It’s still meltingly hot here in California, but pumpkin spice lattes have come out and I know that elsewhere in the world, leaves are starting to turn and the weather is cooling down, which means it’s time for Fall Sessions. When it comes to session prep, one of the most important things is coordinating clothing for a family session. You want everyone to look good separately, but you also need each person’s outfit to work well no matter what combination of parents and siblings is in the photo. I picked out a stunning session by photographer Bre Thurston with an extremely fashionable family as an example.

Let’s break down why this look works. First of all, the overall look is cohesive. The mom and daughters all have a flowy and bohemian style emphasized by the girls’ headbands and mom’s long loose hair. Dad’s outfit is a little more clean-cut, but still casual with the untucked shirt and rolled up sleeves. One of my favorite things to tell clients is that they should coordinate, not match, and mom (who is also a photographer!) followed this rule perfectly. Everyone is in different shades of pink/red/purple with a little blue and neutrals thrown in there. Very few of the shades actually match exactly, but because they are all in the same family, the outfits work together. (pictured above)

0025 Griggs San Francisco Family Session

Mix it up

This family also wasn’t afraid to mix up the patterns. People often shy away from too many patterns, but I love that mom’s skirt and the two dresses all have different patterns. Here, keeping the patterns smaller helps them mix together better. Farther away, the lighter pink dress almost acts like a solid because the pattern is so subtle, but up close, you can see how much fun texture it adds to the photo. Sticking to solid colors for dad and mom’s shirt helps the patterns from the girls pop more and gives them a clean slate to work with. If you’re overwhelmed by picking out patterns, stick to just one or two to add some texture and interest and keep the patterns small. Picking something in lace, like Mom’s shirt, is another way to add texture while sticking to a solid color.

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Extras

Another thing that makes these outfits stand out so much is the awesome accessories and layering. Dad and both girls are wearing vests that bring another element to the photos. They’re all solid colors, which work with the patterns and help tie everything together. I absolutely love the girl’s headbands and Mom’s bracelets because they really emphasize the bohemian vibe.

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Get the look

I set about recreating the style of this session and here is my take on the family’s outfits. I decided to take the colors a little darker to bring it into fall. As you can see, I stuck to smaller patterns, with Mom’s skirt just a little bit bolder. I loved the look of the layered vests, so I made sure to keep that in the outfits.

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Pick a style and add accessories to really bring it out. Using lots of smaller patterns gives texture and interest without overwhelming. And, as always, coordinate, don’t match!

All photos by Bre Thurston.