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Family Photos: Show your Style and Personality

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It’s back-to-school time, which means fall is only a few months away. It’s time to start thinking about those family pictures! Over the years, I have had the pleasure of helping lots of families prepare wardrobe for family photos, so I thought I would share some helpful tips with you!

1. Choose to color coordinate instead of doing matchy-matchy looks. Back in the ’90s, I vividly remember going to my friends’ houses and seeing family photos of everybody in denim shirts. Why everyone thought denim shirts were the cool thing, I do not know. But I am here to tell you that doing the matchy-matchy thing is out. Go for more color coordination instead and you will get more texture and depth in the photo instead of it feeling flat.

2. Let people show their personality but set boundaries. Yes, it is important for people to wear clothing that makes them feel like themselves, but it is also important to make sure nobody wears such a statement that it overshadows everyone else in the photo. 

3. The best combination is solids with a splash of print. The ratio of solids to prints in the pictures should be around 80/20. Too much print can be hard to coordinate and can make the photo appear overwhelming. These are family photos that you hope to hang on the walls of your home. Make sure everyone is wearing something that you will enjoy looking at every day.

4. Pick a color palette to make color coordination easy. Neutrals with one or two pops of color is my go-to formula.

5. Forget the third piece. Normally, I would tell you to always add a third piece to your look. Adding the perfect jacket, cardigan or blazer can be the finishing touch to a polished and put-together look. However, in photos, third pieces can add bulk and can also take away from the effortless feel of what should be in a family photo. Instead, opt for simplicity in your look; if a third piece is necessary, add a nice piece of jewelry, a belt or a hat.

6. Consider the location and time of the year when choosing your color palette and your looks. If you are shooting in early fall and there will be a lot of foliage, make sure you think about coordinating with those tones.

7. Always lay out everyone’s look ahead of time and take a picture of it all together. This is the best way to see if something is going to look off. 

8. Always have everyone try their outfits on to make sure the fit looks flattering. Is there a button missing? Does a hem need to be fixed? Be ahead of the game in planning outfits for your session so that you can get small things like this fixed!

9. Buying something new for the photos? Make sure to steam any store creases out of the clothing before your session. Nothing says “I’m trying too hard” like someone wearing clothing with store creases. 

10. Have fun! This should be a time to let loose and relax to capture what makes your family special. Giggling and laughter shots are some of my absolute favorites.

Written by: Abby Wood

Abby Wood is a wardrobe stylist and style blogger in Kansas City, and her education in design plus retail experience make her an expert in fit, fabric, style and trends. Her professional experience in fashion began with an apprenticeship with a bridal designer, shifted to creating and showing her  own line, moving up to management and training at a retail level and now professional styling as an independent consultant. Abby loves to help individuals develop and evolve their own sense of style.