It's autumn and the leaves are changing to beautiful hues of yellow, red and green. As a photographer, this is my favorite time of year to capture photos. One of my favorite sessions to date was photographing the beautiful Mallin Family at Tilles Park in St. Louis, Missouri. Their smiles radiated the kindness of their hearts, and their coordinated dress was just icing on the cake.

Coordinating - but not matching

The key to a cohesive family photo is to complement one another without copying one another. Now, there's a time and a place for the matching PJ photoshoot, but these stunning autumnal leaves deserve to be highlighted by complementary fashion. Am I taking my obsession with fall too far? Perhaps. But hear me out...

The Mallin Family chose forest green as their complementary color. You'll see each family member shared the same color somewhere in their outfit - just enough to make a cohesive look, but nothing too overt. I love the way that this shade of green contrasts against the yellow leaves. To date, it's one of my favorite colors to incorporate into fall family sessions.


Patterns can bring a necessary dimension to photos, but you want to be careful about how you pair these patterns with others in your photo session. If there are too many patterns it will be too distracting from the true purpose of the photo - you. In this family shoot, Margaret wore a beautiful patterned dress with little hints of forest green, the key to the success of this pairing is that the rest of her family wore solids. In general, I suggest avoiding patterns in family photos, unless only one person commits to the pattern while the rest commit to solids that complement the pattern.

Be Authentic to you

When choosing what to wear, make sure that you're selecting an outfit that you would wear, and complements your natural style. Choosing something that you saw on social media, but wouldn't normally wear, won't reflect your authenticity in the photo. We want your photos to be a representation of you and your style, not someone else and their style. If you're comfortable in what you're wearing, that will show in the photos. As the saying goes, "If you look good, you feel good" (and I'm taking the liberty of adding this last part) "and if you feel good, your photos will be good."

A moment for these super cute sweaters...

When I shared these photos to my Instagram page, I received so many messages from people asking where Margaret got the boys their sweaters. I'm grateful that she shared with me the website. You can find their customized knitted sweaters here (you're welcome).


  • Patterned dress including complementary colors matching the rest of the family
  • Maxi or midi dress
  • Sweater dress with booties
  • Vest over a flowy top with jeans
  • Knitted top with jeans and loafers


  • Quarter zip layered over a flannel shirt
  • Color chinos (like burgundy, forest green)
  • Button up tucked into jeans with loafers
  • Vest over a jean button up



  • Knitted romper with collared undershirt
  • Cardigan over denim shirt
  • Overalls
  • Corduroy skirt with gem-toned tights
  • Knee high socks
  • Sweater dress with booties


  • Crew neck sweater
  • Quarter zip
  • Flannel button up with vest
  • Khaki pants
  • Gem-toned Chinos

Thank you, Mallin Family, for letting me capture your beautiful fall photos!