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How to Make Everyone Smile in Family Pictures


How to Make Everyone Smile in Family Pictures

The biggest challenge when selecting outfits for your family pictures is not coordinating pieces.  The biggest challenge is making sure everyone in the family looks like themselves.  It's easy to pick four outfits with navy and mustard yellow. And Maybe when your children are small it isn't that difficult because your kids' style is really just your style.  But as they grow and get a style of their own you need to be mindful that everyone loves what their wearing and feels great.  Because feeling great in your outfit is the difference between a good family photo and a fantastic family photo.

The O Family was super fun to work with.  They have a tween son and pre-tween daughter who know where they like to shop and have strong opinions on their outfits.  Their son is Abercrombie all the way and their daughter loves to mix prints and stand out.  Add in a preppy dad, Anthropologie loving mom and new baby and you have 5 totally different styles that need to compliment each other.

Their photo session will take place outside in the fall color and they wanted outfits to compliment the changing leaves.what to wear for fall family picturesThe result is a twirly-boho-preppy-outdoorsy look that will make everyone say CHEESE!

If your interested in our virtual styling services, send an email to  Thanks to the O Family for allowing us to open our style files to them!  We can't wait to see your pics!



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Family Style: Mom 4 Ways

Today we're going to do a little demonstration for the moms.  The moms who carefully plan out outfits for everyone else in the family and then at the last second throw something together for themselves.  Today we're showing you how your outfit is just as important as every other member of the family. All of the below Style Boards are the same except for Mom's top.  And in one case she has a dress so the jeans are removed.  Take a look at how different each Style Board looks as mom's outfit changes.

In the first outfit, a "coatigan" in navy and red brings out the darker tones in the whole family.  Adding a large print balances out the smaller prints and really creates a playful yet sophisticated style 4

The mod houndstooth dress for mom pairs well with every possible photo combination of family members.  It's flattering cut would look great on any body type!mom style 3

Sometimes moms like to keep it simple.  That's great, too.  This zipper detail ivory top looks classic and chic.  It lights and brightens the darker reds and navies.  The outfit is simple, but will look timeless in years to style 2 In the last Style Board mom is wearing a tonal print sweater.  Its a fun print that really brings out the red and is perfect for holiday card photos.  It's casual style would be a fun outdoor photo style 1


So there you can see just how big of an impact Mom has on family photos.  Which is your favorite?


These are boards for an actual styling client.  For your own styled looks for an upcoming event or photo session, send an email to

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Fall Family Styling

Sweaters are on the brain as we have started our fall styling season.  The Chicago air has been cool and crisp and served for great inspiration.  Here are some looks we've put together for a couple of our favorite family clients this Fall. Our first family has three older brothers and then a baby sister that is just too cute.  Mom likes her to stand out in prints.  The boys each have their own style, from bow ties to casual and we work each one in so they all feel comfortable and great in what they're wearing.

fall fashion for kids 2

Since the sisters in this family started wearing uniforms for school, they've rebelled against dresses on the weekends.  Not a problem, these darling sweaters and skinny cords are stylish and perfect for fall foliage.  Baby brother gets a coordinating look with the most adorable tweed shoes ever.


fall fashion for kids


We hope these looks have given you some fall inspiration for your family photos.  If you would like custom looks for your family, send an email to and we'll get to work!


How To Have The #BestNightEver at the Taylor Swift 1989 World Tour with Kids


How To Have The #BestNightEver at the Taylor Swift 1989 World Tour with Kids

The Taylor Swift 1989 World Tour was the #BestNightEver.  Like #RIPme and we had #zerochill.  Tay Tay was amazing and we danced until 11:30 p.m.  With our kids ages 5-9.  It's a long, epic night and we put together a list of how to have the #bestnightever at the Taylor Swift 1989 World Tour with kids.


1. Plan transportation early.

This was going to be a late night and we wanted it t be as easy as possible for the kids.  We booked a hotel room at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place which happens to be the taxi/limo drop-off point for Soldier Field in Chicago and the least amount of walking as possible to and from the concert venue.  We arrived early to avoid the crazy traffic and blasted the 1989 album while the girls got ready.


mothers and daughters go to the 1989 world tour

2.  Outfits are everything.

I learned this at the Taylor Swift RED tour.  Swifties take their concert wardrobe extremely serious.  We got the girls coordinating outfits to look like the ballerinas in the Shake It Off video.  Their outfits were a huge hit from everyone in the hotel elevators to other Swifties in the stands.

