October 18, 2023

What to Wear: Expert Style Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Holiday Photoshoot

Christmas is just around the corner and with it comes the excitement of spending time with loved ones and creating memories that will last a lifetime. One of the most cherished traditions during the holiday season is taking family photos. But let’s face it, figuring out what to wear can be stressful, especially with littles. With help from an experienced family photographer like myself, preparing for your family photos is way easier than you think.

Whether you’re sending out Christmas photo cards or simply getting into the holiday spirit with the kids, check out these tips on how to style the family and make everyone look and feel their very best.

Pick your holiday palette

Choosing a wardrobe colour scheme is a great place to start. If you’ve booked your Christmas mini session in advance, there’s a good chance you already know what the room set-up looks like. You can use this information to your styling advantage. 

Choosing colours and textures that work well with the decor is the best way to elevate the overall quality of your images. Think about tones here, like pastels, neutrals, metallics, or earth tones. Once you’ve picked your colour scheme, you can move on to building that photo-worthy holiday ‘fit. 

Expert tip: Use this handy colour-picking tool to learn which colours work well together… and which colour combos to avoid.

Style the kids first, adults second

Any parent knows how difficult it is to find the perfect outfit for the youngsters, especially when the possibility of them outgrowing it too soon runs high. If you’re going for a specific look (i.e. subtle plaids or fun sequins), finding miniature versions of things might be difficult. This is why I recommend picking their outfits first and building out the rest from there. Shopping at the same store can come in handy too as some brands make matching holiday outfits for the whole family. Once you know what the kids are wearing, you can pull colours from their outfits to style the rest of the bunch.

Expert tip: If you have a baby in the group, I always suggest snagging outfits in their current size and the size up so you’re prepared for a sudden growth spurt. Don’t forget to hang onto the receipt so you can return any unworn items.

Coordinate with the whole family

Taking holiday photos doesn’t mean the whole family has to wear matching striped jammies! Rather than dressing the same, borrow patterns and textured elements from one outfit and incorporate them into the others. A great way to do this is by using layering pieces like a vest or sweater, and accessories like a necktie or socks. What’s nice about sticking to a palette is each member of the family can express themselves individually, while still appearing coordinated as a bunch. 

Peep this holiday photo where mom and daughter coordinated outfits by wearing just the right amount of sequined pieces. Mom balanced things out by pairing her sparkly skirt with a neutral wool sweater, creating an effortlessly polished ambience. And check out how well the sequins tie into the ornaments behind them.

Accessorize to complete the look

Take your holiday ensemble from elevated to sophisticated by using accessories to tie everything together. In addition to doing your hair and make-up, consider adding a statement piece like bold earrings–for men, a bow tie–that complements the entire outfit and adds personality. Remember, taking holiday pictures is a special occasion, so it’s a great time to wear something you might not wear on an average day. Plus, it helps transform your formal attire into a memorable holiday look.

Some great options for men and boys are a pocket square, a necktie or bow tie, fun socks, a watch, and–depending on how formal you’d like to get–cuff links. Women and girls can lean on jewellery, hairpieces, bright lipstick, brooches or dressy shoes.

Pin some poses before the shoot

Before any scheduled shoot, I always recommend that my clients browse Pinterest for some family-friendly pose inspiration. Rather than worrying about this in the craziness of photo day, list the shots you want ahead of time. When you arrive, show your photographer any ideas you have. Maybe you want a mixture of posed and candids of the kids, mom and daughter, father and son, or other specific combinations. This is especially helpful during Christmas minis because you won’t have a whole lot of time to think about this on the spot. And take one from Santa: before you head out, check that list twice to make sure you got what you wanted.

Live in the moment

We can all agree that the most memorable photos are the ones that capture genuine emotions and expressions. Having fun is the key to looking confident in front of the lens… and also the best way to get great shots of children. So take a deep breath, relax, and let the kids be kids. Enjoying the magical moment with family will even help your photographer snag those candids!

Ready, set, sleigh!

The long-anticipated holiday season will be here before you know it. Avoid the stress this year and arm yourself with these helpful styling tips to get the most out of your festive photoshoot. Following these steps will improve the quality of your pictures and make your day so much more enjoyable, so you can capture those special moments you won’t want to forget.

Haven’t booked your Christmas mini photo session yet? Check out my holiday availability here… but don’t wait too long, these spots go fast!

I wish you and your family a wonderful holiday season.

Santa’s favourite photographer,

Alex

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