I feel like the question clients most often ask is, "What should we wear for our family photos?" The majority of the time, what they're really asking is, "How can we coordinate without matching?"  One answer is to create a color story for your family photos.

Just a few years ago, this problem would have been solved by buying three of the same polos for the kids and calling it a day.  My youngest actually just brought me one of our family photos from about eight years ago.  We're all wearing black shirts and medium rinse jeans. I kid you not. Today's clean, modern, eye-catching family photos usually begin by deciding on a palette of three to four colors and then selecting outfits for each of your family members within that group.

Classic Combinations

Black and red is one of the color combinations I see the most often and this family did it beautifully.  Grey and ivory round out their palette and I love the way they selected different patterns with a common color story.  Grey tights with black hearts, stripes, a plaid, color "pops" in the bowtie and the earrings. Darling!

A word to the wise: black and red is not for everybody. I think the safer alternative to black is navy.  Navy is a universally awesome color, in my opinion.  My little guy just got some flannel sheets from Target that are a navy, stone, red, and mustard plaid. So digging it. I am not trying to steer everyone away from black, but if you know it's not for you and black makes you look washed-out, try navy.  If you look smoking-hot in black and red, please proceed.

Color Pop

Unless your goal is to create super neutral images, every good color story has a high note- a "pop" of color.  How fly are these red pants?! Love, love, love!

These sisters wore aqua for their fall shoot and it was AMAZING! Totally stood out against the warm, natural setting.

Ah, hot pink pants, for the win!

And can we just take a moment to sigh over the kitty shoes that went with them?!!


Some color stories are intentionally neutral. Perhaps you want to invest in a canvas for your home and like to change up your decor seasonally. Creating a neutral color story can help you achieve that mellow, calming atmosphere.

Neutrals are also a good clothing choice when your pop of color is coming from something else.  I love these guys in their grey, black, and navy with that red truck. 

For the record: leopard is a neutral! ;) How adorable is she?!!


Some of the best stories are surprising and kind of unpredictable! It's always fun to create an extra look with accessories. They are probably are the easiest way to add color and texture to your photo. These socks totally made my day. 


Choosing your palette ahead of time is critical, when you're taking a large family photo.  Once it's decided, you can just email the group and tell them to pull clothes from those three or four color choices.  This family did an incredible job of it!

This is my family photo from last year.  Obviously, we have that burgundy, navy, and chambray thing going, but another way to not be too "matchy" is to add texture.  Chunky sweaters and denim jackets have color variation to them, which adds dimension to your photos and prevents them from looking too flat.


These are some of my basic tips on creating a color story, but if you need some extra visual guidance, check out Pinterest.  When you type in "family photos", you will be presented with more combinations than you ever dreamed.  My final advice? SHOP YOUR CLOSET! Seriously, your family will be more comfortable wearing their tried and true, than their brand-spanking new. Try to limit your purchases to accessories or just a few pieces, if you can help it!  Can't wait to see you on picture day!