How do you dress so many family members?

It was such a privilege to do this extended family photoshoot because it was the first time everyone was together again after the pandemic! I know it can be a daunting task to dress so many family members. Everyone has different opinions on what's comfortable or what's appropriate for photos. My advice is similar to how I would approach a nuclear family session. Pick 2-3 colors and build everyone's outfit with those colors. Blues are very common in everyone's closet and can be a good color to use! You don't usually have to buy anything blue because you'll already have blue jeans and sweaters. Then you'll just need a 1-2 more colors, whatever you fancy, and you're set. In this case, the family chose gray and green. The neutral gray and blue did not compete with the pop of green.

Extended family photoshoot at Heritage Park in Kirkland
Extended family laughing on a sunny spring day.
Posed family photo in Kirkland.
Candid moment of granddaughters smiling while hugging grandfather.

Limit patterns.

Limit patterns to a few family members at your extended family photoshoot. If everyone is dressed in a pattern, you're photos will look too busy! The checkered pattern, next to the zebra stripes and cheetah prints will be overwhelming to your eyes. By allowing some people to wear patterns while others to wear solids, you'll keep the photos feeling balanced. Bonus, if your patterns incorporate the color scheme, you'll make the photos feel cohesive.

Sweet colorful portrait of smiling girl.
Grandmother hugging her granddaughters at Heritage Park.
Bellevue family photographer capturing tender moment of grandmother with grandchildren.

Keep the transition lenses at home.

Many families have at least one person who wears transition lenses. If possible, bring a regular pair of glasses to the session to avoid hiding those beautiful eyes. If you don't have regular glasses, I may ask you to take the transition lenses off during parts of the session. You'll walk to the specific location, I'll show you how to pose, then take your transition lenses for safekeeping until I've gotten all the photos of you snuggling with your family.

Black and white photo of grandmother smiling with grandchildren.
Bellevue photographer captured tender candid moment between mother and daughter.
Grandmother seated on a bench, hugging her granddaughter in Kirkland.
Family portrait at Heritage Hall.
Daughter making a silly face at family photos.

Dress comfortably.

Wear an outfit you could move comfortably in. Something that is form fitting...not too baggy but also, not too tight, made from materials that have some stretch. Children may have their own clothing preferences and that's ok. If they have a favorite shirt, hair clip or pair of shoes they'd like to wear that shows their authentic personality, let's go with it! These photos capture a specific moment in time that you'll look fondly back on. When they request their hair in braids, love everything about butterflies and want sparkling sequin clothes and metallic shoes, do it! These photos are for you and you can decide what you want to wear. You have the final say at your extended family photoshoot, not the photographer.

Mother daughter share nose to nose kiss in Kirkland.
Girl siblings hug each other smiling in Kirkland.

Have fun!

Because really, it's all about having fun. Your outfits don't need to look like they came out of a GAP catalog. As long as your style is authentic to you and you're having fun with your loved ones, that joy and love will translate into your photos. Heritage Park in Kirkland is a low key location for an extended family photoshoot. This location has wide open spaces, peek-a-boo views of the water, varied greenery and even some cherry blossoms in April! To read more styling tips, see these posts here and here! Thanks for reading!

Black and white photo of mother and daughter sharing a secret.