How To REALLY Style Your Family Session: The Palette

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Things you may hear when inquiring about how to style your family session.

  1. Coordinate, but don’t match
  2. No characters or logos
  3. Add texture for visual interest
  4. Accessorize

YES, I one hundred percent agree with these things, but how do you throw it all together to style your family session? That is exactly what I want to address for you in this three-part series of posts. The first post will cover the general styling guide. Second, I will cover more details of styling the mama. In the last post will cover the kiddos and dad.

If you are a busy mama, then getting this input of information may seem overwhelming. That’s why I choose to style all my clients and make the process stress free, so you can focus on being with your family.

I use Canva to create style boards for all my clients.

All though, if you like to oversee styling your session, or you’re a photographer looking to learn to style families, then let’s get started! I will show you the ropes.


I style the mama who is the base for the session. I know the term “base” sounds silly, but I am putting this is painting terms. You can’t have a good color pallet without the anchor color! I first address her wardrobe by three simple questions.

  • How would you define your style?
  • What are the go-to colors for your current wardrobe?
  • Is there anything you just can’t stand to wear or are opposed to?

These questions will help you get an idea of what type of outfits she is comfortable with wearing: dresses, pants, jumpers, etc. This will also help you understand what colors will probably complement her skin tone. In the next post, I will go in more depth on the process of picking out her wardrobe and where to find the best stuff.

Lot’s of color with this family of six but it blends beautifully.


it’s time to style all of the kiddos, which represents the glitter that you apply to the base. This is where things become a little bit trickier. The mamas wardrobe completely determines what the kids will wear.

For example, if mama is in a pattern dress like flowers, then I would put all the children in solids with some different textures throughout. All though, if she is wearing a solid color, then that gives you a little more freedom to put the kids in a mixture of patterns, solids, and textures.

I will elaborate more on this in the third post of this series, but for now, apply these few simple rules. Choose one child to wear a simple pattern (if mom is in a solid color otherwise skip this rule). Have another child wear a solid color from that pattern. Then, if there is a third child have them in a textured outfit with a solid color or a two-piece top and bottom. Continue this method to dress all the children. This takes care of the idea of coordinating but not matching.


Coordinate, but don’t match. Add Texture.

let’s style dad. He adds the contrast to the color pallet. I follow some very simple guides for dad here as well. If the mom is wearing a lighter color, then dad will wear a darker color top. However, if she is wearing dark, then he will wear the lighter color. Then, we move on to the patterns. If mom is wearing a pattern, then dad will wear a solid color, but if she is wearing a solid then I would consider putting dad in a pattern shirt (if no child is wearing a pattern). Following these rules helps create more color depth and makes sure the two adults don’t blend. In the third post I will cover all the details on what are my favorite shirts, pants, and stores to shop at for men.

I hope this was all super helpful to get you started styling your family sessions. Be sure to come back to read the next two posts in this series where I will go into deep detail on where exactly to find the best clothing for the family and what it really means to add texture and accessorize. We have so much to cover, and I can’t wait to dive in with you!

Post 2 of the series – The Mama

Post 3 of the series – coming soon

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  1. Candace says:

    Love this ! Thank you! Can’t wait for parts 2 and 3

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I had no idea how to use it but I became obsessed with the art of figuring it out and making stills come to life. The colors, the moments, and the tiny details spoke to me and made me realize I was in it for the long haul. Four Months later...

Hi, I'm Kela.
The mother, spouse, Photographer, and teacher behind LEARN.

motherhood obsessed, slight perfectionist, nature lover

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