5 Steps To A Perfectly Styled Family Session {Guest Post}

Welcome to Locally Grown! Locally Grown introduces you to the people and stories behind Local Lake County businesses. Have you met Svetlana Kleandrova yet? Svetlana is the owner of Dot Dot Dot Photography. She is here today with her 5 Steps To A Perfectly Styled Family Session.

perfectly styled family photos

Now that we are getting into one of the busiest seasons in the year for family portraits, it’s time to come up with a good plan for your next session. I have been on both sides of the camera: styling the sessions for my clients as a photographer and styling my own family for a session as a mom. I am thrilled to share some of my experience here with you on here at Little Lake County.

perfectly styled family photos
Photo Source Dot Dot Dot Photography

Hair and Makeup 
Taking the time to do your hair and makeup properly for the session (at home or professionally) makes a world of difference in photographs! It will put you in the right mood and reward you with some very pleasing images. And here is the best part: as exciting as your family photo shoot may be, it is not as critical as a wedding, for example, where you only have one chance to get it right. Feel free to experiment or stick to your own true style, but either way you will feel refreshed, stylish, and confident. All of these are important elements of a great experience during your session! If you normally go for a more natural style of make-up, which always looks fabulous in real life, do it a notch brighter and more expressive for your session than you would do on any other regular day. The camera and makeup will put all the right accents on your naturally beautiful face.

Photo Source Dot Dot Dot Photography
Photo Source Dot Dot Dot Photography

The Big, Scary Wardrobe Question 
Yes, I’ve been there. Once you start trying to put together a family wardrobe for your session, it feels like you own a warehouse of extremely random and completely mismatched clothing. You are not alone! I promise it is a fixable problem with a few easy steps.

Photo Source Dot Dot Dot Photography
Photo Source Dot Dot Dot Photography

The earlier you start planning your session, the better! Once the pressure of time is off, can think straight and come up with beautiful and original combinations for your family. Casually studying shop windows and Pinterest for ideas and inspiration; trying things at home in your free time; not rushing to make purchases of your accessories or little details. All of these things will make your life easier than when you will have only a few days before the shoot.

Photo Source Dot Dot Dot Photography
Photo Source Dot Dot Dot Photography

Don’t be afraid to experiment with the things you already have. Take out all the pieces of clothing you really like and start trying them on in unusual and unexpected combinations. You’ll be surprised how many awesome ideas you will get! A few months ago I was heading into my own head shot session and I’ve never been more stressed about getting dressed. Eventually, I put on a white pair of jeans and tried every possible combination of shirts and scarves I could come up with, and guess what? One of the scarves I haven’t worn for years complemented my shirt so well, it felt like I invented a whole new fashion line with that combo! So be brave and don’t be afraid to try new things.

Photo Source Dot Dot Dot Photography
Photo Source Dot Dot Dot Photography

Use two or three main colors for your family wardrobe, and add one or two accent colors or patterns. Start with neutrals as the base, then add fun accents through colors, textures, and accessories. Dress up kids in brighter, more fun palettes or patterns. Use complementary colors in the outfits for the entire family, adding them randomly: a yellow hat for one kid and yellow Wellies for another. Use a turquoise blouse or necklace for yourself and add a blue scarf in your daughter’s jeans instead of the belt.

Photo Source Dot Dot Dot Photography
Photo Source Dot Dot Dot Photography

Finally, layer up. Not only it will give you an option to dress up or down depending on changes in temperature that day, but layers will also give a great variety to your pictures! For fall, knitted and textured fabrics look fabulous. Try to avoid a matchy-matchy combinations when everyone wears identical or very similar pieces. Mix and match items like knitted sweaters for mom and dad and a brightly colored knit hat and gloves on one kid with a scarf on the other. Don’t be afraid to experiment, and most importantly, have fun!

Photo Source Dot Dot Dot Photography
Photo Source Dot Dot Dot Photography

Session Location 
It might not seem quite as obvious, but your session location can be as much a part of the style as the family wardrobe. If you are nature lovers and want to do a traditional session in a forest preserve or park, go for it! There is absolutely nothing wrong with choosing amazing backdrops created by nature. But you also might be in the mood to switch up things a little bit and try something new. Try themed style for your session in a location you’ve never considered for your photo shoot before. Consider a beach with a city skyline, a town street with a graffiti wall, a train station, or a farm-like setting with a barn.

Photo Source Dot Dot Dot Photography Svetlana
Photo Source Dot Dot Dot Photography Svetlana

Props 
I have to admit, I like props– on the conditions that they are appropriate, don’t take over the scene, and bring an element of fun to the shoot. They can give you that little something special to complete the picture. Flowers, seasonal fruit, rustic old cars, boats, and other larger objects can lend a creative element to the pictures. I especially like using props with the kids. They don’t think of them as “props” and immediately start finding a good use for them. Props make a great distraction for kids if they dislike the whole idea of a photo shoot or are shy. Props are a great ice-breaker, and the session becomes much more fun after the kids had a chance to play with the new “toy”.

Photo Source Dot Dot Dot Photography
Photo Source Dot Dot Dot Photography

Your Happy Smile 
So here is the deal breaker: none of the above matters if you feel overwhelmed and stressed on the day of your shoot. Shocking, right?! But so true. It is easy to get wrapped up in all the preparations. Be sure to let go of your concerns heading into your session. After all, these are only pictures! They are important, but the point is to enjoy quality time with your family. The best way to do that is to get in your most positive frame of mind, admire and love on your beautiful family, and in return let them make you laugh and enjoy yourself. Once you’ve planned ahead and taken your time to put it all together, then let it go. This year’s session will be the one to remember for sure!

Photo Source Dot Dot Dot Photography
Photo Source Dot Dot Dot Photography

Dot Dot Dot Photography is holding fall mini sessions on September 24th and October 9th in Libertyville. The cost of one 20 minute session is $250 with 10 digital images included. Contact Svetlana today to schedule your session.

Dot Dot Dot Photography is offering an exclusive discount for Little Lake County Readers! Mention the Locally Grown feature when booking your appointment for 20% off your 2016 photography session.

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Disclosure: Dot Dot Dot Photography is our featured Locally Grown Business of the Month. This series of features is part of a paid partnership with Little Lake County. Contact littlelakecounty[at]gmail[dot]com if you are interested in featuring your own locally-owned business in our monthly series.

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About Holly Garvey 130 Articles
Stay-at-home mom who works! On again/off again work in family real estate business, babysitter, dog rescue and historical society volunteer all while chasing my new-found dream to be a writer.I live in Antioch with my husband, Jake, and kids, Cecilia (5) and Mark (3), and our dog Isabella. I'm an aspiring vegan (I cheat a lot), Jazzercise addict and runner. As a family, we love to travel and spend time outdoors. I love to go antique shopping and garage sale-ing, cook, and read in my (rare) free time.

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