in patterns with solids to balance out the photo.
* Basic isn’t a bad thing. Spice up basic pieces with layers (cardigans, layered button-up, sweater, scarf, hats) It will add some texture and depth to your photos.
• Keep accessories and jewelry simple.
* Wear your hair how you like it, but typically stay away from ponytails. Typically, the looser and more flexible the style, the better!
• Lay the outfits out on the floor and see how they mesh.
*Coordinate your clothing–in group photos, try to keep everyone on the same page and color palette of 2-4 colors. The best tip for family outfit planning is to pick one item of clothing with a few colors (like mom or daughter’s dress) and pull colors from that for everyone else to wear. Dress like you go together.
• Flatter your figure. Don’t wear clothes that are entirely too tight or loose, or clothes that accentuate your insecurities. Wear something you feel beautiful in.
* Wear sleeves or quarter-sleeves if weather permits. In my experience, the women I photograph are most insecure about the way their arms appear. Covering your arms may take the focus away from them and flatter their shape at the same time.
• If anyone needs a haircut, its best to do it a week before the shoot so the hair looks more natural.
While trying to stay current and fashionable, do avoid obvious trends that will be outdated soon. You can do fashion forward while still remaining timeless.
• Make sure the day before, you iron anything that needs to be dress, hung and ready to wear. A Lot less chaotic trying to scramble trying to find missing pieces.
* Make sure whatever outfits you choose, they are YOU. The last thing you want is to feel uncomfortable during the photos, so make sure your personalities and vibes are also a part of your decision-making when planning.
• Blowouts and accidents happen to babies. I highly recommend arriving a few minutes early and dressing the baby in their session outfits at arrival.
* If all else fails with your kids… bring along a small (non-messy) treat to bribe them. Fruit snacks and marshmallows are great!