Adrienne Leigh Photography


Freelance photographer, mother of two average children and one above average husband. Trying to bring no fuss sophistication to the inelegant art of motherhood.  

Style Tips: Family Photo Session

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The most common question I hear from friends and clients ahead of a family photo session is, “what should we wear?”  I want to share with you the 5 biggest style mistakes people make and how to avoid them (oh and have some fun with it!)

So you've done it.  You bit the bullet and finally booked yourself a photographer to take a family picture! But your excitement quickly fades when you ask yourself, "what are we all going to wear?"

Dressing for a family photo session can feel overwhelming and lets be honest for many of you I’m sure the idea of putting together a cohesive collection for your shoot is not something that sounds fun.  Well my friends, that’s why I’m here. Today I want to share the 5 biggest style mistakes people make and how to solve them.


1. The Mistake: Color Clash

Picking the “right” color depends on your skin tone, but as a rule of thumb I recommend clients avoid neon or any color that is too harsh against the skin.  

The Solution:  Look in Your Closet

Start with your favorite color. I’ll bet if you look in your closet or around your house you’ll see you like to surround yourself with a color that looks good on you. Then, think about what emotion you want your pictures to create.  Joy? Romance? For me, a joy filled photo often has more bright tones for impact. Whereas a romantic shot has neutral tones for an overall softer shot.  Talk to your photographer about the goals of the session and they can help guide you towards the perfect color palette.


2: The Mistake: Too Coordinated

I beg of you, please don’t all show up in the same color pants and shirt.  It doesn’t look natural! You love this look? I’m simply not the photographer for you.  

The Solution: Pattern and Interest

I recommend that rather than wear the same color you pick a color palette that everyone pulls from.  Then, the best way to add more interest to your collection is by playing with texture. This could be leather, denim, linen, faux fur, suede, etc.  Texture gives depth to the photograph.

So where to start? I find it is easiest to start with one member of the family, usually mom or daughter. Do you have a favorite piece that always makes you feel beautiful? A bow your daughter HAS to wear every day?  This piece can be your building block for the collection.

With any detail you pick you want it to show up more than once, but not for everyone -- that’s the thin line between coordinated and too coordinated. Okay, so stick with me. Your session is 3 people?  If Dad and daughter wear denim, mom should opt for a different detail or texture. Maybe mom has pink in her blouse, daughter has pink in her bow, but dad doesn’t wear pink so that it feels coordinated without being too coordinated. Got me?


3. The Mistake: Poor Fit

Make sure the shirt you're wearing isn’t too loose or too tight in any areas.  And ditch the shirt you feel like you have to keep adjusting. 

The Solution: Fit in to Stand Out

Fit is the most important element that takes a simple outfit to an elevated look.  That means shoulder seams at your shoulder and pants don’t pull at your thighs. I get it, our bodies are constantly changing and in ways that we have no control over. (I no joke have about 5 different bra sizes currently in my underwear drawer.)  Embrace the changes and find an outfit you feel fabulous and comfortable in. 


4. The Mistake: Too Formal

If your husband never wears a tie your family photoshoot shouldn’t be the first time.  Your daughter hates dresses? Don't make her wear one.  Your son likes dresses? Let him wear one!

The Solution:  Be You

Be Yourself.  If you are a family that doesn't dress up, don't dress up for your photo.  If you are someone who loves to wear dresses and heels then get it girl! I want you to look at your photo and think, I love this! I love us!  To achieve this, let everyone wear something they feel comfortable in. The goal is to capture the best photo, so the more relaxed and comfortable everyone feels in their clothes, the more relaxed and candid the photos will come out.


5. The Mistake: Being Stressed

How does being stressed affect your style you ask?  Beauty starts within girl! I see it all the time! One parent is stressed that the shirt keeps coming untucked or that their daughter doesn't want to wear the bow they brought.  This energy bleeds into everyone else and then no one wants to have their picture taken.

The Solution: Deep Breaths

I get it.  You're paying money for a photo and you want it to turn out. But let’s face it, life doesn't always go to plan.  If your children are anything like mine they have opinions. Lots of opinions. Give your children choices. Pick out two outfits that they can choose from.  Giving them ownership over the choice will, hopefully, make them feel like they did have control over the decision. Set parameters for the members of your family but in the end let everyone be themselves.  I promise you the more relaxed you are the better the photos will be.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it:   Color Palette, Add Interest, Pay attention to Fit, Be yourself and Relax.  Now your job is done and leave the rest to your photographer

xo- Adrienne