Fall Family Photo Styling 101


It’s almost fall. The leaves are about to change to beautiful hues of yellow, red and green. As a photographer, this is my favorite time of year to capture photos. This is also the time of year moms are starting to get focused on family photos for their Christmas cards. As a mom and a photographer I know how stressful trying to get the whole family dressed can be. I’m here to alleviate some of that stress for you! I’ve compiled some of the top tips from family and lifestyle photographers for how to style and dress your family for those family photos.

Fall Family Photos
Fall Family Photos

Photo by Floral Thoughts Photography


The key to a cohesive family photo is to complement one another without copying one another. There’s a time and a place for the matching PJ photoshoot, but these stunning autumnal leaves deserve to be highlighted by complementary fashion.

The Mallin Family, pictured throughout, chose forest green as their complementary color. Each family member shared the same color somewhere in their outfit – just enough to make a cohesive look, but nothing too overt. I love the way this shade of green contrasts against the yellow leaves. To date, it’s one of my favorite colors to incorporate into fall family sessions.

Photo by Floral Thoughts Photography


Patterns can bring a necessary dimension to photos, but you want to be careful about how you pair these patterns. If there are too many patterns it will be too distracting from the true purpose of the photo – you. In this family shoot, the mom wore a beautiful patterned dress with little hints of forest green. The key to the success of this pairing is that the rest of her family wore solids. In general, I suggest only one or two people commit to a pattern while the rest commit to solids that complement the pattern.


Lay out all the outfits together to see how they pair. Make sure the family knows what they’re wearing ahead of time. This will help avoid any unnecessary arguments the day of the shoot. Double checking for tears, stains, etc. Take the article of clothing outside to see it in sunlight. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had kiddos show up in stained clothes the parents didn’t realize were stained until they saw it in the sunlight.


When choosing what to wear, make sure that you’re selecting an outfit that you would actually wear; complementing your natural style. Choosing something that you saw on social media, but wouldn’t normally wear, won’t reflect your authenticity in the photo. We want your photos to be a representation of you and your style, not someone else and their style. That being said, let the kiddos help out. Give them a couple options that you approve and let them narrow down their top choice. If they’re comfortable in what they’re wearing, that will show in the photos. As the saying goes, “If you look good, you feel good” (and I’m taking the liberty of adding this last part) “and if you feel good, your photos will be good.”


When I shared these photos to my Instagram page, I received so many messages from people asking where the boys got their sweaters. I’m grateful that they shared with me the website. You can find their customized knitted sweaters here!

Photo by Floral Thoughts Photography


I’ve pulled together an inspiration board with color swatches that I hope helps inspire your own styling. Use this as a guide to custom fit to your own family’s style!

  • Patterned dress including complementary colors matching the rest of the family
  • Maxi or midi dress
  • Sweater dress with booties
  • Vest over a flowy top with jeans
  • Knitted top with jeans and loafers
  • Quarter zip layered over a flannel shirt
  • Color chinos (like burgundy, forest green)
  • Button up tucked into jeans with loafers
  • Vest over a jean button up


  • Knitted romper with collared undershirt
  • Cardigan over denim shirt
  • Overalls
  • Corduroy skirt with gem-toned tights
  • Knee high socks
  • Sweater dress with booties


  • Crew neck sweater
  • Quarter zip
  • Flannel button up with vest
  • Khaki pants
  • Gem-toned Chinos
Fall Family Photos
Fall Family Photos

As a mom, and a photographer I know how stressful family photos can be. But, as long as you follow these easy styling tips you can take one extra worry off your plate. I’m always here to be a resource to bounce ideas off of. Feel free to comment below, or send me a message on my website. And if you’re looking for other fall fun ideas, check out some other posts on fall fun around Cedar Rapids. This is the best time of year – so let’s enjoy it and keep it stress free!

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