How To REALLY Style Your Family Session: The Mama

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Here in the LEARN blog we talk and share about all things motherhood and business. I hope to share joy and knowledge for all those just starting out on their photography journey.

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The most important person when styling a session is the mama (sorry dad). I mentioned in the previous post she is the base that brings the whole family together. Which is ultimately a true statement when referring to moms in general. We look to our mamas for comfort, warmth and nourishment. So why wouldn’t we plan a family session around them? I know there are exceptions to this rule. Although, as a photographer the majority of the time I notice that the mother’s are the glue that help hold the family together. 

Let’s start at the basics

Ask Questions

As I mentioned in the last post I ask three 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?

After the mother answers these questions it’s so important to take them all seriously. If she hates dresses or she’s more sporty, then don’t put her in a dress because she will be uncomfortable. Some ideas instead are jumpers, jeans, cute shorts, or even bell bottoms! I love Jens Pirate Booty for some of the cutest jumpers. 

Picking Colors

Now, let’s address colors. Pick a color for her outfit based on her current favorite colors but try to stick with neutrals. If she’s more comfortable in bright colors, (pinks, yellow, lime greens) then try whites, creams, or oatmeal colors. If they love darker more moody colors for their wardrobe then stick with the richer warmer colors like browns, greens, blues, or reds. Another thing to consider is hair color and skin tones. For example; strawberry blondes with pale skin look great in dark blues or greens. Brunettes tend to look better in the warmer colors like burnt orange, deep reds, deep purple or even deep blues. Blondes tend to look best in the whites, creams and bright colors.

Texture And Patterns

Next, add in texture or patterns to add in a little more of that boho feel. If someone loves bright colors then they like to stand out, so they will love a pretty pattern that’s unique. Joyfolie and Baltic Born are my go to shops for beautiful patterns and vibrant dresses. Although, if they prefer the warm richer colors, then consider keeping the patterns to a minimum and just choose an outfit that has some texture. Like the Ruffle Pippa dress pictured to the right from Baltic born

Different Styles

Download the list of shops I love here!

Lastly, I have to mention styles of dresses for different body types. There are styles for everyone but not everyone enjoys wearing certain styles based on what they think will work best for them. That’s why I always ask that last question “is there anything you are opposed to wearing, or just can’t stand.” This gives me an idea of what they prefer, and  if they already know a certain style that won’t work for them. For a pear shape body type, an off the shoulder dresses tends to work to even out the hips. The apple body type needs a good a-line or wrap dress that cuts right below the breasts, and has a low neckline to help elongate the body. The inverted triangle body type could rock a wide flowy skirt and narrow top to really add weight to the hips.


If you want some inspiration then check out this list of my favorite shops, plus the styles on Amazon I’ve found and love. View Now

All in all what is the most important is how the client feels in the wardrobe. If a client is happy and confident then the session will go much smoother. Have you ever put on an uncomfortable pair of jean and by lunch time you feel miserable and uncomfortable and just want to get them off before a button pops? Exactly, so don’t do that to your clients or it will be seen in their images.

To the mamas trying to style your own family for a session…

Don’t wear the uncomfortable shoes and don’t worry if hair is out of place. Make new memories with your family and enjoy the little moments that go by way to fast.

Post 1 of the series- The Palette

Post 3 of the series- Coming Soon

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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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Kela Stout Photography