How to Style Your Arizona Family Pictures

Styling Arizona Family Pictures

Before we jump into all the great tips about how to style your Arizona family pictures, I have to include a bit of a caveat. If you’ve hired a photographer that isn’t me, please talk to them about how they recommend you style your session. The way each photographer shoots and processes their images affects how colors and styles will look in your final pictures. Choosing colors and styles that are consistent with what you see in your photographers’ portfolio will go a long way in making sure your pictures come out consistent with their body of work.

Family Picture Styling Basics

Capturing beautiful and memorable family photos requires more than just a camera and a smile; it’s all about creating a harmonious and visually appealing composition. Let’s dive into some family picture styling basics that will elevate your images to a whole new level:

1. Embrace the Power of Color

Color plays a pivotal role in setting the tone and mood of your family pictures. Instead of everyone wearing the same color, opt for complementary hues that harmonize with each other. Warm, neutral, earthy, rich, and vibrant tones work exceptionally well with my photography style. Avoid overwhelming the frame with too many bold colors by incorporating plenty of neutrals.

Again, stick to a palette that resembles the aesthetics of my Instagram feed to ensure the final results reflect the aesthetic and mood that drew you to my photography in the first place.

2. Add Depth with Texture and Patterns

Enhance the visual interest of your family pictures by introducing various textures and patterns. Think chunky sweaters, flowy dresses, linens, velvet, fringe, and statement jewelry. Experiment with mixing and matching textures within each outfit and across the entire family to create captivating dynamics.

Patterns, when used thoughtfully, can also elevate your images. Aim for medium-sized patterns and consider having one person out of every three or four wear them. Choose classics like stripes and florals, while avoiding overwhelming patterns like buffalo plaid or tiny prints.

3. Elevate the Coziness with Layers

Layers not only add depth but also infuse your family pictures with a sense of warmth and togetherness. Embrace cardigans, open work shirts, jackets, overalls, vests, and even blankets. For men, layering can be particularly stylish and comforting.

4. Embrace Intimacy with Classy Skin Exposure

For a touch of intimacy and tenderness in your images, incorporate a touch of tasteful skin exposure. Girls can consider options like crop tops, off-the-shoulder outfits, slits, high-low hemlines, or showing subtle cleavage. Boys can go for shirtless looks or tank tops (NO SHORTS except on toddlers).

5. Stand Out with Contrast

Contrast is the key to preventing your family members from blending into a monochromatic blur. Ensure each individual stands out by dressing them in different values of color. For example, if one person wears a darker outfit, someone else should be in a lighter shade and someone else in a medium tone. This is especially true when styling parents/couples, make sure you wear something that will contrast with your significant other so you don’t blend together when standing next to each other.

How to Style Your Arizona Family Pictures | Step-by-Step with Examples

1. You have to start somewhere, start with mom

When it comes to styling your family pictures you need a starting point, something to anchor the look and base all other decisions on. Start with Mom.

This can be really hard for some mamas. It’s our habit and instinct to worry about everyone else first, and honestly, it’s easier, especially when it comes to picking cute outfits. Adult women, we’re picky and critical when it comes to ourselves, I wish it weren’t true but I know it is because I’m one of you. Mama, you will be the hardest person to dress for family pictures and you will have fewer options than pretty much everyone else. I don’t want you to settle.

I also bet that you are the one pushing for these pictures to happen, you scheduled them and right now, they’re more important to you than anyone else (don’t worry, someday your kids and partner will thank you). This means the way you look and feel in these pictures is also the most important.

So this one time. Prioritize yourself. In fact, if you’re working with me this isn’t a suggestion, we will start with you.


The mama in this session loves the earthy look of the color Rust and found a gown she loved from my client closet. We used it to help us make decisions as we styled everyone else.

2. Mom’s Other Half Next

Even though Dad is comparatively easy to style (we’re talking jeans and a nice T-shirt easy), I like to think about them next because of basic principle #5, contrast.

Once we know what mom is wearing, we put Dad in something that will contrast. So if Mom is in something light, Dad will be in something Dark. If mom chose something Dark, Dad is going in a light/off-white.


For this session, Dad had a rocker, edgy style so we chose to put him in black to contrast with Mom’s medium-tone dress. By layering it over a white shirt we were able to take the black overshirt off to add variety to their images. Plus we tapped into basic principle #3, layers. Finally, we put him in dark, fitted jeans to polish off his look.

3. Finally, Dress the kids

Now that you’ve got your anchor and her complement, you can turn your focus to the kids and repeat the process, varying contrast and adding in some patterns and textures as you go.


For this session, we wanted to try something different to better align with the family’s overall style. Though they’re not usually at the top of my list of recommendations, we chose a simple graffic Tee for the oldest daughter with a black maxi skirt and hat. For the middle sister, a boho dress with a brown cardigan. And for the youngest daughter, we switched things up with bell bottom jeans and a crocheted rainbow halter top.

I absolutely loved how everything came together for this session and it never would have happened without the beautiful collaboration between client and photographer. If you have a vision, please tell your photographer and work with them to bring it to life through their art.

I’d love to work with you and help you style your Arizona family pictures. Click here to book your session with Maren Elizabeth Photography. Or contact me for more information. To view more of my work and stay up to date, follow me on Instagram.

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