5 Style Tips for a Family Portrait Session

Want to see some style options for a family portrait session? Read below!

It’s been a crazy summer! I can’t believe it’s almost July! Despite the craziness (and a mild case of HFM), we were able to squeeze in a family portrait session last Friday. I was able to throw together outfits for all four of us with just a couple of last minute shopping trips!

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We’ve done a few family portrait sessions the last few years and each time I always freeze when it comes to the theme of styling our family. My goal is to keep us cohesive without being overly matching. Some years I’ve succeeded, some years I didn’t. Regardless of the outcome, these are five tips I try to keep in mind when trying to coordinate outfits for our family portrait sessions.

1.) Comfort is Key

I always try to keep that in mind when choosing outfits for all of us. If you aren’t comfortable and especially if your kids are uncomfortable, chances are you won’t get the photos you want! We’ve always gone the casual, comfort route for our family portraits. Some of my favorite shots are the candid ones that I know wouldn’t have been possible if any of us weren’t comfortable in what we were wearing!

(Navy, Mustard Yellow, Gray Theme – Fall 2013)

fam portrain 2013

2.) Dress Appropriately for the Season

Prior to our littlest, we’ve usually had our portrait session in the late Fall/early Winter because that is A’s birthday time. Being in Michigan, we’ve always been in cold weather clothes. We’ve lucked out mostly with decent weather on picture day, but I always dressed warmer to be on the safer side. The session we just did last Friday was in the heat of humidity, so I dressed us all in light, summer clothes (more details below). Another tip for seasonal dress, is being mindful of choosing seasonally appropriate colors!

(Sweater Theme – Winter 2014)


3.) Save the “Matchy Matchy” for Holidays

I’m not a fan of everyone in the same outfit (re: white tee and jeans, all one color, all flannel, etc.) BUT, for last year’s Christmas photos, I knew I wanted do an overly cheesy Christmas Jammies theme. We took the photo at home on our DSLR, so I didn’t feel like we were wasting an entire session. It worked for our holiday card last year and even our dogs cooperated (though I didn’t dress them up, haha).

  (Christmas Jammies Theme – Winter 2015)imgsvr

4.) Location, Location, Location

In addition to the seasons, I always try to dress us all appropriately for where we are going to be taking the photos. Most of our sessions have been outdoors, so coordinating (comfortable) shoes is always important. Our newborn/family portrait session was at our house last year. I knew it was going to be indoors and wanted to keep our color scheme light and bright, since we wouldn’t have the benefit of being out in natural light.

(Casual / Soft Colors Theme – Summer 2015)


5.) Pick One Piece or One Person’s Outfit as a Starting Point

When my friend Angelina, sent me these fresh tops from her new shop, Little Sloppy, I knew that I had the shirt for A. I picked the white henley top with polka dots for A as a starting point, and picked up last minute pieces for the rest of us. Keeping in mind colors, weather appropriate, and all of the other tips above, I was able to build the rest of our wardrobe off of this one piece.

Head over to Little Sloppy and use code SIMPLY10 for 10% off your order through 7/1!


I grabbed my navy swing dress with the crochet detail at Forever 21! I haven’t shopped there in years, but bought two separate things there last week! This dress for $15 and a Guns’n’Roses Tee for our date night last Thursday! (Yep, we went to a rock concert the night before our family portraits, we wild around here. Not really. Haha.)

family portrait

From Left to Right – Click to Shop: Navy Swing Dress, Peep Toe Sandals, White Henley Bodysuit, Plaid Shorts, Baby Boat Shoes, Little Sloppy White Polka Dot Shirt, Chambray Flat Front Shorts, Buckle Sandals, Gray Polo, Khaki Shorts, White Boat Shoes

I don’t have the pro pics back yet, but we got a few behind the scenes snaps on my iPhone, so I wanted to share some of those pics with you!


IMG_6453 IMG_6454 IMG_6406 IMG_6451  IMG_6452

How do you like to style your family for portraits? Any additional tips?

oatmeal cookies


29 thoughts on “5 Style Tips for a Family Portrait Session

  1. Erin

    These are all great tips! I love coordinated looks for professional photos. Your Christmas photo is oh so adorable, too! I’m going to have to try really, really hard to get my hubby in some Christmas pjs this year! 😉

  2. Rachel

    You are so good at coordinating for pictures! My family did a portrait session together a few years ago and we did not coordinate as well as you guys do, hahah. I love all of your pictures. They all look so nice!

  3. Suzanne

    You have such a gorgeous family! I need to make myself have family pics taken more often. It’s always such a hassle at the time, but I’m always so glad I did it when I get the photos back. Great post, mama 🙂

    1. JeeYoung Post author

      thanks sweet friend! I always let the pics sit in my google drive or dvd… BUT I’m so glad to have them when I actually get around to printing them for decor around the house and making albums for the kids!

  4. Jacie Fella

    Your Christmas jammies picture is the greatest!!! I wish I would have seen this post before we had our portraits done last week. Oh well there is always next time. These are some great tips!


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