1. Consider your location + home
When organizing for your family session, consider where you’ll be taking pictures and the season. If you have particular outfits in mind, be sure to plan them to be cohesive with when you’re taking pictures and where. Is your background going to be color changing leaves of fall? Choose rich colors. Will they be by the ocean? Nearly everything goes. Up in the mountains? The orange groves? See what colors will be there to help determine what look you want to create. Also, what will you be doing with the pictures? If you plan on hanging them in your home, consider your décor. You don’t want a giant family photo above the mantle that clashes with your living room.
2. Find a color palette
This is the first thing I do when planning for our family sessions. It’s kind of our “thing” to do blue, but we’ve also mixed in florals, mint, and coral. I’ve helped lots of family and friends coordinate outfits and the first thing I ask is what colors they’re thinking. Pick 1-2 colors and then everything else should be neutrals- denim, black, white, tan, or gray. You can add color with your tops, bottoms, tights, cardigans, or accessories. It doesn’t have to be the same shades of your color choice, but you want to stick in the same color family.
3. Pick your outfit first!
I know this sounds kind of selfish, but I say this because I find that it’s hardest to shop for me for pictures. I start with myself, the kids, and then Matt. Men seem to be the easiest to shop for so I always do them last. You can always find a nice button down shirt any time of year, but finding the right blouse or dress for women can get kind of tricky.
4. Add texture
Depending on the size of your family, at least two people should have clothing that adds depth and texture to your picture. Think knits, lace, eyelet, corduroy, etc. If you’re taking fall or winter pics, this is easy to do with layering- cardigans, vests, dresses, sweaters, pants, whatever! You want to make sure that not just the adults are wearing texture/color/or prints, but that it’s sprinkled throughout the family.
5. Mix in some prints!
Need ideas? What about a gingham print for Dad, polka dots and florals for the girls, or stripes for the boys. Not everyone needs to be in a print, but finding the right balance of solids, textures, and prints is key to a cohesive portrait. Do you need a little something, but another full outfit will be too much? Don’t forget hair bows or bow ties for the little ones or a printed belt or shoes for yourself! It’s an easy way to sneak it in without going overboard.
I seriously LOVE planning for family pictures and helping others find just what they need to make their pictures stand out. Even though we just took ours, I’m already scouting and keeping an eye open for new locations for next year. It’s never too early to start thinking ahead! If you have any questions, please ask me in a comment, shoot me an email, or leave me a note on social media. I hope these tips help you with your next family sessions, leave a link below if you have some to share!
All photos done by Lovers of Love Photography - we love working with them!