Start with Mom!
Okay, Moms... we are always the ones behind the cell phone cameras and people never think to take pictures with us. Or when they do, we complain because we don't have makeup on or are in a pair of yoga pants just trying to survive motherhood. Am I right? So, this is your time to feel pretty! Find an outfit that you feel comfortable in, but pretty in. A fun, patterned dress is great! (Patterns help hide undergarment lines!) Long Maxi-skirts or dresses are fun too. Be mindful of if bra straps will show though! I personally love to wear a comfy sweater and my best-fitting jeans to my own family session, but sweaters are my comfort thing and I want to relax and enjoy my family at my family session.
Speaking of that, make sure that the outfit you pick you don't need to fuss with. Once you put the outfit on, in front of the mirror, twist and turn in all directions and see how it looks. If your kiddo is patient enough, pick them up and hold them on your hip while you are in the outfit. Does it tug to one side too much? You don't want to be worried where your blouse is or such- you want to be confident in any and all positions you may be in at your session.
Lastly, with regard to your outfit, I will remind you that dark colors are sliming.
Build colors from Mom's Outfit
Take a look at what you (Mom) are wearing. If you are adding a scarf with orange in it, put an orange sweater on one of the kids. If you are wearing a blue patterned dress, put Dad in a solid blue shirt. Then, take another color from your outfit (either from the pattern or your dress or another clothing article you are wearing) and make sure the kids have that incorporated in a top or bottom. Build from there! Feel free to branch in colors too- not everything has to be tied into one another. If Dad has a dark shirt, consider putting a light colored bottom. Contrast helps to keep the eye moving family in photos in a good way.
Most dads are super thrilled about family photos, so you have to balance how much energy you put into dressing him. If you spend too much time fussing about his outfit, he will get annoyed at the whole process and that will sour the experience before we even get there. So, pick a couple shirt options for him and get his buy in. He likely will enjoy having a say. Just make sure you equally like both options you give him so you don't do the typical woman-thing of, "Oh, are you sure? I really liked the other one..." He will not enjoy that, sorry.
My favorite things for dad to wear are a long-sleeved, button up shirt (top button unbuttoned) with the arms rolled up and a pair of decent jeans. If he wants to wear a T-shirt, try one that is more than just a basic tee. For example, see if it can have some slight texture (waffle-weave, slub-knit) or maybe a V-neck. Please check to make sure that the shirt is long enough to cover his backside well enough if he bends down to play with the kids. Even if he is a plumber, we don't need him to look like it in the photos. ;-)
Sweaters are fabulous for fall and winter!
One other thing to note, I will get Dad playing with the kids, so make sure he can move easily to toss the kiddos and that he won't overheat once he does get moving. Comfort again, is important when dressing Dad!
Dressing the Kids
Let the kids be your color pop! This can be a great way to add some zest to your family photos. Since they are often smaller than you as the adult, their brightly colored outfit will be smaller and less overwhelming visually. One way to look at it, is find a complimentary color to the parental outfits. If you and your husband are in navy & cream, dress them in a rust colored orange. If you and your significant other are in neutral colors, put them in a deep red color.
Dress them in something they can run in! We want to capture you playing with your kids! If they are worried about getting it dirty, or can't walk well in it, etc, they will feel awkward and shy during the session.
Shoes? No Shoes?
Okay, I know... as a mom you want to look amazing for these photos. Which likely means you want to wear heels. I don't blame you. I have many beautiful heels. The truth is though.... leave the heels at home. To get those connected, loving photos, you need to be able to move freely and easily. Also, many parks have pretty uneven ground and you really don't want to twist your ankle. If you have a good pair of wedges, or chunky heels, you could probably be okay. You do want to be pain-free though, so just contemplate some cute flats. If you love heels more than life, then please bring some flats and change into them for a few photos. That way we get the best of both worlds.
Have you considered going barefoot? Barefoot family photos in a park are adorable!!! If that is an interest of yours, I am happy to suggest parks that are a little more manicured and would be lovely for some barefoot photos. :-)