grandmother with daughters and grandkids smiling in field

May 10, 2021

Styling your extended family photography session

Families are starting to get together and what is a better way to capture your gathering than an extended family photography session. As family members start to travel to the Northern Virginia and DC area you might find yourself with a reason to have some photos taken.

The most common question I get about extended family sessions is: what do we wear? And it’s a valid question! When there are a lot of people in the frame it makes sense that clothing can feel like a daunting task. Here are 4 tips for styling your extended family session.

grandparents with their kids and grandkids in a field at sunset family photography

4 styling tips

  1. Choose 3-4 colors.
    When you have more than 8 people involved in a session, it’s almost impossible to limit yourselves to less than 3 colors. On the contrary, you don’t want to have too many colors and not look cohesive at all. There are endless options for combinations of colors. Considering the season and the location is a great place to start.
  2. Now find shades of those colors.
    Once you have your base colors, then finding shades of those colors will really start to pull things together. The family highlighted in this blog chose blues, yellows, and white for their late-summer session. Also, using yellow lightly as it pops the most was the key to the success of yellow here. Think about including the accent color in small places like hair bows, scarves, or in a pattern.
  3. Speaking of pattern – keep it at a minimum.
    In this family of 10, only two people have patterns on and it works great! Patterns draw attention and if everyone has a pattern or printed shirt then it detracts from your lovely faces.
  4. A neutral should be one of your colors.
    Does grandma need a cardigan? Make it a neutral. Can’t find the right pants for your kid? Make it a neutral. If you can, lay everything out together and take a picture. Is there too much of one color? Too little of another color? If you need to even things out then adding a neutral color like taupe, cream, gray, or white will bring it all together nicely.
girl with white shirt in front of a field of yellow flowers
group of kids smiling at an extended family session in northern virginia
toddler girl playing nervously with her hands at an extended family session
extended family together in an outdoor location at sunset in northern virginia
grandparents smiling with two grandkids at outdoor photography session

Bonus tip!

I find Old Navy has some great basics for kids and parents. H&M has simple, solid pieces and some lovely dresses. For some great maternity pieces check out PinkBlush. Read my other blog and discover one of my favorite parts about extended family sessions.