Guest Post: Kendra Leigh Photography: How To Choose Colors for Family Pictures

How To Choose Colors for Family Pictures: 7 great tips from a professional to make sure you choose the best colors for your family!

I’m so excited to introduce today’s guest poster: Kendra Hill, owner of Kendra Leigh Photography and Video!  Kendra and I live in the same neighborhood and go to the same church house so we see each other pretty regularly.  Kendra is actually the photographer who took our most recent family pictures and she also took my kids’ pictures about a year ago for Mother’s Day.  And see that picture of me on the sidebar?  Yeah, she took that one too.  So I am very familiar with her work and think she is great and totally recommend her to anyone looking for a photographer.  When I asked Kendra if she’d be willing to do a guest post for me, I was so happy she said yes because I know photographers are always super busy in the spring with weddings and family pictures.  I’m guessing that some of you might even be in the midst of planning one of these things out for yourself/your family.  Today, Kendra will be sharing some tips for choosing colors for family pictures (which I always find super tricky)!


Ohhhhh the joys of pictures! Honestly, I love them! That’s why I am a photographer. Not only do I love taking pictures, but am also a complete ham in front of the camera. After being a photographer and taking hundreds of family pictures, even I still struggle with picking outfits for my own family.

Last month we had our own family pictures taken and I went through about 3 different outfit variations along the way. I knew I wanted them to be more simple and classic so I decided on pink with white/cream, and have the boys in blue jeans. I had a dress I planned to have my daughter wear and then I bought myself a dress. The colors of our dresses didn’t match at all! I was going for a rose pink and hers had a slight orange tint while mine was a little more purple. Not good. I played with the idea of adding in turquoise as well, but with 4 of us I felt it might get overpowering for the clean and classic look I wanted. Still, I came up with new outfits adding in the additional color. I didn’t like it. I eventually took the dress back and happened to find a perfect one when I stopped by Down East Basics on a whim (I’d already looked and didn’t find anything before)! I was back to my original color scheme of white, pink, and blue jeans. I love how they turned out! I do have certain tips I give to my clients, some of which I didn’t follow…. and reaped the consequences. I hope these help you avoid my faux pas, and take some stress off of your shoulders.

How To Choose Colors for Family Pictures: 7 great tips from a professional to make sure you choose the best colors for your family!

1. Choose a Location: You want to be sure you will not blend into the background. Pick outfit colors that will stand out! If you want a location that has a lot of trees and green grass, you don’t want to wear green. If you are taking pictures with red brick, you don’t want to wear red. White barn? Don’t wear white. You are paying to have pictures done and to document your family, you want to be able to see everyone. If you have no clue about what location you want, speak with your photographer, or you can search on Shootipedia.

2. Pick a Color Scheme: The time of matchy-matchy outfits (jeans and white shirts anyone?) has gone the way of the dodo. When you are first picking your outfits, its best to pick 2-3 colors and a neutral. If you have a hard time picking colors that go together, I suggest looking at and finding a pallet of colors you love and match your outfits to that.

How To Choose Colors for Family Pictures: 7 great tips from a professional to make sure you choose the best colors for your family!

3. Wear Something that you Like:  If you are uncomfortable in your clothes it will show through the pictures. This goes for children too. If you force your child to wear something they hate, it is more likely they will be upset and hard to work with. Also, watch out for accessories that they may like to put in their mouths when you’re not looking, or will be a distraction. I put a bow-tie on my little man because he always pulls off his ties and puts them in his mouth. I knew that I would end up taking it off before pictures were done and I really wanted him to have a little pink to tie our color scheme together.

How To Choose Colors for Family Pictures: 7 great tips from a professional to make sure you choose the best colors for your family!

4. Pick the Outfit for the Hardest to Dress First: When I started planning my family pictures, I made this mistake. My daughter had tons of cute dresses and I had a couple to pick from and thought it would be easy to find a dress for me. NO! After I scrapped everything twice, I found a dress for myself and suddenly everyone else’s outfits slid into place. Pick the person in your family that will be hardest to find an outfit for and start with them.

5. Add a Pattern: Too many patterns get busy, but having one person in a pattern with one or two of your selected colors looks great! Too many solid colors can become boring, especially if you have a lot of people in your pictures.

How To Choose Colors for Family Pictures: 7 great tips from a professional to make sure you choose the best colors for your family!How To Choose Colors for Family Pictures: 7 great tips from a professional to make sure you choose the best colors for your family!

6. You Don’t Have to go Shopping: Many people don’t realize that they already have the perfect outfits already. Before you go shopping at the store, go shopping in your closet! Take the color palette you have chosen and go into everyone’s closets and pull all of the clothing items that fit your vision. Put together as many outfits as you can (or all of them!) before you go to the store. When I spoke with the mother pictured below, she told me how much she hated shopping and I told her to go shopping in her closet before going to the store. They had a lot more than she thought, and they decided to go with shades of blue for their pictures.

How To Choose Colors for Family Pictures: 7 great tips from a professional to make sure you choose the best colors for your family!

7. Plan for the Weather: I live in Utah so you never know if it is going to be cold, rainy, sunny, bright, snowy, etc. In fact, you could get all of the above during your session! Crazy Utah weather. If it is below freezing, perhaps find some nice sport coats for boys and pea coats for girls. Just because there is snow, it doesn’t mean you can’t get pictures! Just be sure you know your kids personalities (and husband’s…) well enough that you know they will weather the cold and not be grumpy the whole time. If it is going to be rainy, take some umbrellas and use them as props as well as to keep you dry! Regardless, take the temperature into account and wear the appropriate amount of layers, sleeve length, thickness, etc to give you the most comfort during your shoot.