1989 custom tanks

taylor swift song lyric tanks

taylor swift

3.  Posters could be as big a deal as outfits.

Get out the craft box and work on your poster ahead of time.  This beauty is made out of glitter glue and features the title track on the 1989 album altered to highlight our hometown.  If you want your sign to light up, use battery powered light packs.  Since her show is entirely in the dark, light up signs work best.  Also, use the foam core board and not regular poster board.  Poster board is too flimsy and will end up a mess by the end of the night.

girls making concert poster



4.  Don't make your kids cry

The bracelets they pass out when you're walking in are a big part of the show.  Make sure everyone in your group gets one or there will be tears.  Lots and lots of tears.  Concert t-shirts sell out fast, especially in small sizes.  By the time we got there in the first opening act all x-smalls were sold out and there were few smalls left.  Purchase souvenirs early to avoid tears.

Here's an Instagram video to show how it all comes together:  CLICK HERE

5.  Keep the excitement going

There are three opening acts before Taylor goes on at 9:20.  Yes, 9:20!  Unless your kids are huge Vance Joy or HAIM fans, by 8:30 they might start to drag.  Get a concession snack, take a walk around the arena, try to meet up with friends in a different location to say hi, you get the idea.


6.  Shake it off!

When Taylor comes out the excitement is so huge it's hard to ignore.  Get up and dance, sing along, have the time of your life!  The kids who had the most fun had the parents who had the most fun.  Betsy and I had a blast dancing the night away with the girls!  Also a heads up, Shake it Off is last and closes the show.  Don't leave early.  Just be prepared for it to take forever to exit the arena and get back to your hotel/taxi/car and be ready to walk/sit in traffic for a long time.  And know that your kids will be tired and may start to melt down but it was all worth it.


1989 world tour chicago

1989 world tour chicago


8.  Keep the bracelets

The bracelets still work!  They are now motion activated and their favorite new accessory.  Our kids wear them on their ankles and while they may look like they are under house arrest, they are really cool when you play outside at night.



Tay Tay, she told us we could call her Tay Tay, was so great.  She puts on a show you are happy to take your daughter to sharing her words of wisdom on loving yourself above all else.  Happy to have her as my girls' 'most favorite singer of all time for always.'  Thanks for giving us the best night ever, Taylor!


Hotel:  Hyatt McCormick Place Chicago

Concert Tanks:  Pockets Full of Glitter, Crown Point, IN



There are our 8 tips for having the best night ever with your kids at the Taylor Swift 1989 World Tour.  Have you been or are you planning to go?  Leave your tips in the comment section and we'll add them in!



Family Style:  The World of Ralph Lauren


Family Style: The World of Ralph Lauren

Growing up, I loved the "World of Ralph Lauren" commercials.  Everyone was smiling and happy, wearing gorgeous clothes.  After watching the commercial - remember when we watched commercials?! - my sister and I would say "I want to live in the world of Ralph Lauren."  And after 8 years of family pictures where we have mixed and matched designers for our family, this session we went full out Ralph Lauren.

All too often we hear "stay away from prints!' when planning outfits for family pictures.  We say the opposite.  We say the more prints the better!  The key to mixing prints for family pictures is layering.  Textures with small prints, medium prints and large prints to scale with the size of the person can make for stunning photos.  Here was our inspiration board for this photo shoot.

The ribbon on the pink dress coordinates with the green striped dress.  The white lace dress works as a neutral but also adds a layer of texture and dimension.  The blues in the guys' shirts highlights the blues in the girls' stripes.  For the boys shirts I did shop in person.  I brought the belt with me to make sure colors were a good compliment.  When planning outfits, you'll want to make sure all family members outfits look great together.  In this set, you can mix and match any parents and children and have a great combo.

Here is the result:

Ralph Lauren

what to wear for family photos

what to wear for family photos

what to wear for family photos

how to mix prints for family pictures

chicago family photo locations

coordinating outfits for family pictures

museum of science and industry for family photos

how to mix prints for family photos

I just love how these pictures turned out.  Every combination of family members' outfits look great together.  You would never know we had to cross a muddy river with children on our backs to get to the garden that was under construction.  It was a little tricky to get to the World of Ralph Lauren, but it was totally worth it!  The colors look amazing and the prints just make the images pop.

Just to keep score, in these photos we have horizontal stripes, vertical stripes, plaid, solid and solid colored lace.  With thoughtful planning, the prints compliment each other and don't compete.

What do you think?  Do you mix prints?

Photo Session Details

Styling:  TLSF Styling Services

Photographer:  Gina Cristine Photography

Clothing:  Ralph Lauren

Location:  Museum of Science and Industry, Japanese Garden in Chicago

Need hel styling your family for photos?  Contact TLSF Styling Services at to learn more about virtual styling.