Hi! I’m Wendy. I am a photographer based out of Missoula, Montana. I am the mother of 4 awesome kids and wife to the best husband and adventure buddy a girl could as for.
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Yay! You have booked a photoshoot. Now you are freaking out just a little bit. You want your pictures to be gorgeous, of course you do. A Big huge part of that is styling your family. Now it’s time to get clothes for the entire family (including Dad who considers dressing up jeans and a T-shirt.)
No worries friend! I’ve got you! Here are my 7 tips for getting your family all spiffy and beautiful. Let’s go!
What is the overall look you want for your pictures? Boho, street, fancy dress-up, casual, neutral, vivid. These are just a few suggestions.
I would recommend you go to Pinterest or Instagram and see what speaks to you. Start a Pinterest board with those images or take screenshots of your Instagram finds. Do you see a style or color scheme showing up as a theme? This will give you a great place to start.
Good news! You already started this one in step #1. If you are on Pinterest, create a board. If you are not on Pinterest, you can screenshot images and save them in a folder. Then, and this is the important part; share that board with me, the photographer! Based on the vibe of what I see I can direct you to the type of clothes you want to look for. As an added bonus, it can also help with figuring out a great location.
That’s right mom! No sloppy seconds for you. You pick your outfit first. I see it over and over again. The family shows up looking great and mom is in the frumpy outfit or the outfit that just isn’t flattering. No more! Mom, you are the one that wants these pictures. You are the one that cares 100% the most. And, let’s be honest, if momma doesn’t like the way she looks in the pictures it’s pretty much a no-go.
Mom, find a color that you love. Pick a style that is flattering. I recommend you go shopping, either online or in-person, and buy a lot of things. Then try them on. Feel free to send me pictures of your mini fashion show. I can help you find the perfect outfit for you Then, please! For the love of your bank account, return everything else!
If you want more info on this topic, I did a deep dive into how Mom should dress here.
This is a big one. A BIG one! Nothing makes me cry more than when a family shows up in fully matching outfits. Or worse, they tried to match but the reds are just a little bit off. It seriously hurts.
Here is my go-to tip for coordinating your outfits. Pick one inspiration outfit. While I followed my own advice and got my dress first in the picture above. The inspiration outfit was my oldest daughter’s dress. Based on her awesome plaid yellow dress I was able to find a color scheme that I loved and fit the overall look I was going for.
Here are some more examples of using an inspiration outfit.
Some people are bold and fearless when it comes to color. Others, not so much. If you are brave, go for it! bring out those bold and daring colors. If you are on the shy side, I suggest picking 3-4 complementary colors and build your outfits based on those colors. Keep in mind, I don’t consider white or black really colors.
This one is closely related to #4. I recommend picking two or three patterns and prints for your outfits. Be thoughtful about how these prints go together. If you pick a bold plaid then your other prints could be smaller or more subdued.
Textures can make the shoot. Think, chunky knits, or fluffy (faux) furs. Sweaters, vests, scarves, hats, socks, and tights are great ways to add textures and a pop of color.
Yup! you don’t have to go out and spend more on clothes than you do on the photoshoot. Since in Rule #3 I said mom should find her outfit first, then go to your closet, find your most amazing dress and build the rest of the shoot from there. So many times we have such amazing clothes in our closet and we forget. Or even better, Mom gets a new outfit, everyone else pulls from their closets.
For last my family’s pictures last year (above) My boys already had their suits for a dance that fall. It was pretty awesome that they went so well with the rest of the outfits.
In the image below, I was visiting my sister and she wanted pictures. She had most of what her family is wearing in their closets. Just remember, you may already own that one perfect piece that will make your pictures perfect.
Adding hats, cardigans, scarves, jewelry will take your look to the next level. Even better, it can give you a lot of diversity throughout your shoot. I love hats for this purpose. Hats can go on and off and even be held (or thrown) to add more dimension to the pictures.
Scarves can take a meh outfit to a stellar outfit. And jewelry is always a good idea. Here are a few out-of-the-box ideas; colorful or textured tights, cool ties, chunky socks, color, and cool shoes. All of these accessories can really level up your overlook.