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  • Writer's pictureJessica Sharp

My top 5 style tips for perfect family photos, every time.

Is a family photo shoot on your list of things to do post lockdown? If so read on for

my top 5 style tips that answer the question I get asked most often: “ What on

earth should we wear?”

The world is a strange place at the moment. Maybe like me you’re spending your

time thinking about all the wonderful socially close things you’ll do once the

lockdown ends. Making new memories and capturing special moments seems to be

high up on everyone’s list. As a photographer I’m extremely lucky to witness the joy

of families being together. Capturing these unique moments as my day job is

something I really miss now more than ever and I long to be back behind the


Maybe having a family photo shoot is on your list of things to do post lockdown. If

so, read on for my top 5 style tips that answer the question I get asked most often:

“What on earth should we wear?”

Live colourfully

Photo shoots are very individual. Like a fingerprint, each family has unique elements

and characters within it that I try to portray in the photos I take.

There are, however some simple things that are essential to making a photo shoot

really shine. To get beautiful timeless photos, it is important that you choose the

right clothing. Whilst the thought of a crisp white linen shirt in hazy sunlight might

seem a stretch at this moment of lockdown and I’ll admit I’m rocking the joggers and

t-shirt look most days, preparation really is key in making those frame worthy shots.

The perfect colours DO help to produce beautiful final results, just Google bad family portraits to see why. When it’s time to tell your family story you really want to get it


Tip 1. Colours – Coordinate don’t match

Coco Chanel famously said, “The best colour in the whole world is the one that looks

good on you”. She had a point.

Whilst it might seem OTT, using complementary colours will make sure we see the

people first in photos and the clothes second. This does not mean that everyone

wears the same outfit or that everyone wears the same colour. The goal is to

coordinate not match. Pinterest was born to give you inspiration for your colour

palette. Don’t have Pinterest? Pay attention to displays and collections in shops and

online. To make photos pop, choose outfits that flow and coordinate. Decide on a

colour scheme, pick two or three colours that work together, select one as your

foundation and use the others as accents. Colour schemes should typically have one

or two bright variants with neutral undertones. Select different types of clothing or

shades from the same palette to create the flow. If you’re still not sure, keep


Tip 2. Location & Seasons

Locations and season can help with your colour choice selection. Spring speaks of

chalky pastels, light cornflower blues, warm greens and soft yellows. Summer calls

for blushing pinks, mints and cool aqua. Autumn welcomes deep browns, rusty

orange, ochre or mustard whereas winter complements hues of teal with creams

and rich mulberry. The seasons give us wonderful colour palettes to work from and

have fun with.

Thinking of your location can also help dictate your colour choice. A simple white

dress for the beach or lavender field would work beautifully. A woodland location

with deep browns and lush greens would contrast well with Navy or deep red. If your home décor is dove grey and your photo-shoot is at home, think of colours that complement the scheme around you. Your surroundings can be your palette inspiration.

Tip 3. Textures, Layers & Accessories oh my!

Say yes to layers and accessories. They are a fabulous way to add variety to your

colour palette and bring character to the shot so do add that statement necklace or

scarf. With kids you wont get the chance for multiple outfit changes so layers are a

wonderful way to instantly add variety to your photos whilst fitting in as many shots

as possible (especially whilst they are cooperating). Be mindful of accessories for

children however, as they often don’t want to wear them. Remember the important

part is not the outfit but capturing the moments so if you must bring that hat for the

toddler, do, but do also be prepared to go with the flow. Lace is beautiful for little

girls and knit is simply wonderful to photograph. So think about texture when

selecting your outfits as it really can add another dimension and depth to your


Tip 4. Avoid Characters

What they’re into now they’re unlikely to be into later. It’ll distract from faces and

will date your photos to the era that Paw Patrol ruled your household. Avoid slogans

on t-shirts and make sure whatever you’re wearing is a good fit. Comfort is always


Tip 5. Don’t fake it!

It can be hard enough dressing oneself let alone making a small brood coordinate

and look fashionable whilst taking into account the weather, the location and if the

outfit will show up grass stains!

So make the kids comfortable. If they turn up dreading the session before it’s even begun then you’re not going to get the best out of your shoot. All kids behaviour is fine so don’t worry! Coaxing natural gorgeous smiles is what photographers are there to do. Photo shoots are a time to have fun with your family, so make sure everyone is well rested and well fed. The sneaky bag of non-staining snacks is always a good idea too. Outfits that fit your family style are the ones best adhered to. Whilst Instagram may be full of photos that seem cute or wistful, if they’re going to cause a battle to get them on your family before the shoot begins then it’s most probably not the right choice.

My best tip for everyone is to go with the flow. Yes, work out what to wear but

overall enjoy the experience, have fun and I’m confident it’ll result in some fabulous

images that you’ll cherish forever.

Jess x

More information about my Family Lifestyle sessions can be found here:

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