11 Tips for Coordinating Outfits for Family Holiday Photos

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There’s nothing quite like taking that picture-perfect snapshot before the holidays! A nice family photo serves so many great purposes, from gracing the front of your holiday cards to making awesome gifts for grandma when printed on mugs and blankets. But getting that just-right pic can be super stressful, especially if you’ve got little ones, pets and busy schedules. Luckily, we’ve got all the best tips to help you conquer holiday photo planning like a pro so you get a coordinated shot you’ll cherish and want to display for a lifetime!

Advance Notice: Plan Early

As you know, designing an outfit theme takes a lot of time and effort, so make sure you strategize and order your clothing well in advance. The last thing you’d want is for that adorable baby girl sweater to sell out or arrive too late to make the big shoot. If you’re aiming to have your pics ready for holiday cards, try to order everything in October or early November and schedule your session shortly after. That gives you enough time to style, return, tweak and order prints before the holidays.

Color Coordinated: Stick to One Color Family

Matching outfits is so last year! This year, try going for coordination rather than matchy-matchy. You can do this by choosing clothes in a general color family, such as earthy neutrals, jewel tones or pastels. You can also coordinate by fabric style. For example, put everybody in a dressy velvet ensemble for a steal-the-show style that isn’t over-the-top matchy. You can also pull in subtle coordination through accessories, such as headbands, bows, ties or jewelry.

Matchy-Matchy: Subtly Match Prints

It’s the same deal here! Rather than dressing everybody in head-to-toe tartan, consider tying your family together with subtle pops of plaid. For example, put mom in a tartan dress, dad in a tartan tie and then have your little one sport a tartan headband! As long as the rest of the outfit has a similar color scheme, it’ll work together beautifully. Luckily, you can find tons of cute little boy clothes and girls’ styles in matching prints.

Unexpected Coordination: Match Shoes

Rather than going for full-on coordination, consider having everybody wear an outfit that represents their personality. This will help you show everybody’s distinct sense of style and vibe. To tie it all together, have everybody sport matching shoes. Pick a casual pair that suits everybody’s personality, such as white sneakers or boat shoes.

On Theme: Make Sure the Background Fits, Too

You’ve spent so much time planning their outfits, but it’s important to make sure the setting fits the theme, too. Create a background that complements what you’re wearing or vice versa, but make sure not to overwhelm the eye with too much. If you’re shooting at home, complement your theme with simple, seasonal décor. Fresh flowers, garlands and wreaths can make a great backdrop for holiday photos.

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Comfy-Cozy: Go for Comfort

As much as we swoon over fancy looks, this year it’s all about going cozy! Whether you do matching pajamas or opt for an athleisure theme, keeping things more casual will help ensure that everyone’s happy and there will be minimal fussing day-of. Prefer to keep it formal? We love it! You can still find tons of pretty clothes for girls and dressy styles for boys designed for comfort—just make sure to pick soft, comfortable fabrics.

AllInclusive: Include the Pets

Your furry friends are part of the family, too, so make sure to include them in your big shoot! You can easily coordinate your dog or cat’s style by dressing them in a collar or sweater that matches the rest of the family’s outfits. If you’ve got high-anxiety pets, try to keep the scene calm and stick to having the photographer come to your house rather than taking them out to a location.

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Make It Personal: Add Your Own Touches

As much as we all enjoy the classic footie pajama photo shoots or shots of khaki-wearing families at the beach, your family is its own kind of unique, and your pictures should reflect that! Whether you’re into a certain sports team, hobby, franchise or holiday, you can always add your own personalized touch! Do this with matching graphic T-shirts, fun props or unique nods to the things you love in the background.

Fresh and Clean: Get the Kids Dressed Last

Experienced parents know this one’s a no-brainer, but try to wait until the very last second to get the kids dressed. This will help ensure that everyone’s in their coordinated outfits right up until it’s time to pose. Most importantly, it will also help prevent any accidents from happening and messing up your kids’ clothes.

Make Use: Work with What You’ve Got

Planning your themed outfits takes a lot of effort, but don’t let it stress you out, especially during the holiday season! There’s so much to do at this time of year, the last thing you’d want is to add more to your plate. Work with items of clothing you already own to build a coordinated look. Build a base with clothing you already own and then add a few coordinated accessories to tie it all together.

All Yours: Shop Boutiques

Last, but not least, try your best to shop at children’s clothing boutiques and smaller children’s clothing companies so you create a look that no other family has. You’re less likely to see the same stuff you do when shopping at the big box stores, so you know you’re getting a look that’s completely unique to your family.

Just like any family activity, planning your holiday photos and the outfits that go with them takes a lot of planning and forethought. If you start thinking it through a month or two in advance, you’ll be much less stressed and ready for whatever comes your way on shoot day! The result will be a picture-perfect scene you’ll want to display for years to come.

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