5 Tips for Styling a Family Photoshoot

Whether you’re taking photos for your annual holiday card, celebrating a milestone, or just because the whole family is finally together in one place, we can agree that family photos are a necessity! They make great gifts for grandparents, provide the makings of gorgeous wall art around the house, and serve as great memories for your family.

Speaking of the coveted family Christmas card. You know, the one you send to everyone in your address book every December? It’s a big deal. You gotta show off what you accomplished in the past year and definitely show off your beautiful family. Just kidding. I don’t mean to be that dramatic! You gotta admit it is nice receiving holiday cards from family and friends whom you don’t see or talk to on a regular basis and see how they’re doing. It’s like a thoughtful gift. A picture shows and says a lot which is why many families choose to include them on their holiday cards. If you’re like me and take hundreds of photos throughout the year just any photo won’t do! Which is why we go through such lengths to get that perfect photo.

You pay a professional photographer to capture these images so why not spend the time to ensure you and your family look amazing in them?! Get dressed up!

I personally enjoy putting together outfits for my tribe every year. Styling our outfits lets me tap into my creative side which I find extremely fun. It also gives me an excuse to go shopping! While I may enjoy it I know others find it stressful. An excuse too often heard is that they don’t feel confident in front of the camera. Well, I’m here to help with that! I always preach that when you look good, you feel good and therefore more confident. So let’s start by having you and your family look their best for your upcoming photoshoot!

While fall is the busiest time of year for family photos you can take your photos all year round. I for one fall into the basic b*tch category and want the gorgeous fire-colored leaves as my backdrop in my photos but you don’t have to go that route! At this point fall is nearing it’s departure but there is still time to get those photos in and get your cards out. To buy more time you can send a New Year’s card even. It’s not too late but if if doesn’t happen you can still use this guide later. It will be helpful no matter what season.

Tip 1: Choose one piece for inspiration

When you don’t know where to start it’s best to start small and simple. I like to begin by grabbing inspiration from a single piece of clothing. Said piece of clothing should be something that gets you excited! The photo taking and shopping experience will be so much better because someone in your family be photographed in something you really like and therefore want to show off! Starting off with one thing is also a good way to stay on track with this task. With so many choices out there it’s so easy to get pulled in different directions making it hard to actually make a decision. It also helps you to create a color theme for the overall look. Nailing your color palette first is key since our eyes are the most sensitive to light and color. For example, for this year’s pictures I used this Free People warp skirt as the base for my inspiration. I was so obsessed with the marigold color. It was the color of fall 2019 in my eyes! After that was settled I had a good sense of direction on what to shop for for my husband and son. I would look for warmer toned colors.

Tip 2: Don’t try to match exactly

Now, the goal here is to coordinate, NOT entirely match. Seeing the same color, top to bottom, on everyone in a photo looks too much of like a high school yearbook where everyone is wearing the same uniform. Save that for the family reunion! An easy way to avoid this is to vary the shades of the same color. Do this by using darker or lighter shades of the same color. Even a subtle variation can make all the difference. In this photo shoot I took the marigold skirt and shopped around for pieces of similar color. I landed on this mustard color cardigan for Diedric. The cardigan is a little more muted compared to the vibrant color of the skirt. It’s the perfect compliment and so cute on him!

Tip 3: Mix in neutrals Neutrals are your best friend! They’re meant to blend and mix in with any type of color palette making them easy to use. It’s almost fool-proof! Neutrals are your whites, blacks, creams, beiges, grays, and browns. I use a lot of neutrals to pair with my color palette because I can create seamless outfits and then use my colors to give the whole look a good ‘pop of color’. You don’t have to make it too complicated and worry about mixing too many colors. In fact, mixing in too much color runs the risk of looking too mismatched and everyone just looking like their individual selves. Depending on how many people are going to participate in the shoot I would aim to use no more than 3-5 different shades. For this photo shoot I also followed Tip #2 above and varied the shades of neutrals from white to cream so we all weren’t completely matching.

Tip 4: Alternate colors on top and bottom

To prevent everyone from looking too uniform you should not only vary color but vary where the color goes. While this may seem to be more of a challenge it’s actually not! It’s easy to shop for a bunch of “white sweaters” or “this color button up” but again you don’t want everyone looking so uniform. When planning my outfits I try to have color on top as well as the bottom. Mix it up by alternating who wears the neutral sweater and who wears the colorful shirt. It doesn’t have to be exactly every other person as long as you mix it up slightly. For our little trio it was easy to alternate our color in this shoot. The outfits with color on the bottom were my husband and I. I wore the marigold skirt and he wore brown corduroy pants. Then Diedric was colorful on the top in his mustard color cardigan. Another way to decide who wears what is to pair up! For example, you can have mom and dad be similar or go the mommy and me route or the daddy and me route. Either way will be extremely adorable!

Tip 5: Use accessories to add color

Don’t underestimate the power of accessories! They have the ability to make a statement or really compliment an outfit. You can use them to add color in small places or even use them as a way to give an outfit that ‘pop of color’ we talked about previously. Accessories aren’t just limited to jewelry but include belts, hats, scarves, and shoes. All of these are great to use in your photos! In this shoot I used a brown belt to help give my over-sized sweater some shape in the waist area and to break up the extra long length of the sweater. Footwear is also an easy way to incorporate color into your outfits. I like to go back to Tip #2 and use similar shades of color. But, I also encourage you to be bold and go for big color if you want. Just keep in mind you don’t want to attract too much attention to your feet. It is family photos after all and you want to grab attention to your beautiful face! For this shoot I chose neutral brown footwear for the whole family. I wore these milk chocolate over-the-knee suede boots. My skirt had just the right amount of slit in it to show them off. On a side note, I really wanted to add a little more color to Donald’s outfit by layering a colored button up underneath his sweater. I mistakenly assumed he had a collared shirt I could use. His outfit turned out great regardless but it would’ve been a nice addition.

There you have it folks, 5 simple tips to help guide you in styling your tribe so that they may look even lovelier! I can’t wait to hear/see what you come up with. Drop a line in the comments or tag @drloohoo on social media with your photos! Have fun with it and don’t stress.

Outfit details: Jenn’s Sweater: Free People // Skirt: Free People // Boots: Bloomingdale’s // Belt: Forever 21 // Donald’s Sweater: J Crew // Pants: J Crew // Diedric’s Sweater: Zara Kids // Pants: Zara Kids // Cardigan: Zara Kids // Shoes: Billy Footwear

xo, Jenn

all images by Miguel Cornelio

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