5 Tips to Styling Memorable Family Photos

Capturing beautiful memories during important milestones is priceless. The process can be a little tricky because you want to balance looking like yourself but at the same time stepping it up a level to enhance the images to where you feel confident and lovely too . As a wardrobe stylist, my creative process works quickly as I meet my clients to talk about the message they want to give across, the themes, and the budget for their session.

I had the wonderful opportunity to work with mother and daughter Stephanie and Calli. Photographer Missy Palacol beautifully photographed them with the goal of Stephanie remembering these moments of Calli before she heads off to WSU in the fall. In this photo shoot I wanted to add beautiful colors that complemented their complexion. After viewing photos online from our consultation I knew that I wanted to keep the colors soft and in pink and orange hues. In Seattle, we were prepared to possibly have to take photos indoors, but Missy and I had our back-up plans, which in this case, it did end up raining and all pics had to be indoors.

Below I share the process to styling a family photoshoot.

PHOTO TEAM Photographer: Missy Palacol // Wardrobe Stylist: Tannya Bernadette // Make-up + Hair Sydney Taylor // Mom + Daughter: Stephanie + Calli

Stephanie (Mom) Tie back metallic sweater ZERO DEGREE CELSIUS at Divalani // Yellow flower earrings JCREW // Gold bracelet J CREW // Toothpick jeans J CREW // Slip on sneakers ANNE KLEIN

Calli (Daughter) Druzy leather choker KENDRA SCOTT // Necklace GORJANA // Pink and gray dress ONE HART// Wedges SOFFT

1. Pick a Theme

The theme is chosen based on the season, a moment in time, or any other goal or plan you have for using them. When it’s springtime you’ll want to use brighter colors or pastels, when it’s fall you’ll want darker colors and a lot more layers. In this case, we photographed during April and right now florals are a huge deal. After looking at the photos of Stephanie and Calli I realized that I wanted to go with a more casual, comfortable everyday look that was stylish. The memories should be a little more natural but I also wanted to enhance their jewelry and casual fashion for them to feel special. The have to love the photos enough to share with everyone they know. I added colorful earrings, trendy necklaces and fun shoes to the mix of the soft casual pieces.

Photo above: Mother and daughter wearing colors with that same softness to work together but not match completely.

Sleeveless palm tree tee J CREW // Grey Adriana ankle jeans MAVI at Divalani Style // Block brown heels CARLOS SANTANA // Pom Pom Earrings J CREW

2. Use Layers and/or Texture

It’s nice to have depth and this is a good trick to your personal styling as well! It adds interest and when working with a photographer, they can capture all the details that create a rich look. The trick to layering is mixing textures. For example, if you are choosing a soft cotton tee, you don’t want a cotton cardigan over it, the texture is the same material and won’t have a contrast in the photos. Instead, opt for layering with a jean jacket, leather jacket, or a thicker sweater material. Don’t worry about matching colors exactly because that will create a dull look.

Photo above: The sleeveless tee has sequins and the earrings are fabric pom poms adding rich texture the outfit.

Flowy blue tee RALPH LAUREN DENIM// Green shorts // Druzy necklace KENDRA SCOTT // Long necklace GORJANA at Divalani Style // Wedges SOFFT

3. Careful with the prints

Don’t avoid prints, just be careful with how bright or bold they are. Prints definitely add a nice pop but if they’re too dramatic, it takes away from the whole point of taking the photos, they are about showcasing you not the clothes. Don’t let the prints overwhelm your body. If you are working with a nice print that seems subtle but still feels like too much, add a jacket or cardigan to the look to tone it down. It’s an easy solution.

Photo above: The prints are soft colors, small, not at all overwhelming. They are just right for her complexion and body.

4. Take direction from the photographer

Missy did a wonderful job of prepping for the photoshoot. She knows that the portraits are with everyday people, not models. Her process includes finding poses online that she likes, printing them and having them on hand to replicate. This makes it easy for her to give direction to you as you’re finding the right way to pose. You don’t have to worry about figuring out how to hold your dress, or where to put your hands. After sharing the outfits with the photographer, they’ll know where to place you in locations that fit the theme and colors. It really helps to send photos of the colors or styles of the clothes to the photographer to help them come up with places that would fit the styles perfectly, it’s a team process.


Flowy blue tee RALPH LAUREN DENIM// Green shorts // Druzy necklace KENDRA SCOTT at Divalani Style // Long necklace GORJANA at Divalani Style // Wedges SOFFT

5. Don’t be matchy matchy but coordinate hues and tones

Don’t wear exactly one color head to toe for all your photos. It’s ok to mix a black and a brown, a red and a blue. You don’t want the looks to be expected, you want something in the style or the color to stand out and grab attention.

Photo Above: Light blue, moss green, and light brown go together to create a casual yet eye catching look.

Mother's Day Special (1)


Author: seattlestylist

Tannya is best known for her style expertise and personal shopping skills. She can easily combine textures, styles, and trends to produce an effortlessly pulled together look. Clients appreciate her ability to understand and interpret their creative vision yet stay true to her personal aesthetic.

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