HER: Dress: c/o Aventura (last season, long sleeve ribbed dress – use code MOMMYINFLATS for 20% off your first purchase); Vest: c/o Aventura; Boots: c/o Jambu (use code MOMMY18 for 15% off your entire purchase)

HIM: Flannel Shirt: c/o Ecoths; Boots: c/o Jambu (code MOMMY18 for 15% off the entire site)

Thank you to Jambu for sending my whole family shoes to feature in our photos. You can shop MEN, WOMEN, and CHILDREN. Use code MOMMY18 for 15% off your entire purchase.

Will the person who loves to take family photos please stand up? crickets no one? There must be someone who really enjoys taking family photos but it is not me…or my children. Or probably my husband but he’s a good sport anyway. Despite it all, I like picking outfits for family photos. Heck, I love dressing my family period and I do most of the shopping in our house for everyone (yes, even my grown man of a husband).

What that means is generally, we all match pretty well. So, even spur of the moment pictures of the kids and family turn out okay (most of the time anyway). I do let the kiddos get character tees and whacky colored dresses when they are around to choose. Gotta occasionally draw the line though: no, I’m not going to buy you that $25 shirt with neon cat faces on it or that poop emoji sequin changing purse- seriously why is the poop emoji even a thing? So, how do I do it?

By keeping a few basic rules in mind when it comes to colors and styles, I keep the whole family’s closets in check. And you can too, these tips can be used to create a palette for family photos or to curate capsule wardrobes for everyone from the baby up to mommy and daddy.

Photo by Memories by MP

  • 1. Colors. Solids should always be the base. Stay away from really bright colors unless you’re all wearing them. For example, if one of you is wearing neon, everyone must wear neon or that one person will stick out like a sore thumb (though I’m not sure I really recommend neon for family photos- just saying;). One year, I put everyone in bold colors. This worked because we all wore something bright. You can also mix neutral basics with bright tops or pants (I wouldn’t suggest you do both though;). This year, I stuck to neutral tones for everyone and let their Jambu shoes be one pop of color.
  • 2. Patterns. Keep them subtle but consistent. A bold pattern can be pretty but can be tough to match in family pictures with large crowds. It’s about balance. If you have one big pattern you love, make sure to balance it out with at least one more and try not to place them side by side (this is too complicated for me so I try to just keep them all subtle and mixable- in last year’s Christmas photo (above), I used pink and red pops of color to brighten up the palette without being distracting). Stripes, polka dots, plaids, and paisley are all safe patterns. This year, I chose to put the boys in sweet animal shirts. Because they were solid colors, I didn’t feel like the patterns stood out from the rest of the outfits too much.
  • Photo by Thera VanDerveer Photography

  • 3. Matching. Don’t do it. My number one pet peeve is when everyone wears the same colors. Have you ever looked at a company photo where everyone wears the same logo tee? It looks like one giant blob with a million heads. Pick items that accentuate but don’t match. I actually bought both my girls the tutu dress in different colors but was happy when my older girl chose to wear the denim. Matching is cute for littles but when you’re doing pictures, it can be distracting or (in the case of colors) make you blend into each other.
  • Kids shoes: c/o Jambu Footwear: Sora, Roza, Talon; Talon Toddler

  • 4. Accessories. Shoes, hair bows, ties can all express individuality. If you’ve created cohesion with the outfits themselves, the accessories can be a touch of personality. For example, my little boys wore their bright blue running shoes c/o Jambu Footwear. My sweet little girl wanted to wear a tiara and my biggest girl matched her socks to her socks to her shoes and her shoes to her bow. I had some fun with a knee high style (I have never seen this style duck boot and I love it- perfect for all the fall farm adventures coming my way). My husband went a little sporty with his mud friendly lace up boots. Jambu outfitted the whole family in fall ready shoes and inspired our entire shoot. Thank you, Jambu for giving me the nudge I needed to get family photos done and done. Dare I say we even had fun?
  • Boots: c/o Western Chief and the Switch Witch last year

  • 5. Style. Shop for clothes that fit your family (and start in your own closets). My girls love dresses and my boys, jeans. I have made the mistake before of buying pieces for specific events and guess what? I regret it. This is everything from dressy shoes (these just aren’t what my kiddos wear) to that random wooly sweater that’s worn once over the holidays and then forgotten at the bottom of a drawer until it’s long outgrown. Whether you’re shopping for pictures or wardrobe, keep your lifestyle in mind. Choose things you will wear long after the event. That’s why my kiddos are all wearing good, outdoor friendly, rubber soled shoes instead of shiny patent leather. I didn’t have to worry about them getting into the dirt or climbing rocks and these will see us through hikes, puddles, and romps through the woods.
  • Phew, that was a lot in one post. I hope it helps you learn from my family shopping fashion faux pas and get functional pieces that your family can love after the photographer is long gone.


    1. Oh my goodness… such good tips! These are exactly what I needed for some Christmas pictures of our own. Thanks!

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