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Mommy Fashion

How to Style the Perfect Family Photo

Our family portrait in St. Michaels, Maryland!

(Photo by Rachel Ruhe – email me for contact information!)


There are very few fashion questions I dread, but “How should my family dress for a family portrait?” is one of them. I think I’m just used to working with people on such a personally tailored basis, that I’m reticent to give general answers to important fashion queries.

Of course, when it came time for my own family pictures, everyone was looking to me for exacting directions. And I was too busy to give them! As an added complication, more than half of the family members in the picture have cool-toned skin and blue eyes, and the rest have olive skin and hazel eyes. The final answer? Everyone should just wear navy.

As you can see, it all worked out! This experience did finally convince me to write a “how-to” blog on dressing for family pictures. Keep reading for everything you need to know to plan your own family photos!


Consider your background (Beach? Backyard? Back porch like us?). You’ll want to choose clothing that complements (or at least doesn’t clash) with the photo shoot location. Also keep in mind the place in your home where you plan to display your photos (Above the fireplace? In the master bedroom? In the front hall?) and select a photo shoot location and clothing that will coordinate with the décor in that space.



Avoid overly trendy silhouettes. Instead, pick out classic looks so your photos don’t feel dated after a few years. Don’t feel the need to match perfectly. Try dressing everyone in different shades of one color or tossing in a bold pattern. You’ll notice that my mother-in-law is dressed in a beautiful blue-grey and Michael (a.k.a Mr. Real Life Style) is wearing stars! Avoid any TV/movie characters. Regardless of what your 3 year-old thinks, Moana doesn’t need to make an appearance in your family portrait.


Tips & Tricks

Don’t be afraid of accessories: they can help create cohesion (like how James’s glasses tie his grandma’s top into the picture). If you’re stuck on where to begin, try picking one fun piece around which to plan the rest of the outfits (like Mr. Real Life Style’s star-print shirt).

And, most importantly, have fun with it! When you look at these photos through the years, you’ll want to fondly remember that time in your life.

Happy Styling!

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Lani Inlander is a personal stylist who has been working with clients who want to feel their best and look put-together every day for over 15 years. You can find her in the Washington, D.C. and New York metropolitan areas. Are you looking for professional training to be a personal stylist? Click here to learn how you can train with Lani at The Stylist Studio

You can find Lani Inlander and Real Life Style on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

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