Last month we partnered with Marriott Bonvoy and The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota for a family celebration getaway! Jenna’s family celebrates three birthdays in the month of July, so we decided to get both families together to unplug from our day-to-day and reconnect with each other. The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota was the perfect location for us to create those lasting family memories we’re already cherishing. (Do you have upcoming birthday celebrations but plan to stay home? Check out our tips on at-home birthday party essentials!)
One of the things we’re most grateful for are these beautiful family photos we have as a souvenir. In this post, we want to share our own tips and tricks for deciding outfits for family photos (click here to shop the photos). We’ll share links to the resort wear we wore and state our case for hiring a photographer during your vacation.
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Dressing the Family
We’ll be the first to admit that creating a beautiful tablescape is a walk in the park compared to dressing a whole family (or two, in our case) for photos. It can be time-consuming, confusing, expensive, and frustrating. Is it even worth all the effort? The answer is always a resounding YES once those pictures come back and we suddenly forget the late nights staring at piles of clothes on the floor.
Thankfully, Shannon is a planner and she’s sharing her tips from organizing our resort wear for the Ritz!
Start Planning Family Photo Outfits Now
Make time your asset by starting your planning now. The more time you allow for planning, shopping, and returns, the more intentional process can be for you. Once you have a vision of your outfits and know the wardrobe holes that need to be filled, you can purchase pieces with confidence while you are out and about doing regular tasks.
Get Your Vision
For this trip, we used the idea of “elevated resort wear” to guide our choices. We wanted to have our families in outfits that could easily transition from day to night and look appropriate in every setting of the resort. We recommend taking the time to identify your own key phrase or idea to help keep styling choices focused and cohesive. Here are some other suggestions for phrases we love:
- Classic casual
- Formal with a twist
- Relaxed and ready
- Cozy fun
Create Your Color Palette
We find ourselves gravitating towards more neutral-colored clothing and like to throw in pops of color; that’s frequently what guides our own color palettes when planning multiple outfits. Regardless of your preferences or family’s style–we recommend creating a palette to work from to help guide your styling choices.
An often overlooked consideration during the color paletting process is future display scenarios. Do you want to showcase these future photos somewhere in your home? Most likely, the answer is yes. Why not have the color palette work with your home decor? When your home decor and family outfits work harmoniously, it’s much easier to incorporate those images.
Work With What You Have
Start by shopping your own closet. What do you already own that fits the color palette and vision? Use that mindset and start collecting from everyone’s closets and building outfits based solely on what you already have. You might be surprised with how much you can find!
Another benefit–aside from the cost savings–is that the clothes you find at home are most likely pieces your family is already comfortable with. It’s so important to make sure your vision and palette are flexible enough to accommodate everyone’s personal style and comfort for these photos. After all, aren’t you looking to capture the personalities of the people you love just as they are?
After shopping your closet(s), you’ll have a clear understanding of the few pieces you may need to source. Knowing exactly what your needs are will make the process of shopping so much easier. Another tip we have is to not be afraid of returns! Go ahead and buy more than you need if you find yourself on the fence about pieces. Take them home and see how your new piece fits with what you already have planned. If it doesn’t work (or doesn’t fit) you can always make a return.
Pattern Play and Balance
Patterns on clothing can do so much in a family photo: they add personality, visual interest, and can help tie your color palette together. Lucky for us, Jenna’s girls love to dress alike. For our photos at the Ritz, we found that having the girls in matching outfits immediately gave feelings of intentionality and cohesion–it was magic!
It’s not all about twinning, though. A careful balance of patterns can add a lot of style. We like to make sure we have a variety of patterns going on in our outfits to keep things interesting but not confusing. We stick to one floral, one stripe, and one geometric or organic pattern. One of the best ways to check how many patterns you have going on in your planned outfits is to lay them out on a bed. Rearrange them a few times, take some pictures on your phone, and revisit your piles again in 30 minutes; we guarantee you’ll find new perspectives and new ideas.
Now that your family is ready to go and is looking better than ever, don’t trust your family photo to the skills of a passerby that struggles with your phone: hire a professional.
Why a Professional for Family Vacation Photos?
Having family photos are nice no matter how you can get them, but there’s something special when those family photos 1) Include everyone in the family and 2) Have a special meaning. Jenna’s family started this tradition when they took a trip to Arizona and had a professional take photos–suddenly their photo together was more. Their beautiful photo was tied to a meaningful memory. Now we want one for every family trip! We’re so thankful Jonathan Lipking helped us capture our celebration getaway in Sarasota.
A local professional photographer can also be key in finding the best location for your photos. After all, who has more experience in the area than them? Your photographer can even advise you on a suggested color palette for your outfits because they’re familiar with the background of your location. For example, Jenna’s photographer out in Arizona had suggestions for the family’s outfits based on the orange and red colors in the background. This kind of info is priceless when you’re away from home and not familiar with the area!
No matter how you do your photos or when, capturing these loving memories is always worth the effort.
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Friday’s Look: Family Dinner Celebration
Saturday Morning Look: Family Beach & Wellness Day
Saturday Afternoon Look: Club Level Family-Friendly Festivities
Saturday Evening Look: Birthday Suite Celebrations
(we were the only two that changed)