These tips for family photos will make your next family photo shoot a smooth experience!
Let’s be real. Family photo shoots are stressful!!! Especially for the Mom of the family! We’re normally the ones who schedule, prepare, and plan outfits, haircuts, etc. for everyone ahead of time. It’s a lot to think about! As a professional family photographer (and a Mom), I feel like I have a unique perspective on achieving family photos, and I’d love to share my tips for a successful family photo shoot with you today!
How to Look your best for your family photo shoot:
- Choose your outfit FIRST!!! Ladies, let me tell you something: When it comes to family photos, we should come first. We’re the harshest critics of our own bodies and the quickest to find our own flaws. Your husband’s attire will probably be relatively simple, and your kids will look cute in just about anything Choose your outfit first, and choose something you feel really good in. Hate your arms? Wear long sleeves. Want to hide your legs? Choose pants or a longer skirt or dress. In my case, I wanted to hide my rear-end and legs as much as possible. I have a small waist, so something that cinches me in around the waist will accent my best feature. You can find my exact dress here.
- Maxi Dresses look good on pretty much every body type, and give lots of pretty movement in pictures.
- Layers are flattering. Adding a jacket or longer cardigan to your ensemble gives you the opportunity to add more color and texture to the photos too!
- Plan ahead and get your outfit tailored if necessary. Having clothing that fits you will flatter your body. Clothing that is too lose or baggy will only make you look frumpier.
- Have your hair professionally blown-out and styled. (I always have my hair blown-out and professionally curled. It looks so much better when I have a professional do it!)
- Get a spray tan a few days ahead of time. (This is also something I always do about 4-5 days in advance. I wouldn’t do it the day before, as spray tans take a little time to wear off and look more natural.)
- Wear a wedge or heal for added length for your legs and body.
How to Coordinate Outfits:
- Choose one “lead” pattern that pulls all of the colors together. In the case of our photos, my dress has black, mustard, sage, pinks, and just a little bit of blue. I used this color palette to build everyone else’s outfit.
- Lead patterns can be any design, but typically are a floral, stripe, or plaid pattern.
- Use “one-off” primary and secondary colors. Allow me to explain. We have three primary colors: red, yellow, and blue. We also have three secondary colors: orange, purple and green. Avoid bold primary and secondary colors in your outfit choices if possible. I want you to use the “one-off” rule. Choose colors that are close to primary colors, but aren’t.
- Instead of blue, wear: light blue, turquoise, chambray or navy blue
- Instead of red, wear: burgundy, wine, soft pink, or blush,
- Instead of orange/yellow, wear: mustard, cream, beige, apricot, honey
- Instead of green, wear: sage, mint, or moss
- Instead of purple, wear: plum, periwinkle, or mauve
- Neutrals like black, white, taupe, or gray are always just fine!
- Consider using several patterns, and don’t be afraid to mix it up. In our family photos, you will notice floral, polka dots, and stripes all being utilized. While you don’t want too many bold patterns, mixing one bold pattern with coordinating milder patterns looks great in photos!
- Coordinating 2-4 colors for everyone’s outfit is perfect.
- Try really hard not to wait until the last minute. I know it’s hard to plan ahead and choose ensembles for multiple people, but the sooner you get it figure out, the less stress you’ll be under on the day of your photos.
- Wear coordinating accessories. My photographer practically happy danced when I pulled out my felt hat. Accessories give photos more texture, layers, pops of color, and detail. While you don’t want to go crazy over-accessorizing, it’s fun to choose just a few stylish items to add more life and fun to your photos. If you’re unsure about which accessories you want to use, just bring them along to the photoshoot as options. Your photographer can help you decide what will look best. Some accessories that look great in photos are:
- Nice shoes (no tennis shoes, please!)
- Bow ties
- Furry vests
How to Get the Most Cooperation From Your Children:
- Finding a photographer who works well with children is key. Talk to friends who have had their photos taken and ask around for recommendations. A photographer that makes photos fun and playful will be worth every penny!
- Bring fruit snacks and treats. We can’t be above bribery during photo time!
- Play little games like peek-a-boo, ring around the rosy, etc.
- Sing your child’s favorite songs or play music from your phone
- Stand behind the photographer and make funny noises, make crazy faces, and do silly dances
- Give children little breaks between photos
What to Wear for Your Family Photo SHoot:
Be sure to pin this post for later! You never know when you might need tips for a successful family photo shoot! 😉
Other posts you might find helpful:
How to Make Family Photos More Fun
5 Tips for Photographing Young Children
Have a great day!
Tyler Johnson says
That’s a good idea to bring snacks to bribe your kids. I would think that could help them stay put for the pictures. I’ll have to do that if we get a family portrait taken.