What to wear for family photos

I will be the first to admit that planning coordinating outfits for family photos is not for the faint of heart. But I do know that putting in a little extra effort to make sure you all look great will go a long way in how your final photos turn out, and ensure that you love your photos for many years to come! Here are some of my best tips!

1) Dress Mom First

Choose what Mom will wear first (or if two moms — choose your outfits together first). Moms are most critical of how they look and what they wear, so I recommend carefully selecting an outfit that you feel comfortable in and that you can coordinate everyone else’s outfits around. I assure you I do this with my own family’s photos! Mama knows what Mama likes! ;)


2) Coordinate but (please) don’t match!

The days of everyone in crisp white shirts/black tees and khakis/jeans are mostly gone (thankful to see that trend go bye-bye!). My best advice is to choose a 2-3 color scheme that will help everyone find something that they already own to work within the color scheme. I even coordinated my husband’s extended family (50+ people) in this exact way and it worked like a charm! Everyone was instructed to wear anything in a green/blue/grey color scheme, with whatever neutral bottoms they chose. Easy peasy!


3) Accessorize & layer.

This is especially good for fall photos because the cooler temps allow us to add things like jackets, scarves, sweater layers, cardigans, etc. and still look authentic. Everyone wearing too much navy? Add a pop of an accent color with your scarf. Daughter’s shirt is too plain? Add in a coordinating vest. Texture can add an extra layer of dimension too — sweaters, denim, fringe, lace, ruffles, leather, etc in small doses are great ways to add a bit of texture to a plain outfit. Jewelry and cute shoes can also add points of interest to your photos. It’s all in the details!

4) Don’t forget about the shoes!

I’m guilty of forgetting about the shoes on occasion, but luckily we can usually find something classy and netural enough to still look nice and work with the color scheme. The fall season also allows for boots and chunkier shoes, or canvas shoes like Toms or Converse can work too. Avoid athletic shoes and anything with non-coordinating neon colors that will stick out like a sore thumb.

5) Lay it all out.

I find it helpful to lay everything out (including the shoes!) on a bed while I’m planning out the outfits. That way I can see it all together and if it looks something is too matchy-matchy or missing, I can grab something to fix it before it’s time to do the session.

There you have it! Plan ahead and go through these steps, and I promise you will love your photos more than if you threw something together or didn’t go in with a game plan. As always, you can shoot me a message if you’re having trouble deciding on your outfits or aren’t sure if outfits go together. I’m here to help and want your session to be a success also!

Friend headshots | kDarling Photography

This dear friend of mine recently had a birthday, and I didn’t have a chance to get her a gift. BUT I am remedying that tonight when we meet for our quarterly Central Illinois Professional Photographers meeting in Monticello. I have her gift ready to go and we’re riding together and will be eating Jimmy John’s once we get there! I know, so random. LOL

Seriously though, Kristin is one of the kindest people you will ever meet. She usually has some purple in her hair, she’s always just a text away, and she is a great listener and confidante. We, along with our friend Emily, call ourselves the Three Amigos, and we try to meet for lunch at least once a month to decompress and talk shop. We recently swapped sessions with each other and I photographed her daughter Mackenzie, and Kristin photographed my daughter Hadley. And then in July, Kristin is going to photograph my family at the fair with all the fun neon lights — can’t wait!

I hope 2019 is your best year yet, and I look forward to many more lunches (or brunches?), conferences, road trips, and texts! See you tonight, friend!! <3 By the way, what’s your Jimmy John’s order??? :D

Mary Beth + Aaron | Lifestyle session with fur babies

I did a lifestyle session this week that was a little outside of the box from what I normally do. Mary Beth her boyfriend Aaron have 4 cats that live with them, and one of them sadly is getting up there in years and not in the best health. She wanted to capture the whole family together this holiday season. The cats’ personalities were all over the place which was hilarious to witness. One of them stayed far away unless there were treats around, one of them liked to get his face right up in my lens, and the other two were pretty chill. I think we did exactly one photo where the human subjects were looking at the camera, and that’s exactly what I was hoping for. I love how these turned out! Fur babies are always welcome at my sessions! <3