The Fall season is upon us and many of you are scheduling fall sessions for your holiday cards, so I figured it would be a great time to share some styling tips/advice. If you’ve booked a session with me, I provide some styling assistance (mini sessions not included)! If you are not doing a full session with me here are some tips to help you select your family’s outfits for your next family photo session!

Now, I am not a professional stylist, but I have been styling families for 2.5 years now, so I have a pretty good idea on how to piece together outfits so that they compliment each other well. One main thing that I have realized is that the colors, textures, and styles that you select for your family’s outfits can definitely impact the look/feel of your images.

Moms Dress: BHLDN

Dress: Zara

Shirt: Zara

Pants: Zara


Colors to avoid: anything bright especially if your session lands on a sunny day
Colors to try this fall:  muted blue, brown, gold, gray, hunter green, mauve

One simple tip about colors is that if you select lighter colors your photos will look lighter/airy (of course the photographers editing style will impact this as well), and darker colors will lead to a moodier look.

Of course, your photographers editing style, the background, and sunlight will impact the final look, but I know that when my clients select light/neutral colors like tan, ivory, light grey, sprinkled in with maybe light muted colors like sage and mauve, the photos tend to look lighter than if they were to wear navy, black, dark green. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t wear dark colors on top or bottom!

Finally, try to use colors from the same family/color palette: jewel tones, muted tones, pastels, etc.

Mom’s Dress: Lulu’s

Light Grey Set: Zara

Dark Pants: H&M

Jumpsuit: Zara

Bonnet: Jamie Kay (its not the same one but this one is cute too)


Finding outfits that coordinate well can be simple! Mom’s I recommend finding your outfit first, or, if you have an outfit that you really want your child to wear you can use that outfit to build the rest of the outfits for your family.

In general I recommend selecting at least 1 pattern for 1 person in your family. You will use the colors from this pattern to determine the solid colors that everyone else can wear. Neutral colors like white, ivory, grey, and tan work well with most outfit combinations, so definitely don’t forget to use these colors! Also, you don’t have to use the exact same colors, just try to keep the colors in the same family as mentioned in Tip #1 about colors.

Outfit 1: a dress with a floral pattern (sage, ivory, and mauve)

Outfit 2: pale blue shirt and maybe grey pants

Outfit 3: mauve dress or green pants and a white shirt

-Get creative with the styles (instead of 2 dresses, you could do 1 dress and 1 jumper)

-Add in texture like knit items, muslin fabric, lace, or corduroy (doing this once or twice is probably good enough as we don’t want everyones outfits to be textured).

-Avoid neon/bright colors, words & characters that take your attention away from the person.

You might be saying…


If you want to match in some way, everyone in white can work well as long as you add texture, select different styles (pants, jumper, dress), and also I would recommend adding in khaki pants or shorts for men. If you are going to match on top, select a light neutral color, as it will work better together vs. a dark color because if 2 people are in a dark color such as black, it can be difficult to distinguish where 1 person begins and ends.


Some photographers might have a different idea of what looks good in photos. If you selected them for their style, they might have tips and recommendations on what to wear. Here are some outfit ideas and tips that I recommend for my clients:

GUYS- Khaki shorts or pants in different shades work well, crewneck sweaters with button down long-sleeve shirt inside, henley long or short sleeve shirts.

WOMEN- Flowy maxi or midi dresses, or a chunky sweater with jeans might be nice! What matters most is that you feel comfy in what you’re wearing.

BABIES/KIDS- Kids look cute in anything. Try to stay away from huge headbands or outfits with ruffles that can cover your child’s face & select no-fuss outfits! If your child is in overalls and you’re noticing that it keeps falling when he/she tries it on, it will likely fall during your photoshoot as well. If your child has long hair that you think might fall in front of his/her face, figure out a way to keep it back either by putting it up or by using hair product. The same tip can be applied to adults as well.

SHOES- If you’re at the beach plan on being barefoot. If your session is anywhere else, neutral shoes work well. If you are going to be in soft grass, wear wedges vs. stilettos or anything that will dig into the dirt.


Especially if you’re busy! Here are some of my go-to places for online shopping. Each link below will take you directly to where you need to be (men, women, kids).

Men: H&M, J-crew, Banana Republic, Ever Lane, Amazon

Women: Roolee (they even have nursing friendly dresses), Zara (hit or miss…better to shop here for kids), Lovestitch, Lulus, ASOS, Free People, Anthropologie, Reformation, Amazon

Babies/Kids: H&M, Zara, Jamie Kay, Amazon

To book a family, maternity, or newborn session with Marissa in the San Francisco Bay Area or Hawaii (Oahu or Maui), email or CLICK HERE

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