A Guide To Planning Natural Family Photos

A Guide To Planning Natural Family Photos

We sat down with Carissa Long, owner and founder of Tusc and had her share her insight and tips to curating the perfect outfits and aesthetic for family photos! Carissa is queen of styling the most effortless and authentic photo scenes with her littles so we asked her a few questions and hope this guide serves as inspiration for you and your next family photo session. 

+ When it comes to family photos, what are 3 aspects or elements you are looking for?

1) firstly, I have always loved film photography. I love that images on film are unedited and natural; that some images may come out hazy or sometimes blurry. I love when photos don’t look “perfect” or “staged” and I feel like film captures real moments. Plus you have to wait to see the images after they are developed vs digital images that pop up right on the screen, I think it adds to the simplicity of it all. 

2) Beautiful scenery with lots of open space. I don't love when the background has anything too commercial or crowded. I love open fields, the sea, dunes at the beach, in the midst of a forest, or anything natural and in a place that you love! Pick the scenario that you love and feel most comfortable and yourself in! This is also helpful when you think of printing the photos for your home, you want the photos to capture all that you love.

3) Bring snacks and props. Snacks to keep the kiddos engaged and happy. And props like a favorite blanket or basket that means something to y'all. Get a shot or two with those special items to create a memory your family could look back on in years to come.

*also, to add, we always go barefoot in our family shoots because we hardly ever wear shoes on a regular basis haha


+ How do you pick out outfits for the family? Tips for dressing the littles

So basically I try to get things that look like what my nuggets normally would be seen in, but elevated. So for my daughter Asher (5) She loves a twirly dress and florals so for our last family session I picked a beautiful one that was sweet and feminine but also neutral enough to go with the rest of our look (soft pinks + greens and some tan). For the boys, my middle son Curren (3) I had to bribe with an Ollie Pop not to wear a shirt with a fish on it haha. I put him in his favorite camel toned pants and a neutral top that wasn't a tee shirt. For lil nug Beni (almost 1) I put him in a dark floral top with some knit sage bloomers. (All my babes were dressed in Tusc selects except Ashers dress is from Auguste the label)


My fave thing to do for boys is to always oversize their shirts and make sure their bottoms fit justttt right. Its like the cool guy at school who never wore tight clothes, always effortlessly loose and handsome haha. 

As for me, I like to do something i feel lovely in but also not an outfit that i have to adjust a lot. I love wrap dresses that flow with the wind and a fabric that looks and feels like me. It doesn't have to be a 'certain' color or print as long as the colors flow with the others. Warm tones and whimsical patterns or solids are normally my fave. For my hubs (not pictured in these shots.. these were just a spontaneous mommy and kids shoot) He loves to wear neutral something from a surfing company so its more laid back- the key is dressing everyone in what they normally wear, but elevated 


+ How do you keep things natural and unique for your photos?

When it comes to photos I would say our style is, photo journalism or lifestyle vibes. I do not want to be in one spot cheesing so hard and it not feel like the positions we would naturally be in.

So if you were at this shoot we would be walking to a scenic spot and having our photog (here is our girl Abbie Thumler-Robins) walking behind us. capturing all the natural moments of the kids looking and laughing and exploring! Or sitting on the end of a dock looking at fish or the boats ride by. Basically anything 'doing'. I feel like this captures a day in the life and moments you want to look back on. Get creative with your photographer and think of ways to let your kids shine through the photos; If your kiddo loves skateboarding let them do a couple moves in front of the camera, or if your little loves dancing, let them have a moment to jump and twirl- anything fun like that!


+ Where do you print your photos and how do you style them in your home?

I love Artifact Uprising! We go to thrift stores and find old frames together, like wooden, brass, or fun ones that are full of character so they feel laid back and retro. 


thank you so much for reading with us! We hope this guide served as a bit of encouragement and gave you a few ideas for the next time you plan a family photoshoot with your loved ones! 

be sure to check out our wide selection of “littles” clothes when curating your photo fits and even pick up a special piece of your own.

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