7 Ways to Ruin Your Family Photos in 2018


One thing I hear most from photography clients and friends alike this time of year is “I have no idea what to wear for our family photos!” I struggle myself finding the perfect combinations for my family, and I think we have all seen what a bad outfit can do to a family photo. However, with my 10+ years of family photography experience, I figured why not spread some my wisdom. It's the busy family photography season, after all! 1. Patterns! Ugh, patterns …These can literally ruin some pictures so when in doubt just don’t do it! Stick with solid colors unless you have a color scheme and you are the only one in your family wearing a pattern. If you do want to wear a pattern, make sure your family is wearing solid colors WITH colors pulled from your top. Also, when wearing plaids make sure they match perfectly OR only one person is wearing plaid.

2. Too "matchy matchy" can definitely be a BAD thing … Depending on the backdrop or setting of your photos having the same colors on everyone can look strange. So make sure if you are going with the matching look that your venue is not busy. This works best in a park with open fields. Another tip for those who want everyone to match is to make sure the colors are the same, BUT let everyone wear a different top or dress, etc., that best fits their body and personality.

3. Not matching enough, just as bad …Okay, so yeah I'm contradicting myself a little bit BUT there is such a thing as not matching enough. Make sure you are all in the same color family and don’t have contrasting patterns or styles. If Mamma wants to be glitz and glam, make sure Daddy does not throw on jeans and white tee. You get the gist.

4. White wearers beware …So, lots of families like to wear white and yes, it can look good. BUT if you don’t have an experienced photographer it can go very wrong. White tends to get overblown and can absorb the natural colors around it, and sometimes this makes editing the right skin tones in a group photo very difficult.

5. DON'T forget to groom …This one seems self-explanatory but as a mom, sometimes things like having our nails painted or our hair trimmed can be hard to get done in time. Try your best to be camera ready when you arrive with hair, makeup and nails done the way you want to remember them forever. Make sure to bring a brush and hairspray with you, and some touchup makeup and lip-gloss to use throughout the shoot. Try to touch up as you move from spot to spot. Don’t be afraid to ask the photographer how your hair looks. Sometimes we get so caught up in getting the job done we need a reminder to make sure our clients are looking their best.

6. NO wrinkly shirts! ...Things like half-tucked-in or wrinkled shirts can ruin a good image, so consider all that when pick out your outfits. If you know the material wrinkles quickly pick something else to wear. Photoshop can fix a wrinkle or two, but if you show up a hot mess there is not much we can do for you.

7. Don't forget to consider your location …If you are shooting at a beach or in a city center, your wardrobe should reflect the setting. Don’t show up downtown with a beach vibe and don’t show up to a cotton field with your best urban threads — although glitz and glam in a corn or cotton field CAN be kind of fun. Also, when taking advantage of the outdoors, keep temperatures in mind — hard to smile when you are outside freezing in 28° weather wearing a sleeveless dress. Moral of the story: make sure you think about where you are taking the photos before deciding what to wear.

I could literally go on for days giving examples of mistakes I have seen over the years, but these seven should be a good start to making sure you are camera ready for your 2018 family photography session.