styling your session


Because you’re not hiring me to take pictures… you’re hiring me to create art. 

Like a painter carefully considers the elements of composition (balance, contrast, focus, motion, and pattern) when mixing paints for his masterpiece, we must do the same when choosing the elements that go into yours.

The outfits you choose to wear for your session should reflect your style, both individually and as a family- however, the colors, textures, and styles will play a huge part in the way your photos turn out! 

Some outfits that look great in real life just don’t photograph well or distract from you and your family. 

When you hire me, I’ll send you my comprehensive client style guide that goes into great detail about styling with all my tips and tricks and examples. Until then, I’m giving you this little sneak peek of my five basic styling principles.

wardrobe & styling

Basic Principles


You want the colors you wear to both help you stand out and blend with the environment, that’s why I recommend starting with location. In general think warm, neutral, earthy, rich, and vibrant.

NO TWO PEOPLE SHOULD WEAR THE SAME COLOR. Instead, choose colors that complement each other rather than match exactly. Including lots of neutrals will help prevent a color overload.

The colors you chose will also affect the way my editing style reads on your images, best to stick with similar colors as in my Instagram feed, since those are probably what drew you to me in the first place. Limit cool tones like certain blues and greens, and avoid light grey at all costs.


Textures and patterns help add movement, dimension, and visual interest to your images.

Examples of different textures include chunky sweaters/cardigans, long flowy dresses (if they’re translucent, even better!), linens/gauze, velvet, fringe, corduroy, statement jewelry (especially earrings, bracelets, or rings), etc. Mix and match a variety of textures both within each outfit and across your whole family.

Patterns are another great way to add more visual interest to your images, As a general rule, one for every three people should be in a pattern. Go for medium-sized patterns. Stripes and florals are my favorites! No buffalo plaid or super thin stripes/ tiny patterns, please.


Besides adding even more depth and visual interest, adding layers to your wardrobe gives your images an immediate sense of coziness, cuddles, and warmth.

Cardigans and even blankets look great worn off the shoulder. Open work-shirts, jackets, overalls, and vests are an especially great way to layer the men in the family.


Remember how I said layers make your pictures feel cozy? Well, skin makes them feel intimate.

Show as much skin as you’re comfortable with while keeping it classy. For girls think crop tops, off the shoulder, slits, high low hemlines, and showing cleavage. For boys think shirtless or tank tops (NO SHORTS except on toddlers).


Contrast is the styling principle that will keep you from looking like one monochromatic blob.

Simply put, contrast says put each of your family members in different values so they stand out from each other.

Here’s what it looks like: Let’s pretend I’m shooting a couple and they both wear black. When I edit their pictures, their black clothes blend together making it hard to tell where one person ends and the other begins. But if she wore black and he wore white they’d have contrast and stand out from each other. (Though I don’t typically recommend black and white it helps explain the principle.)

So if mama wants to wear a dark dress, dad should be in a lighter shade and baby in a medium tone. Or if someone is dark on bottom and light on top, then whoever they’re most likely to stand next to should be light on bottom and dark on top.


the maren elizabeth

client closet

What if you could wear a stunning, unique, luxurious gown in your pictures without it costing you a cent?* 

That’s where my client closet comes in. I’ve invested thousands of dollars into these carefully curated pieces so you don’t have to spend hundreds on something you’ll only wear once.

Though I’ve focused primarily on gowns for mama, I also have pieces for babies and kids.

After booking with me, I recommend starting your wardrobe search with a quick review of the closet to see if there’s anything you’d like to use.

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