Styling your Family Shoot

Nov 4, 2019

Written by Risa Kostis

This post was written to contribute to the topic of Fashion and Motherhood for the What Lola Likes blog by Risa Kostis. All facts, opinions, and professional tips are Risa’s.

As the holidays approach, so do all the memorable moments that come with them…most especially family photo shoots! In fact, styling families was how I started to make a name for myself almost 6 years ago with local photographer Katie Rounds from Round Lens Photography. Once Katie started getting multiple requests for what to wear, she knew she needed to bring in some styling support, so she added me to her shoot packages and the rest is history!

As many people often feel overwhelmed with styling their family (I mean you moms out there already have a TON on your plate!), I’d love to give you my top tips for taking the guesswork out of it for a cohesive, seamless and stylish outcome!

Photo by Round Lens Photography 


This is always my starting place when working with families. Since mom usually puts herself last, I love that with family styling, we start with her! The reason? Kids can wear pretty much anything, their clothes usually always fit, and they are fairly easy to shop for. Dad will most likely go with the flow (although sometimes you’d be surprised!) and usually already has pieces in their wardrobe that will work. Which leaves mom, and usually she’ll need to buy a few items to try to make sure she’s comfortable and is happy with her look as the centerpiece. She’s sometimes the toughest customer when it comes to finding her look, so always start there and the rest should fall into place. 


There are a ton of color palettes on Pinterest and on photographer’s websites/Instagram pages. Figure out what color you love and search for some palettes that include major accent colors that work well together and work well with one of the metallics (gold, silver, rose gold) as well as a neutral (white, ivory, grey, nude/brown). I like to consider location before choosing a palette as well as colors that are different than previous years and that would go well hanging on a wall in your home. 


The color palette should serve as the framework for your shoot, but it doesn’t mean everyone wears the same color or that we need to see that color on everyone in some way. You can still have a cohesive look with everyone in different colors in the palette, or even just tiny details such as an earring, a hair piece, or a shoe. Choosing different colors that compliment looks gives a fresh and modern look, as being too matchy can appear too contrived. Adding layers will also help break things up and create a well-styled look.  


Patterns are a great way to add depth and texture to an image, but sometimes get lost in translation when it comes to photography. Be mindful of your photographer’s style (moody, light & airy, etc.) and the location you’re shooting at. If it’s a busy location, be more subtle with clothing. Note that really small patterns while great for mixing and matching, sometimes look like a solid from far away, so if you’re trying to use a small pattern to pull in an accent color – it may not translate. Additionally, if you are mixing and matching patterns with multiple subjects, look for balance in pattern size and color of each piece! 


I’ll use this section to give you a roundup of my best tips! – Get your hair, makeup, and nails done. With all the effort you’re putting in, go the extra mile for this investment! – Bring snacks that don’t discolor little mouths! Always roll with a ‘reward’ for your kids’ great behavior. It’s hard to command kiddos’ attention, but a little incentive goes a long way!  – If your clothing is wrinkle-prone, travel to your shoot in something loose fitting and easy to take off (maybe not over the head) and change when you get there. Wrinkles are hard to photoshop and your photographer will thank you! Also on that note, if your kids are snacking in the car on the way there, make sure it’s something that won’t stain, otherwise have them change on site too but be sure to allow for time for that.  – Bring a friend (or stylist!). Having someone fix clothing, move loose hair out of the way, or even to sing songs to the kids to create smiles can be a game changer. Just make sure your photographer is OK with it! 

Photo by Round Lens Photography 

Happy fall everyone! Hope these were helpful, and please feel free to DM me with any pressing questions regarding your shoot! 

Photo by Fully Alive Photography


Risa Kostis is the owner and founder of Arizona based boutique wardrobe styling company, RISTYLE Consulting. With over 15 years in fashion, beauty, PR and event planning, Risa brings her industry expertise to the valley offering full-scale styling for the everyday woman looking to enhance her personal style and step up her style game. Additionally, Risa offers hands-on bridal styling and curated wardrobing for brides and their bridal parties from the day of engagement right through the I do’s. She’s worked closely with top TV personalities and international brands, and has been featured on local news stations such as Channel 3’s Your Life Arizona, and publications such as So Scottdale!, Modern Luxury and Arizona Foothills as a leading stylist in the valley.