Style// How To Style Your Christmas Photos Like A Pro

I got a few emails and comments asking where I got certain items of the littles clothing for our photoshoot the other day. I had already been kicking around posting here and there about some of the tid bits I have picked up fashion wise while living here in Paris. So here is my first (and possibly last ha!) post tied into that, how to style your littles for Christmas card pictures. It always baffles me a little when I am hired by a lovely family whom I offer to help “style” (I always offer to help since I know this part is stressful) and they turn me down then show up looking like they are going to McDonalds for dinner. It doesn’t happen often and said people are always very nice and maybe the clothing part is not important to them. But what does seem to happen is when they get the pictures back they say “Oh, I probably should have had you help with the clothes”. If you are going to save to hire a professional photographer also save a little for outfits. Having said that usually there are several items in your closet that will work just fine! A few weeks ago I helped style a family and after going through the families closets we had them all coordinated with out spending a dime. That is the goal, to look cordinated. Not all in denim, or white (oh please do your photographer a favor and unless you are a bride do NOT wear lots of white) but a nice pallet of coordinating colors and textures.


Now how to do this:

1. Settle on a color palette you love and look for items that fit in that category. As always I am drawn to muted colors. If there is a muted, dusty rose anything I will probably buy it ha! That can be said for mustard as well. I know this is what I love and THAT is what matters. Pick the colors YOU love and work with them. While picking the colors it is also wise to think about what you will be doing with the pictures. I toyed with doing color pops this year but I REALLY want to enlarge one of the pictures and hang it in the living room. Color pops would look horrible and completely clash with the rest of my living room so I nixed that idea. If this is strictly for Christmas cards then my all means go hog wild on the red and green but if you are hoping to print and display these pictures year round you may want to reign the holiday colors in.

2. Pick one signature item as a jumping off point. Sometimes it can be super overwhelming dressing an entire family and you don’t know where to start. For me it helps to find one piece of clothing that I positively LOVE and then work everybody else into it. I usually suggest that this be mom’s outfit because heaven knows if mom looks bad she isn’t going to like the pictures no matter how cute everyone else is going to look and moms deserve to love their pictures. For these pictures it was Chloe’s coat. Once I saw it I knew I wanted to photograph her in it. I literally walked around the mall with it then had it with me as I went through the kids closets. Having that base or jumping off point really helps. It is also nice because then you can enlist sisters, moms etc to look for stuff while they are out and about. The more eyes the better right?

3. Go for texture and layers. Us photographers LOVE texture. Furs, velvet, tweeds and corduroy, ribbed tights etc. They photograph beautifully because they have depth. Plus these items are often layered. Layers are what will take your photo to the next level. I am telling you, slap a vest or blazer on a little guy and the cuteness factor just went up 90%. This is one area where boys are easier then girls. Vests, sweaters, blazers etc. are easy to find for  boys. Not so much with girls. When I bought the fur vest it was originally for Evie but in the end I really wanted to be able to see the cute knitted pattern on her dress so it went to Chloe. Fur vests are really “in” right now and add that nice extra layer of depth. Since Chloe got the fur vest Evie got the hat. Fair is fair right? I tied in the fur on the hat by adding the boots with the fur cuffs. For the boys Finn’s chunky knit sweater and tassels on his scarf add for his texture and Sawyers wine colored corduroys and roughed up chambray shirt give him some texture and layer.

4. Accessories: This area is pretty much limited to hats and scarves for boys. Don’t underestimate the power of a scarf. EVERYONE wears scarves here. That is not an exaggeration or a false stereotype. Literally every local I see is wearing a scarf during the winter, young or old it is pretty much uniform. Finn adores scarves so he was excited to wear one for pictures. Sawyer on the other hand starts crying if I try to wrestle him into one so I left him alone. Both boys have wicked crazy hair right now because we are in the painful growing out stage so I was tempted to cover it up but in the end thought it would be overkill. Girls you can go to town accessorizing! I decided to keep it simple with ribbed tights, Evie’s hat and Chloe’s home made felt bows. This is a great place to add things that pop or add drama. Just make sure it is age appropriate. It always sort of freaks me out when a two year old is wearing a necklace.

5. When in doubt ask for help. First ask your photographer. If they are a good one they will go over ideas and options. If they won’t (and if they don’t I sure hope you aren’t paying them very much) then there is always mall window displays and catalogs or of course pintrest. One of my clients went to a local store and literally bought three outfits off the mannequins. She just didn’t want the stress and could afford to do that. More power to her ha!


I thought I would include my sources for the kids clothes which are where I pretty much buy all their clothes when photoshoots are involved, clothing is linked or similar provided


Sawyer: Chambrey shirt (similar), sweater, cords all H&M this season. Shoes GAP

Finn: Sweater and scarf  Zara,  button up GAP, pants (similar) and shoes (similar) H&M hand me down from Sawyer


Evie: Sweater dress Vertbaudet ,Ribbed tights (similar) monoprix, boots Marks and Spencers, Hat Zara (I couldn’t find a similar for her dress though it looks very Mini Boden).

Chloe: Coat and tweed shorts Zara, Peter pan collard shirt (similar) Monoprix, Fur vest (similar) Vertbaudet, Boots (similar) Joyfolie

I think the hardest thing is to remember to have fun. This is especially hard for me. Since I don’t hire a photographer I don’t have someone who is getting paid worrying about if the kids are looking or if a hat is skewed or if they are smiling. It is all on me. When I am on hired photoshoots I am the funnest person in the world. When it is me and my kids I tend to be grumpy and stressed and seriously wanted to throw myself in the river last weekend after this shoot ha! Okay not really, that river is cold. No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t take my own advice. Take deep breathes and have fun. Kids are like dogs, they sense stress, and maybe fear I don’t know, but definitely stress. If you are stressed out and short tempered there is a lot smaller chance of getting the pictures you want. If you keep talking about how much fun you are or are going to have then they will be “tricked” into thinking it is fun. Fingers crossed your photographer knows this and makes the session fun and light hearted. Good luck and remember, CHEESE!!! Honestly though, please don’t tell your littles to cheese its the worst ha!





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One Response to Style// How To Style Your Christmas Photos Like A Pro

  1. Michelle 11.20.13 at 8:36 am #

    I love how you dress your children! I am still hoping you will do a post on how you dress yourself! You have a great collection of clothes and you look great even when traveling with small children. I would love to know where you shop and how to look good when traveling. I’m from San Diego and I’ve been to Europe several times and struggled both times with how to dress and what to pack.

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