Clothing & Style Guide For Family Photos | Shelly Lyn Photography | Colorado Family Photographer

So, you have booked your family photo session - great job! You will love having those portraits to look at 30 years from now, and so will your kids! Are you thinking about what to wear and feeling a little overwhelmed? Don’t worry, you’re not alone - I am here to help you every step of the way.

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Well-coordinated clothing can take an image from good to fantastic, so it’s important that you dedicate some time to choosing outfits you’ll love seeing on your family time and time again. I know how daunting this task may seem, but this guide will help facilitate the process and help you make picture-perfect styling choices.

Keep in mind, you are always welcome to contact me if you need styling suggestions! I am more than happy to help!

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You want your outfits to feel cohesive without having everyone matching exactly. An easy way to begin is to choose 2 colors and use shades/tones within those colors. A third color can be introduced if you feel you don’t have enough variety, but try to limit this color to small accents/accessories, if possible.


I find that it’s easiest to begin with the most challenging person to dress. Once you find an outfit that you love for that person, it will be easier to find coordinating pieces for the rest of the family.


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In general, you’ll want to wear solid colors. Distracting patterns draw our attention away from what really matters – your faces and connection with one another. If subtle patterns are used, its best to have only one family member in a pattern, usually the smallest person.




Once you have your base, you can add layers and accessories for added interest to the overall picture. Things to consider: cardigans, sweaters, bracelets, necklaces, earrings, headbands, hairclips, hats, scarves, etc.




If your child has a favorite toy or object that’s important to him/her, bring it along. We can incorporate it into a few images and use it to capture his/her attention.

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-      Be sure to iron or press your outfits before the session.


-      Remember that socks may show, depending on the pose. Be sure to have coordinating socks, as well!


-      Your shoes will also be in the images. I discourage sneakers and flip-flops unless you are going for a very casual look.


-      Wear temperature appropriate clothing that’s comfortable. Also, make sure it fits properly! This is especially important for children. We want them to be happy and comfortable throughout the session. This is how we’ll get those genuine smiles and expressions.


-      Have clean, trimmed nails. This includes children! Manicures and pedicures are optional, but always nice!

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-      Thin stripes: Thin, tight stripes can cause something called Moire, a wavy distorted effect in the fabric.


-      Crazy Patterns: Huge florals, bold plaid, thick stripes, etc., are all examples of patterns you’ll want to avoid, as they are very distracting. We want the focus to remain on your beautiful family, not one person’s clothing.


-      Getting a tan/sunburn right before your session.


-      Big, distracting accessories like humongous bows on little girls or chunky, statement necklaces. Less is more when it comes to accessories! You’re going to see these things in your portraits forever, so be sure you love what you’re wearing. 




You’re nearly done! Once you’ve chosen your outfits it can be helpful to lay all the pieces together to ensure that they coordinate nicely. Feel free to send me a snapshot if you need some assistance with anything at all. If you like what you see, you’re all done and ready for the fun!


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