One of the most common questions we get asked is “What should we wear for our family portraits?” Well, we certainly have our own thoughts on the subject but felt it would be beneficial to reach out to an expert for some great tips. So we enlisted our good friend and style blogger extraordinaire Marisa Zerby. You can follow her at her blog A Lovely Living. Check out her tips below:




8 Tips for Styling your Photographs

Interested in knowing how you can turn your photo session into an extraordinary one? Deciding on a wardrobe for you and your family is extremely important because clothing can make or break your images. I have put together a handful of tips that will help you to coordinate outfits for you and your family and ultimately get the best looking results possible.


Begin with a Vision

How do you want the images to look and feel? Where will your photos be displayed? Begin by thinking about the primary reason you are doing the session and dress appropriately. For instance, if you are having them taken for Christmas cards, seasonal clothing would certainly be appropriate. For images that will be hung in and around your home, consider coordinating with the look and colors in your decor.

Location is Key

It’s important to take your location into consideration when styling your clothing so that you can not only get the right vibe but also dress appropriately for the season and temperature. Think about the colors that will be in your setting and make sure your outfits will compliment the surroundings. Consider how well the colors and patterns in your wardrobes will stand out against your backdrop. A green dress against a field of green would merely blend in as opposed to a pink or royal blue that would certainly pop.

Coordinate (Don’t Match)

This is a big one. It’s important to coordinate all outfits without making everyone look identical. Personalities need to shine through by keeping each individuals’ outfit unique. I like to start by selecting a basic color palette and then working in a few pops of color to coordinate between everyone.



(This family did a great job of selecting a wardrobe that coordinated without being too matchy-matchy)


Don’t be Overly Trendy

This doesn’t mean that you need to dress everyone traditionally, but do try to avoid wearing a trend that will most likely be out in a season or two. These pictures will most likely be hung much longer than that and you don’t want them looking terribly dated.


The more people that will be in your images, the more important it is to add a bit of pattern and/or texture. Pattern is good as long as it’s used in moderation, so try to limit using it on one or two people. Patterns and texture can add visual interest as well as a good dose of personality. Often-times it can be a female’s printed dress or a male’s plaid shirt that becomes the color palette the rest of the family works off of.



(Note how well this large family used a few pieces with pattern while following their coordinating color scheme)



(I love the way this small family based their color scheme around their daughter’s patterned dress)


Avoid Logos

Logos tend to be a distraction in photos, so steer clear of them and allow the focus to be kept on the subjects.

Do Accessorize

It’s amazing how adding a headband or the right pair of shoes to an outfit can take it to the next level. Once you have your outfits finalized, take the time to look them over and add any additional accessories that may be beneficial. Keep in mind that any accessories used should enhance your images but never distract. And remember, shoes do matter and they will most likely be visible in your images, so don’t just throw on sneakers and call it a day!

Don’t lose your Personality

As a final note, make sure the clothing everyone is wearing is comfortable and suites their personalities. Don’t attempt to create an image that feels forced as it will show through in the end result. Your photographer wants to capture you, your family and the unique dynamic between everyone. If everyone feels good, it’ll show through!



(The comfort and level of happiness of this family is clearly shown in this image)


Good luck and happy styling! You can find me blogging at A Lovely Living.

Marisa Zerby



So there you have it, some wise words from our style expert. Look for more form Marisa in the future, including the possibility of personal styling advice available for your portrait session!


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