What to Wear to Your Family Photo Shoot: 8 Tips

When you invest in a family photo shoot, you want beautiful photos. Your photographer will help you pick a beautiful setting that optimizes the season, lighting, and sets the scene. You are responsible for the other big part of the aesthetics—wardrobe! The right combination of outfits can make or break a photo shoot. But have no fear—a few simple tips can help you to style your whole family for the wow-worthy photos you crave. 

Here are some basic tips in preparing your outfits. 

1. Be yourself!! Everyone needs to be comfortable, or it will show in the photos. While I love when a family gets dressed up, if that’s not your family, go for a more casual look. Aim for the best possible version of your own style. 

2. Coordinate, don't match. “Matchy matchy” became a phrase because matching is out. Gone are the days of the whole family in white t-shirts and jeans. Instead, aim for a variety of complimentary colors and patterns. 

3. Don’t go too extreme. Patterns and intentional splashes of color are good, but steer away from anything that is distracting. As a rule, stay away from graphics, florescent colors and anything too bright. 

4. Choose clothing that fits. While I understand maximizing the value of your clothing, your photo shoot wardrobe isn’t the place for this. Don’t buy a dress for Jane hoping she’ll get a few years use out of it, but she swims in it for the photo shoot. Pick the dress that fits now. 


5. Mom, this is your time to shine! Moms are often the ones with the cameras and not in photos as much as the rest of the family—but not at this photo session. I love when a mom is in a dress (if she likes dresses) or an outfit she feels great in! Start with mom’s outfit and build the family style around that. 


6. Dress in layers. Layers and accessories add interest and color opportunity, but also allow for removing clothing if it gets warm or for variety within the same shoot. Think scarfs, hats, vests, cardigans, tights, headbands, blazers, jackets...


7. Attention to detail. Think of the whole outfit, head-to-toe. A great outfit with ratty shoes won't look as good. Match shoes with necklaces with headbands, etc. These items can add a pop of color too!


8. Consider the setting. If you’re doing a shoot in the late summer and there will be a ton of green at your location, leave green out of your wardrobe. If it’s fall, make sure you coordinate with the tones of fall. Ask your photographer for what colors she likes best for where you’ll be. 


Follow these 8 tips, and your wardrobe is sure to be on point!

Interested in booking your photo shoot in the Chicago area? Contact Liz Binder Photography.

Now Booking Fall Mini Sessions | Wheaton Family Photographer

Fall has always been my favorite time of year. The cozy sweaters, the beautiful colors, the crisp fresh air (and open windows!), the pumpkin spice latte’s (or PSL’s, so delicious they have their own acronym)… it all makes me the happiest girl in the world! Fall is also the time of year when many families decide they want to have their family photos taken. I want to be able to serve as many families as I can which is why I decided to host mini sessions this fall.

What’s the skinny on the minis? They are a quick, easy and fun photo session perfect for families (up to 6 people), couples and even seniors who aren’t interested in a full senior session. They are also great if you just want a few great photos of your children. Sessions are 20 minutes long and include 10-15 fully edited images + an online gallery where you can easily download, share and print all of the high resolution files. The cost is $150 and a $50 deposit is required to book your spot.

Fall mini sessions will take place on Saturday, October 13 and Sunday, October 14 in the late afternoon/early evening. They will be held at one of my very favorite locations in Warrenville. There are a limited number of spots available, so be sure to contact me soon if you want to schedule yours. Click here to book your session (they will be filled on a first come, first served basis). And of course, if you want the full experience, I am also booking regular sessions. You can find out more about my full sessions here.

Preparing your kids for your family photo session | Chicago Western Suburbs Photographer

Planning your family photos is hard... I get it. First you spend time finding the right photographer that fits your families style, you have to coordinate a day and time that works for everyone, pick the perfect location and then you have decide on what everyone is going to wear! It's a lot to think about. But possibly one of the most important parts to planning your families photo session is often overlooked... prepping the kids. You can't underestimate the importance of mentally getting your kids ready for your session. I often have kids asking me to come home with them after our family sessions because we've had so much fun... and we're able to have fun because the kids knew what to expect going into the session. Hopefully these tips will help you and your kids get ready for a fun, relaxing photo session experience.


1. Tell your kids what will happen. The days leading up to the session tell them that a friend is going to be taking your family photos. Tell them how important the photos are to you. If kids know how happy you will be if they cooperate, there is a good chance they will behave better. Tell them that we will pose for some photos and also play and have fun. You can tell them that it will be pretty quick. My shoots are usually 45 minutes to an hour and I get plenty of photos in that time.


2. Don't stress. Kids will be kids. Life is messy and beautiful at the same time and my goal is to capture everything for you. Let go of perfection... if you are relaxed and ready to have fun, your kids will relax right with you. They can sense when something is wrong and they feed off of your energy. So don't expect too much out of your kids and just let them be them. I want to show your children just as they are and whatever that is is perfect. You will likely be sensitive to all of their little misbehaviors, but trust me, it doesn't phase me one bit. I have three small kids all with very different personalities and my favorite photos of them are when they aren't even looking at the camera. I want to capture their personalities and that happens when they are just being themselves.  They’re little, and I know that some days don’t always go as planned. I’ve seen it all and will make sure to get you great photos, regardless of their moods. My goal is to make this as fun and stress-free as it possibly can be for you and your family!

3. Don't expect your kids to smile and look at the camera. This isn't natural for most kids. I will never force them to smile. My goal is to capture genuine emotions and show you what your family is like in this time of your lives. You want to look back on the photos from a session and feel your families emotions and dynamic. If you are engaged as a family and loving on each other, your eyes will be on your family members and your smile with be natural. These are the photographs that you will cherish most because they depict your family connection and your love. Resist the urge to say things like “Don’t smile like that, give me a real smile”.  The best way to get a ‘real smile’ is to actually make your child laugh or smile. So instead of telling them how they should look I focus on being silly and eliciting genuine emotions from them. If a child is really nervous around the camera, I will capture them exploring, being themselves and sneak in some portraits along the way. 


4. Make sure that they are fed and rested. If your session starts at 7PM but your toddler usually goes to bed at 7, try putting them down for a later nap so they are more ready to go. If they don't nap, keep your day low key and make the photo session the big event for the day. That way they will be well rested and ready to go. Don't pack your day full of events and then expect them to be happy and cheerful for your evening session. Give them dinner or a big snack before so they aren't hungry, because really, who's happy when they are hungry? Not me! 

5. Show them a picture of me so that I don't feel like a stranger when they meet me at your session. Tell them I'm your friend. You can go to my instagram feed and show them pictures of my kids so that they know I'm just a mom and I'll be more relatable to them. 

6. Give yourself and your family plenty of time to get ready. Moms are often rushing around before a photo shoot, making sure that their family is dressed and ready. Leave plenty of time for showers, baths, dressing, and grooming. When a family shows up rushed and disorganized, it sets the tone for a rushed and disorganized session. Give yourself extra time so that you are ready before it’s time to head out that door.

7. Offer a little reward for being good at the session. A lot of families discuss and pick something fun in advance as a treat after the session if they’re good listeners, like an ice cream cone or bowling date, for example.

My sessions are laid back and stress-free. If your kids know what to expect, they are so much more likely to cooperate. At the end of the day, the location you choose and the outfits you select won’t matter nearly as much as the memories you make together. I want you to look back at your session fondly. I want you to laugh a lot and feel something when you get your gallery. So just relax, have fun and I'll take care of the rest!