How To Choose Colors for Family Pictures: 7 great tips from a professional to make sure you choose the best colors for your family!

I hope these tips help you to create beautiful family pictures, and take some stress off of your shoulders!

How To Choose Colors for Family Pictures: 7 great tips from a professional to make sure you choose the best colors for your family!

About Kendra: I am a stay-at-home mother of 2 and a huge advocate of sweat pants. Though I adore my two children, I sometimes lock myself in my room with a large glass of chocolate milk and some loud rock music to keep my sanity. I am also the owner of Kendra Leigh Photography and Video which is a boutique photography studio specializing in providing an amazing experience for my clients rather than simply giving a disk or thumb drive.

Feel free to contact me via email with any questions or to set up an appointment at

The DOs and DON’Ts of Planning an Extended Family Vacation

The DO's and DON'Ts of Planning an Extended Family Vacation

A few months ago, we approached my husband’s family about doing an extended family vacation as a way to have some family bonding time and create fun memories.  Out of the six kids in his family, four live in the same state as us and within a 30 minute drive of us and each other.  His parents are also local, so we see them fairly regularly.  However, two of his other siblings and their families live in two different states, so we don’t see them very often, maybe once or twice a year and it is a rare thing to have everyone together at the same time and place.  Everyone was excited about it, but then the holidays came and life got busy and it got put on the back burner.

One day, my husband and I looked at each other and the calendar and realized we had better get a move on planning, otherwise, it wasn’t going to happen.  So over the last couple of weeks, my husband and I have been researching vacation homes.  We took it upon ourselves to find some places we thought would work for everyone and stay within a reasonable budget.  It was tedious and time-consuming and we started to get a little bugged with each other over the whole thing.  Finally, finally, after lots of emails and phone calls back and forth between siblings and parents, we made a decision on a place to stay.  Phew!  Can you say stressful?

As the saying goes, hindsight is 20/20 and I thought of some things that we should have, or shouldn’t have, done to make planning it out easier.  And I’m sharing those things with you in case you ever find yourself in a position to plan an extended family vacation.
The DO's and DON'Ts of Planning an Extended Family Vacation

DO decide on a lodging budget before you start looking
My husband and I made the mistake of assuming what everyone’s budget was based on what we had decided ours was going to be.  As we searched for homes to accommodate our large family, we had a hard time finding something we thought everyone would be happy with.  The longer it took us to decide on a place, the less options we had to choose from.  In many families, there is a range of incomes and a range where each family feels comfortable.  So while we were thinking one number in our heads and searching according to that, other people had a different number in mind.

DO prioritize amenities
The amenities, or features, that are important to you and your family will probably change depending on the location and time of year you are going on vacation.  Since we are going in the summer to a hot place, we knew everyone would want access to a pool.  In addition, kids outnumber adults and we knew that they would need activities to entertain them when we weren’t out and about.  For my husband and I, we weren’t as concerned about having a bedroom for each couple.  But for other members of the family, it was higher on the priority list.  Obviously, you can’t please everyone.  So it’s important to prioritize and be ready to compromise if needed.

DO ask for help
When all was said and done, the place we ended up choosing to stay wasn’t even one of the places my husband and I had found.  My sister-in-law found it.  Turns out she’s planned a lot of family vacations for her extended family and has a little more experience with it than my husband and I.  Looking back, we should have asked for a little bit of help instead of trying to take it all on ourselves.

The DO's and DON'Ts of Planning an Extended Family Vacation

DO start looking early 
As I mentioned previously, make sure you do the opposite of what we did and start looking early.  Whether you are looking for lodging or tickets to an event, it’s definitely worth it to schedule the time to look around and do your research.  Prices change all the time depending on demand and the closer it gets to a demand, the less options you’ll have and you just might end up putting yourself, and your family, in a hard place.

DON’T forget the purpose of the vacation
My husband and I had to keep reminding ourselves what the purpose of the vacation is: to spend time together as a family and create memories.  It’s so easy to get caught up in the details of planning because there is so much to do.  But when you take time to think about the real reasons you are getting together, other things don’t matter as much.

DON’T look at too many options or you might get overwhelmed
On the flip side of starting to look early, remember not to look at too many options, otherwise you run the risk of getting overwhelmed.  One of the parts of planning that was so stressful for my husband and I was that the homes we were looking at renting all had so many different features.  One had a private pool, another had a community pool.  One had a game room, another had only video games.  I think this goes back to remembering that prioritizing is important and that you can’t please everyone.

The DO's and DON'Ts of Planning an Extended Family Vacation

DON’T be afraid to disagree a little
Most of our communication with family throughout this process was by email.  As such, it was hard at times to tell exactly what someone meant when they asked a question or brought up a concern.  We are all reasonable people and not prone to fighting, but when it was coming up on two weeks of researching and still no decision, people started getting antsy.  While we didn’t have a fight or argument, it was clear to see that we disagreed in certain areas.  I included this “don’t” because I think that when we communicate our opinions with the intent to understand, it’s a lot easier not to take offense and to compromise.  For example, one of the places we looked at had a pool, but it didn’t appear to have a fence.  My kids are young and it made me nervous to think that they could access the pool without anyone noticing.  When I brought it up, we were able to agree that the safety of all the kids was important and that a place without a gate around the pool wasn’t a good idea.  We came to an agreement and moved on to find a solution.

DON’T expect everything to be perfect
When all is said and done, your family vacation is bound to have some hiccups.  If you know ahead of time to expect that, things will actually run more smoothly because you’ve prepared yourself.

Now that we have a place to stay, we are so excited for our vacation this summer.  And while these tips apply to our larger family, I think they are also applicable to planning a vacation for your immediate family.

What are your “do’s” and “don’t” for planning an extended family vacation?