How to Style a Family Photo Shoot

newborn photo shoot black and white outfits family

It may not feel like it in here in San Diego, but it is FALL! Fall and winter seem to be an extra popular times for family photo shoots, and I’m definitely on that bandwagon. With my own family & maternity photo shoot coming up, I’ve been working on styling our outfits and thought I’d share a few tips! This isn’t the easiest task…especially with toddlers and husbands involved. So check out these tips to make it a little easier on you, mama!

  1. Pick your outfit first!
    Trust me, it’s a lot easier to find complementary pieces for the kiddos and dad than it is to do it the other way around. Pick what YOU want to wear and then style the rest of the family around your key piece. Mama is usually the hardest to dress. Plus, us mamas are often the most critical of ourselves in photos and we deserve to look and feel GOOD! Or, if there’s something you are absolutely obsessed with for one of your kiddos to wear, then start with that. But pick ONE person and build the rest of the family’s outfits around that. I would definitely choose your outfit next and any other women or girls who are included! Dads, boys, or other men involved will probably be pretty simple and they should always be styled last in my opinion!
  2. Choose a color palette that will complement the shoot location.
    Let your shoot location help you decide on a color palette for your family’s outfits. If you’re shooting in the woods or the mountains, stick with earth tones and neutrals. If you’re shooting at the beach, stick with cooler tones. If you’re shooting somewhere fun, pick some brighter colors! You get the picture!

    And don’t forget other accessories that can add to your color palette! Shoes, jackets, bows, bow ties, a blanket, etc. can all help tie your color palette together!
  3. There’s a difference between matching & coordinating.
    The completely matching family outfits hasn’t ever been my thing. If you love it, go for it. It’s just not my jam personally! I opt for coordinating outfits over matching. I think this helps the individuals themselves POP in the photos when everyone is standing close to each other. When everyone is wearing the exact same color or print, you all blend together, especially if you have littles that are going to be held in some of the photos. In order to achieve this, mix and match your chosen color palette amongst the pieces in all your outfits.

    One rule of thumb: only one person in a pattern. For our upcoming family shoot, that person in a pattern is going to be me! I’m going for a sage green color palette. If you aren’t sure what other colors to pair with your chosen color, a great tip is to throw a search into Pinterest – you will be amazed with how many mood boards pop up that will help spark inspiration for your color of choice! Another tip: pull another color or two out of the patterned item (if applicable) and use those colors as your palette!

I’m so excited for our upcoming family & maternity shoot! This is the ONE and only thing so far this pregnancy that I’ve actually thought of and planned in advanced. This pregnancy has been quite the journey for a variety of reasons and I’ve felt super “behind” in a lot of stuff, which is not a pleasant feeling. However, I actually got this one thing together in a timely manner! Now…let’s get through the actual shoot. Wish us luck!


P.S. The photo above was from Mason's newborn shoot! I went with a black and white color palette to complement Mason's nursery. I wore a white tank and black jeans. I dressed Mason in a white onesie and I chose a zebra print short sleeve button down with black shorts for my husband. But another thing to note...babies and tots don't always cooperate! So be prepared with a few things on hand to help with that. For this newborn shoot, we threw on a swaddle (just happened to have one that matched...phew!) and gave him a bottle of pumped milk (because I wasn't comfortable nursing in front of the camera at the time...a story for another day). For our upcoming shoot, I am going to pack snacks and a couple toys (extra points for me if I can find some that will complement our outfits!). 

Photo credit: Stacey Northrup 

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