Coordinating Your Family For a Photo Shoot!


Oh my goodness, why is it so hard to force a group of people to do exactly what you want, when you want them to?  If you’re trying to organize your family into a photo session, and there’s more than four of you, this is hard. You have your sister who has nothing to wear and is complaining about it, your mom who thinks everything makes her look old, and your dad who owns three pairs of khaki pants….only.

Well, here’s what I (Jennyp!) did recently, for our HUGE family shoot with Kim Bee (there were 13 of us!) and as you will see, our pictures turned out beautifully!

There we are, the whole gang!

#1 | Pick a color theme, not a color

You don’t want to match, matching is super lame (sorry, but it is)! You also don’t want to look like the circus coming to town, so what you do is pick a color theme. Beach colors, primary colors, pastels, earth tones—these are color groupings that gives some wiggle room, but keeps the group looking close in genre. You don’t want to say, “Wear anything!” and then see your mom in an orange dress next to your sister in her favorite red sweater next to your niece in her hot pink jacket.  Yikes!  I told my family to wear earth tones focusing on browns and nay blues, and then, to mix it up, I said accent color of pink.

Insider Note:  If everyone could work in the accent color somewhere, shoes/tie/hair bow/etc, it would put a splash in there that is cohesive.  Make sense?

#2 | Remind them to Layer

Layers look so good on film!  One shirt + one skirt is pretty boring.  One shirt + one scarf + one cardigan + jeans + boots= gorgeous! You want people to have some dimension in your pictures, because this makes the entire thing more appealing to the eye, and lets the camera pick up a lot of different aspects to the whole shot. It also adds some quirk if your layers are fun!  Dad in a sweater vest, niece in funky tights, sister in layered tank tops?  So good, so original, so cute!

#3 | Don’t be too picky and bossy

You’re not the only person in this picture.  Yes, you don’t love your brother’s dirty Chuck Taylors and yes, your sister’s accent color is about three shades off, but those things will not ruin a picture, not at all.  If your photographer is worth their price, then the clothes just add to the amazing quality of the pictures, they don’t make or break them. Lighten up, let everyone show off who they are, and hopefully at least three of you followed the directions.  So…you intermingle those three people and hope for the best! 🙂

Kimberly Jarman Studios is a team of creative photographers and thinkers specializing in family portraits, weddings, and photography workshops. Visit the blog for recent work and updates.