This was the first year our family had professional portraits taken because last year, as a new mother, I was not organized enough to schedule a date before our Christmas cards went out! This year, with plenty of notice, I planned our outfits in advance so when the photoshoot day arrived, we were all ready to go! Here are a few pieces of advice I have for family portrait styling:
1. Once you have decided on a venue, plan your outfits accordingly. The goal is to look natural and fit in with your surroundings. Connecticut has the most beautiful fall foliage, so we wanted to take advantage of that. Our photographer, Erin Bell, who we absolutely adore, suggested we have them taken at Ambler Farm in Wilton, CT. I tend to overdress for most occasions, so it was a bit difficult for me to find an outfit that would not only look appropriate on the farm, but feel a little more special than a basic sweater and jeans.
2. Decide on a look or color scheme for your family. We went with a soft neutral palette of ivory, grey and navy. If somebody in your family has a signature look, go with it. My husband is rarely seen without a navy blazer and my son happens to have a matching one, so we thought that would be a key piece to work with. They both wore dark denim, crisp white shirts and different styles of grey sweaters and brown leather loafers so they weren't completely matching from head-to-toe. I wanted to complement them, but needed a feminine look to balance the masculinity of the navy blazers. I ended up going with a full-length ivory wrap dress and threw a fox fur vest over it to add a little interest and texture.
3. Try to keep the look timeless and steer clear of overt trends. It is important to keep in mind that you will most likely have these pictures gracing your walls for years to come. Can you imagine your family in these outfits in five, ten years?
4. Consider adding layering pieces. If you aren't doing full-on outfit changes, I think it's a good idea to add a layering component. It keeps the shots interesting and varied and also gives you options when ordering prints. My son wore his jacket for half the pictures and then did the rest with just his sweater. I liked that because he and my husband aren't so matchy in every picture. I was afraid my vest might look bulky, so I took it off halfway through.
5. Choose colors and silhouettes that are flattering on you. This is not the time to experiment with new colors or styles - you want to look like yourself and feel comfortable. If you stick to tried-and-true styles that you know look good on you, you will look and feel natural and confident.