There's no time like holiday card season to make you realize your most recent family photos don't even include all the members of your family! It took nearly two years for our youngest to appear in her first portraits. I'm not proud, just honest.
Did you miss out on booking a professional photography session for this holiday season? Or do you have one booked but still don't know what you're wearing? Keep reading for my best suggestions for styling your family, colors to consider (and consider avoiding), and how to DIY a holiday card-worthy shot.
But first, I want to share a a color scheme I love for late fall/early winter photos. It would work beautifully against a fall foliage backdrop (if you're still lucky enough to have some color on the trees) or the greens of a pine forest.
cobalt blue + shades of gray + black
Here is a styled look for a family of four using this palette. All of the items are from Old Navy, but many (black shoes, black or gray denim, etc.) are basics you likely already own. Find more cobalt, gray, and black inspiration on the PYB Family Photo Style Pinterest board.
If you follow Project Your Best on Facebook, you may have already seen the recent video where I shared my top three tips for timeless holiday photos, but I wanted to share them here with this family photo styling as an example of those points.
1. Balance colors and prints. My suggestion for achieving overall balance in your family's photo is to lay out everyone's outfit and look for an obvious focal point - because there shouldn't be one. You want the focus to be on you, not your daughter's red shoes, for example. Keep dark and light tones balanced as well. In the example above, the dad's lighter gray jeans are balanced with the mom's light gray vest. Patterns can be tricky, but as in the styling above, it's generally safe to do a larger and smaller scale of the same pattern (the plaids) plus one different print (stripes).
2. Step away from the red and green. If you're taking a family photo strictly for a holiday card I say get as festive as you want. If, however, you want a portrait you can frame and will be a bit more timeless, I suggest avoiding the obvious holiday color schemes. There are lots of colors and patterns that will look appropriate for a holiday card, but won't stick out like a Christmas stocking when it's hanging on your wall in July. In addition to the one shown, I love camel, black and white; navy, tan and white; or burgundy, white and camel. Use the colors of your home decor as inspiration and always try to find a color scheme from your existing wardrobes before buying all new.
3. DIY a photo shoot at a family gathering. If you don't have professional photos booked, you can still capture a card-worthy portrait with just a little extra planning. Lots of families get together for Thanksgiving or attend events in early December where it would be possible to hand a camera (or even just a phone) to a capable adult who can snap a few pictures. You are usually attending these events in at least "nice" everyday attire (i.e. I will ban ripped knees for my boys.) so coordinating a cohesive look requires just a bit more effort. And as in the example above, it doesn't need to be fancy - casual outfits are both more practical and everyone is more comfortable so genuine smiles and moments are more likely to be captured. Use natural light or get outside if possible, snap a few posed portraits and then a bunch of candids for plenty of options.
Need more hands on help with styling your family for upcoming photos? Find our more about how I can help you dress your family here on my Services page.
I'll admit that I haven't even started thinking about my holiday cards, but I will plan my family's outfits for our Thanksgiving festivities in case we can grab a current photo. Otherwise, we'll do a mix of our professional spring photos and candids. Do you already have your holiday cards designed and ordered?