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The Family Jewels

Five Tips for Styling a Family Photo Session

Five Tips for Styling a Family Photo Session

mother and son photos - pure & sweet

family photos - old navy knit overalls

pure-and-sweet-photos - vonbon tshirt

natural light family photo

styling tips for family photos - what to wear

father and son - family photos with natural light

If you ask any family photographer what is the most common question asked when booking a session, it’s almost always the same. What should we wear??

The idea of dressing not only yourself but the rest of your family for photos you intend to frame can feel daunting. It’s hard enough to decide for ourselves some days, and that’s without having someone snap pictures of us. As a stylist, I have been asked this question several times over, as well as North Vancouver newborn, maternity and family photographer Erica O’Genski of Pure & Sweet Photography. We chatted over coffee one day about this very subject, and decided to come together in collaboration to provide a few tips on what to wear.

My family has a very laid back, casual style. Now some people may argue that statement because yes, you will most likely not spot us in activewear (well, maybe my husband), but most days we rock the same t-shirt and jeans look. To me, that’s casual. So, with that being said, I wanted our photos to be a reflection of our everyday life together. These are the tips I kept in mind when choosing our looks..

  1. Match your outfits to your location. I knew we were going to take most of our photos inside of Erica’s studio which had a soft feel to it, and plenty of gorgeous natural light. We stuck with our classic blues, whites and denim to match the feeling of home. If it were outside in the Fall, we would have layered up in soft, cozy knits to match our background.
  2. Avoid anything too bold or distracting. You want the photos to capture your feelings and emotions between each other, as opposed to having all of the focus be on what you are wearing. You also don’t want your outfits to clash with one another! Stay within the same tones for a nice consistent flow in the picture.
  3. Classic is always the best choice. Choosing clothing that is timeless and won’t easily date the photos is best. You are far less likely to look back at them and say, “why on earth did I wear that?”. Wearing items that are very of the moment and on trend may not be the best idea.
  4. If it is not easy to wear, don’t wear it. Most family photo sessions are between you and the photographer, meaning there is no extra set of eyes to catch every little detail. If you or anyone in your family are wearing something that constantly needs adjusting, this just creates more work. Keep it simple!
  5. Wear similar colours that compliment one another. I remember having family photos taken when I was young, and we all matched in our white button down shirts and jeans. Now this may have been the popular way to do it back then, but personally, I think everyone should have their own look. That being said, the easiest way to make it all come together is by choosing colours that go together (or keep it neutral!).

I hope these tips are useful to you for your next photo session. A big thank you to Pure & Sweet Photography for capturing these images. It was chaos in the moment with our kids running wild everywhere, and it was almost next to impossible to get all four of us into one shot, but Erica still made it happen, so bravo!


If you can find Pure & Sweet on InstagramFacebook, and online here.



  • Debbie Dibble

    November 11, 2016

    Wonderful photos of your family, Samantha.

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