Tips for Styling Your Holiday Family Photos

Tis the season for holiday cards! It can certainly be stressful to schedule, organize and coordinate, but is usually well worth the struggle. If you’re getting anxious about prepping your holiday card, read on for a few tips on how to score your best photos yet.


Get Comfortable With the Paps

There are a ton of photographers to choose from, though sometimes the best book up far in advance. Try to select someone you and your family will be comfortable with. It’s an added bonus if it is someone you know well because you likely won’t feel weird being yourselves (and won’t feel bad if your kids/spouse aren’t super into it). The best photographers can help turn funk into fun.


Decide What Type of Session You’ll Get

Some photographers offer mini sessions, where they shoot multiple families in one location over the course of a day. You’ll usually get about 20 images in color and black and white and about 15-20 minutes for the photographer to get them. Another route is to just book a session, which gives you the photographers undivided attention for however long the session is. It also allows you to do multiple locations in an area and potentially multiple outfits (usually not more than two outfits though).


Location is Key

You should try to change up your location every year. Try to select a place that is important and meaningful to your family (like a favorite park or walking trail), but that also has a lot of variation in the background so all your pictures won’t look the same. You also want to choose a place that has great light at the time of your photos and won’t be too crowded.

Avoid Matchy-Matchy Styling

The most important component of family photos is styling the outfits. So we’ll put a little more detail here. The most important thing is to confirm with the photographer how much time you’ll get for your session and how many outfit changes they’ll allow.

Long gone are the days of the entire family donning jeans and black shirts or khakis and white sweaters. You definitely want to coordinate your outfits, but absolutely don’t want everyone wearing the same thing. Cohesive coordination is the look you’re going for.

If you want to wear a soft linen cream and grey plaid with dark jeans and grey booties, put your spouse in lighter jeans, brown shoes, a grey pullover with a subtle plaid shirt underneath and your children in grey jeans and shoes with a white button up and a dark denim jacket with blue heather sleeves.

If you want to wear a camel corduroy skirt and grey tights with camel wedges and a navy sweater, put your spouse in dark khaki pants, brown shoes and a cream pullover with a navy t-shirt underneath and put your children in khaki pants and a denim long-sleeved button up.


Making sense? Here’s a quick visual to help.

Say you were going to wear the Eve by Eve’s grey cape with buttons and style is as the picture below with a black sweater, boots and leggings, you could put your child in this festive knit sweater from Carter’s with a grey shirt underneath and dark blue jeans with grey booties and your spouse can wear a white button-up with black slacks, belt and shoes and maybe a grey pea coat and red scarf. You’ll look coordinated and cozy and likely be comfortable posing for pics.

Left to Right: Cape with Buttons,, Farfetch

The most important thing is, to begin with, something you love to wear, not something totally out of your comfort zone. These pictures need to represent you and your family’s style–not someone else’s.

If you have a specific outfit you want your child to wear, get them outfitted first and then plan you and your partner’s outfits to coordinate with that.


How do you style your family photo sessions, share your tips in the comments below!

Abbey Harris

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