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Central IL Photographer

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10 Tips for Styling Your Family Session


As a family portrait photographer, hands-down the question I get most often is: "What should we wear?" I always answer that question with some questions, because there is no one size fits all answer!


Here are my top 10 tips for styling your family session.


1. Think About Your Home.

I'm a big believer that your images should not live and die on social media. Images are meant to be enjoyed every single day in your home, reminding you of those you love the most. The first question you should ask is what colors would look nice in my home? Use that to guide your color scheme.


2. Coordinate, Don't Match.

Choose colors that coordinate with each other, not colors that exactly match. This creates contrast and makes your images more interesting.


This family showed off their personalities with lots of color!

3. Choose prints carefully.

A little print is great, but keep in mind prints can be distracting and clash if there are too many different prints going on.


Here is a perfectly chosen print. Mom's floral kimono adds interest without being distracting.

4. Avoid words.

As a general rule, avoid clothing with words on them, because it is distracting in the image. Of course there are exceptions to this rule. For example, a special shot of everyone in a specific t-shirt designed for the session, a birthday shirt, etc.


5. Lose the Sunglasses and Hats.

Sunglasses and hats don't look good in family portraits. Hats cast a harsh shadow on the face, making it hard to see facial features. The eyes are the most beautiful part of the human face, so wearing sunglasses eliminates a lot of emotion and beauty from your images.


6. Think Classic.

These portraits will be on your walls for years to come. Think about outfits that are simple, classic, and won't age.



7. Coordinate Dressiness Level.

This is especially important for multi-family sessions. You don't want one family coming in shorts and polos, and another family coming in dress pants and button ups. If you are doing a large family session, make sure everyone is wearing the same type of clothing.


8. Think Head to Toe.

It's so important to not forget about your feet! When choosing outfits, think head to toe because everything you are wearing will be shown in the images.



9. Shop Smart for the Kids.

I always start by coordinating my kids, and then choose simple outfits for my husband and I to match. Many places have color schemes for boy and girl clothing. Target is my favorite spot. Their Cat & Jack line is full of great color coordinating outfits that are adorable!


10. Accessorize.

Pulling in a scarf, layer, bow, or piece of jewelry adds a lot of color, texture, and interest to your portraits. Never underestimate the power of a few accessories! Also, if you are in need of some adorable bows for your session, I always recommend Our Darling Doe Boutique. Dawn makes the CUTEST bows, and she can also make matching earrings for mama.



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