So it’s Fall, the temperature doesn’t agree with me but the leaves on the ground are a sure sign and that means you’ve got to get your ducks in a row for your holiday card photo shoot.
I love getting creating a concept and getting all the looks together for the whole family... after all it is the one day of the year everyone has to listen to me and wear exactly what I say! Over the past few years I’ve been asked to by a lot of local client's to help style their family and choose the perfect location BUT unless you want to hand over everyone’s sizes and your AMEX that’s pretty difficult. So this year I’m going to walk you through my top 5 tips to styling your family photo shoot. This will help you easily create a seamless coordinated look. I follow a simple formula that anyone can replicate so get ready here we go!
TIP 1: GET INSPIRED
So this is easy, start with one piece of inspiration and build from there! You can choose an article of clothing or a piece of jewelry or any accessory that you love and that can literally dictate the entire direction of the styling. I grabbed Avy's dress for last year's shoot after I saw it on an end of summer sale rack and thought she would love the colors in it, and bonus the dark background and bright colors are great compliment to her fair skin. So every decision I made about what to wear or where to take the photos was made because of this dress from the bright colors in The Dude's outfit, to the dark blues and denim my husband and I are wearing....even the sunny summery natural location.
The formality of this piece can determine what's appropriate for the location too! So picture this...you like a plaid shirt your husband has, that's a great pattern to work from and you can take your photos in a barn or field. If you like a black and white dress your daughter has maybe the boys in black and white suits in a formal location like your living room or even studio shots. Maybe your little guy has a gorgeous Irish sweater so you can take your photos surrounded by snow or in the fall leaves. Let the inspiration piece do as much work for you as possible!
TIP 2: ACCENT IT
Note as we continue through the tips that each tip leads you to a different family member. I began with Avy's dress and now this tip determines a key piece for The Dude. If you chose one item for each step for a different family member it will help fill in the blanks more effectively.
So most people would choose the easy way out after looking at the dress and pick some blue pants for The Dude. But we don't want matchy matchy....matching is a bad word in this case. Instead choose one of the accent colors or less dominant colors in the inspiration piece. I searched for a pair of bright red or even bright yellow pants to pull from the floral pattern and was ecstatic when I found these intense red pants! Boom! Done.
TIP 3: MIX IT UP
Next it's The Big Guy's turn.
Mixing patterns and textures is the key to looking put together but effortless. Change up the pattern and the use of colors in another article of clothing. So my husband has thousands of button down shirts, I knew I could find something to compliment The Dude's red pants and Avy's dress in less than 60 seconds and this shirt fit the bill. It's a gingham so it's not as organic as the pattern on the dress and the pattern itself is much smaller than the floral. That's a technique interior designers and stylists and fashion designers use all the time. Go simple and mix a stripe with polka dots or go crazy and mix leopard with stripes, or even camouflage with polka dots. As long someone else is wearing a common color from the pattern and you alter the size of the prints you will all looking amazingly stylish! And it looks more carefree...matching sweaters and pants isn't how you would normally dress so why would you for a photo shoot?
Want a monochromatic shoot? Easy enough...mix your textures instead of patterns to create interest. If everyone is wearing white feel free to mix a white lace dress on you with a white satin dress on your daughter and a white tulle skirt on your other daughter. Mixing textures is easy and doesn't have to be reserved for monochromatic shoots either!
TIP 4: GO NEUTRAL
Now for me...use your neutrals and staples in your wardrobe...you don't need to buy everything and it doesn't all have to be colors or textures you find in the inspiration piece! I decided on my favorite dark blue jeans and my standard chambray shirt, both neutrals. Yes, blues are neutral when they are denim or chambray! Neutral doesn't translate to just beige, black and white. Army green or even leopard print can be a neutral because you can literally wear them with any color...that's what defines a neutral.
So now that everyone has something, fill in the blanks...The Big Guy got to wear his jeans and a white t-shirt and a gray sweater on The Dude round out my neutrals.
TIP 5: BE EXTRA
The devil is in the details….in design and in your wardrobe so don't forget to accessorize! All well dressed women know how to do this, it's the icing on the cake and it's the difference between wow and everything else. I love giving Avy a huge statement necklace from my collection but you can add scarves, gloves (and not for the warmth but for the stye) sun glasses, fabulous shoes and any piece of jewelry you want. So the boys wore some brown leather high top sneakers from their closets, Avy got a pair of booties in a matching brown and I pulled out my favorite Shop Bop boots.
And now here me on this...hair and makeup should be extra too. Seriously. It's the last thing that will take your look and make it sing. I went with a red lip to tie some color into my look and Avy got a relaxed wavy look with some loose braids to frame her face...looks natural and not over done but is definitely done. Don't go with your everyday hair but rather elevate it to make it special.
*Disclaimer, my girl Meredith from Meredith Mascola Photography is a wizard with the camera and makes my vision come to life every year….she never bats an eyelash when I tell her my crazy concept and she’s right on board. So all photos in this post are her amazing work and she deserves all the credit to making us look our best every year!
Comment below if you have questions or let me know how your styling went this season!