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What to Wear for Family Photos: Classic Navy Edition

What to wear is a question that comes up often with my cilents.  I don’t claim to be a fashionista (unlike my oldest daughter), but after 3 years of seeing what colors work and how they work, I can give you a few pointers that can guide you to create your own wardrobe.

Gone are the days of matching white tops and blue denim.  When you are too matchy-matchy, your photos will look like you’re still living in that era!  For more tips on the basic guidelines for coordinating a family photo shoot wardrobe, go here.

COLOR: Navy (blue)


If you’re looking for classic and timelessness, navy (and blue) is the way to go! What comes to mind is men in their navy uniforms. (Yes, I totally enjoyed googling ‘men in uniform’ for this research LOL.) According to Art Therapy Blog, blue evokes

  • wisdom
  • loyalty
  • truth

It’s safe to say that’s why you probably already have a lot of these pieces in your closet- jeans, a navy sweater, navy shirt, navy shoes.  It’s a safe color that’s easy to match with, and is treated kind of like black, a base color.


You never want to match completely for a family photo shoot.  You always want to have at least 4 colors that you’re playing with.  You can use different shades of navy/blue to vary and differentiate each person.  Lighter base colors like cream, ivory, white, and greys will allow for greater contrast with navy/blue.  Khakis, jeans, black dress pants, leather or camel-colored boots are common pairings for navy.


Adding textures and patterns gives the entire wardrobe a modern feel.  It also gives the eyes more places to go.  You’ll compliment each other while also standing out individually.  Navy is great for fall and winter shoots.  Mixing textures such as cable-knit sweaters, velvet, corduroy, ruffles, and leather shoes will look great for outdoor shoots.


Navy can also seem aloof and cool, so too much navy will be too uniform, which can be boring.  You will also blend into one another, which is why pairing with a lighter color will break this up.

Below I’ve created mood boards for navy as the main color.  Consider adding an element of your own style, whether you’re going for a little bit more of a playful, romantic, funky, bohemian, or dramatic/formal feel.


Adding soft pink and ruffles gives the look a sweet, playful, feel.

But what if mom wants to wear some florals??

Read more …

Fall Family Photos Metro Detroit Troy Parks


It’s always interesting to see what the family chooses as their favorites to be printed and what I love from the collection.  These are some of my favorites from a session in late fall 2017.  The red brick wall mom had spotted and requested photos in front of it.  What a gorgeous contrast!  The kids at this age are not so shy and they had the best smiles for me.  What a smooth shoot it was!


What is Lifestyle Photography?

Are you confused about what lifestyle photography is?  When you are looking for family portraits are you always coming across this term?  What’s the difference between lifestyle photography and other photography? You may not even know you’re searching for lifestyle photography when you come across family photographers.

Lifestyle photography captures mostly unposed and candid moments where the subjects may or may not be looking right at the camera.

Lifestyle photography is journalistic and includes some storytelling.  This is in contrast to classical portraiture where the subject is looking straight at the camera posed a certain way.

Lifestyle photography has increased in popularity and has become the alternative to in-studio photography.  It is casual, informal, and interactive.  Do you remember those school portraits you took every year?  That’s NOT lifestyle photography.

Family lifestyle photography will often be:

  • parents playing with their children
  • kids chasing each other
  • lots of laughter
  • hugs between family members
  • and all the moments in-between!

I call myself a lifestyle photographer because in addition to posing my families during our sessions, I try to capture interactive portraits as well.

There are other lifestyle photographers out that fall on different areas of the spectrum on how journalistic they are.  Lisa Tichane, a lifestyle photographer, is much more documentary than I am.  She doesn’t pose her subjects or guide them on what to wear.

In my sessions I may ask you to play or tickle your kids, throw them up in the air, have you hoist them over your shoulders, ask you to pretend to talk to each other, hug each other, or ask a you to give a child a kiss on the cheek.  This sets up the “unposed” pose for us to capture candid, fun moments!

The shoots can take place indoors or outdoors.  For me, I work mostly outdoors at my preferred locations such as a local park, Belle Isle, Cranbrook grounds, Rochester Municipal Park, and downtown Birmingham (where I have figured out the lighting and backdrop of the location).

How much “lifestyle” do I give you versus posed shots?  I find most of my clients like a mixture of lifestyle shots and posed, classic shots.  Usually it is 60% traditional and 40% lifestyle.  My clients usually prefer various shots of the family members looking straight at the camera, posed nicely, and in different environmental backgrounds.

However, it varies from family to family.  When we begin the pre-consultations through emails, we will customize your shoot to meet your requests.  Email me at if you have any questions!

capturing silly moments
capturing tender moments with a newborn  


planning out moments like this where the kisses are perfectly timed 🙂


Late Fall Family Photos: Classic in Black

Mona the family dog with her cute orange scarf 😉

Fall photos are popular and fun for family photos because of the gorgeous foliage.  There are so many colors to work with!  Since there’s a lot of competition for the eyes, as a photographer I have to be careful the colors don’t take attention away from my focus- the family.

I loved this shoot of a returning family who chose a late fall shoot. They chose black and denim for a casual look, and pulled in color from their accessories.  And this time dad brought in the main color, with a confident and vibrant pumpkin-colored orange to complete their family wardrobe.

Even Mona the dog had a cute orange scarf!

Black works here really well because dark colors works for winter/cold/late fall.  They look cozy!  Being that their shoot last year with me was in the summer, this adds variety to their collection of yearly family photos.

Try doing a shoot in different seasons every year!

Want more style inspirations?  Check out my style mood boards on navy here, and my what to wear basics.



They used a bold orange that works great with the rest of the black and helps dad stand out. Scarves acted as fun accessories. Keep to your own style and make it fun!

Basics of Coordinating Outfits for a Family Photo Shoot

This is part of the style series for “What to Wear For Your Family Photo Shoot.”  Get the basics so you’ll know where to start.

*Remember, you’re creating memories to look back on for years to come. 


  • Wear characters on your clothing (Batman, Mickey Mouse, Nike).
  • Match with the same tops, same bottoms, or same colors.  This will date you back 20 years!
  • Include too many patterns (checkers with florals with plaid).
  • Add too many colors (especially if they don’t work together).
  • Wear inappropriately for the season (tank tops for winter).
  • Overdress like you’re going to a wedding.


  • Rule of thumb is to dress your Sunday best (Denim is allowed though).
  • Add your own flare.
  • Include some patterns in a couple outfits.
  • Choose a dark color as your base.
  • Denim/khaki/corduroys are great for bases.
  • Include about 3-5 colors.
  • Use different textures and fabrics for interest.
  • Make sure your colors are complimentary (artistically and/or metaphorically!) For example- Pink and orange may not be the best combinations for your bright colors.
  • Keep in mind the colors of your home if you want to use photos for your walls.
  • Be mindful of details like jewelry and shoes. (Sneakers may not work for every outfit.)

(A reminder that I am by no means a fashion blogger or stylist!  These are my observations from 3 years of family photography.)

Are you at a loss on how to stylistically coordinate the whole family?? Need some examples or inspiration on what to wear?  No worries, the first question I get asked is what they should wear.  So I created a mood board (a stylistic collage) of possible clothing combinations for a family, using a classic color like navy as their main color.  Check that post out here.