Your Family Photo Style Guide + More

I’m so honored to help you create memories you’ll cherish for a lifetime. Now, if you are already panicking…take a deep breath because this is just a guide. You can truly wear whatever makes your heart happy! The guide is for those who would like some direction.

Choosing Time & Date: I believe that natural light, from the sun and its reflection create photographs that feel fresh, timeless and truest to you.

TIP: I recommend giving your family a faux start time so you can have time to buffer getting there on time to decrease stress too!

TIP:With toddlers, ideally you want to steer clear from nap times. Ask if your photographer has early morning sessions, that's the best for everyone.

TIP: Plan for holiday photos August/Sept and shooting in December in SoCal is very gray and the light is not as flattering -- the earlier, then better! And then in the fall, take a look at sunset times, it gets dark EARLY.

TIP: The golden hour is 30 minutes before sunset. You can google "what time is sunset in ___City___" to find your ideal time. **As much you like the dreamy colors of the golden hour, IMO it isn't worth possible stress/meltdowns for toddlers if it's too close to their bedtime or if it interrupts dinner time. You can wait just a few years and have a much more enjoyable experience.

TIP: Do not show up hungry, bring snacks for sure! Even if you plan to eat after your photos, please make sure everyone has some food in their belly, including adults!

If you have a dream location that doesn’t have any shade, we would need to shoot super early or near the golden hour (30min-1 hour before sunset). Otherwise, I would love to shoot when your kiddos are the happiest, which is early morning.

Best Time of Day to Shoot?

My answer: It depends

When you have kids 3 and under, I highly recommend a morning session!They have energy and so do you! Towards the evening they are likely tired or coordinating a nap is tricky, and so shoot when everyone has energy! This session was at 9:30am.

What do I wear?


I am a fan of "coordinated" outfits vs. matching outfits. A coordinated outfit takes into account the colors everyone is wearing, it is not everyone in their best outfit.

How do I prepare for a session?

Contact Me

Real talk!Make sure no one is hungry! Motivate the fam with a special treat, this works! Lay out outfits head to toe at least 2 days in advance so you aren't looking for a shoe while you are heading out! Mama, pick your outfit FIRST.

Book a session here!

My philosophy: Mom is the STAR in family photos

So my #1 goal is for YOU to feel good and celebrated! This means, we start dressing the family with Mom first, and then all other outfits build around you! You get to feel comfortable and confident, it's a special occasion ;)

Keep it casual or dress up!

Since you are investing in photos, I recommend avoiding shorts for your session and dressing a little bit more dressy than your normal every day. Long, full-length, flowy dresses and or fabrics that are soft look amazing on camera because they bring extra movement to the photos. Especially when juxtaposed with nature, forest, plains or beach. Consider softer fabrics that have a softer feel which can allow for beautiful movement in the images.

When considering the length of your dresses or skirts, it’s also a good idea to factor in whether or not there will be little ones in your photos. If you have smaller children, we’ll likely have you sitting or crouching on the ground to interact up-close with them. Cute, shorter cocktail-length dresses photograph beautifully, but if you have little ones in your photos, a floor-length dress or skirt, or perhaps a cute midi-skirt, will make moving around with your kids much easier.

Book a session with me here

What colors photograph well?

Choosing Colors : When choosing colors for your outfits, I recommend selecting softer, lighter tones and more muted shades. By avoiding ultra-bright, bold colors, it will help bring all the attention to your faces and let the eye focus the emotions I capture, but again, that's just my opinion. If you're a fan of color, go for it! That softer color palette fits beautifully into almost all natural outdoor environments. But as I stated above, this is a guide and whatever YOU wanna rock and what YOU feel best in is key!

Hair and Make-up Thoughts...

It's a total personal choice to do it yourself or hire someone! Professional make-up application and getting your hair can sometimes remove the stress of getting ready on your own. But this is not a deal breaker by any stretch, just a suggestion! If you do wear make-up, a lot of moms like to throw on faux eyelashes for photographs.

I will show you the back of my camera so you can see how you are looking in real time so you can make any adjustments on your hair. If you don't traditionally wear make-up and do decide to get someone else to do it, make sure you show the artist a photo for inspiration with the model with the same color hair and skin as you. Also give yourself extra time so that the make-up artist can make any changes in case it comes out different that what you expected in your mind. Be honest with them, they want you to love their makeup!

Tips for him

Long, fitted pants and closed-toed shoes are look for men that most of my clients go with. For your session, I would recommend for him to leave the shorts, sandals and sneakers at home. I like v-neck sweaters in neutral colors on men as they compliment the most women’s outfits, whereas pinstripes or plaid patterns tend to distract the eye. Please avoid wearing t-shirts with glaring graphics and logos. Jeans work for sure! Make sure he is comfortable so give him time to agree or disagree with the outfit you want him to wear. Layers are a great look for men too. From my experience, most dads go with the flow but on occasion he may not be down to wear anything but a tshirt - so make it easy and lay out the clothes ahead of time so there's no stress the morning of if he'd rather pick something else out so that you have time to make adjustments.

To Do list!

So there you have it!

1 . Choose your outfits in advance, even from your closet! If you do order clothes, nothing more stressful than having clothes arrive an hour before your shoot and it not fitting, I've been there!

2. Talk to everyone in the photos (spouses and kids that are verbal!) about these photos ahead of time. For kids 2-5 years old, incentivize them with things like an extra few books at story time or a sweet treat, for school age kids and above, incentive them with something special that will keep them motivated for these 20 minutes. For partners/spouses, just remind them of this is a once a year event and that 20 minutes is a quick amount of time to do something that everyone will treasure for years to come.

3. For kids 3 and under, you may not want to dress them all the way until you get to the photoshoot location to avoid spills, so plan time for that if so.

4. Pack a bag with:

- Flats or flip-flops for walking between photo spots if you are changing location

- Water bottle (for warmer sessions)

- Coat or cover-up (for colder sessions)

- Snacks for the little ones + adults !

- If you have a toddler or younger, small eye-catching toys or discrete snack to hold their attention

5.From experience, some moms will say, "I wish I had my nails done" or "I wish I had my makeup done" when they see close up shots of them . If that's something you'd want, make sure you schedule time for that. All optional, just a reminder.

6.Buffer the start time so you can get to your location without stress.

7.Lay out the clothes from head to toe, including shoes!

8.I don't recommend trying on new clothing the morning of, give yourself time to get used to what you are wearing if possible.

9.Don't sweat the small stuff and go with the flow. There will always be hiccups and that's ok!

10.Should you want extra guidance, here is my Amazon list of outfits that I believe will photograph well! (of note: I am an Amazon affiliate and may make a small commission off your purchase that do not change your pricing).



Locations in the South Bay for Family Photos

Torrance beach


Hermosa Chip Trail

South coast botanical gardens

Field near Town and Country school


Book a session here