You are not going to want to hear this, but ...

I absolutely do NOT want you to look like everyone else. I don't want to send you to a list of approved stores, or have a closet full of dresses for borrowing. There are so many fantastic photographers in Ottawa who offer this type of detailed styling and do it so well. But my goal is always to highlight all the amazing things that make your family YOU! So maybe your pre-schooler is wearing a princess dress she outgrew last season, or maybe your teen is in an all black phase. But all those things are part of your story right now. These photos will absolutely be a time capsule in your life and I want them to reflect your story!

That doesn't mean you can't look your best!

Ok, disclaimer out of the way, let's talk about some of the ways you can choose outfits that will photograph well and still reflect your family's personalities. A few things to avoid are everyone in matching outfits. I know that was a thing for a minute in the 90's, but everyone in jeans and a white tee is never going to look natural in real life! Big logos or words or graphics tend to be distracting and can take attention away from the moments that are happening. And finally avoid anything that you can't move freely in or isn't comfortable. I will have you dancing, sitting, lifting kids, etc and if you can't do it in what you have chosen I highly suggest picking something else.

dress for the weather

Spring weather in Ottawa is all over the map and I have never met a toddler who was happy to take photos when they were freezing cold. Layers are your friend! Vests, spring coats, long sleeves all add warmth as well as a layer of style. I aim for most spring sessions to be in the afternoon/evening for the most warmth possible, but you just never know!

check your closets!

It's super tempting to go and buy everyone something brand new, but I highly recommend trying out what you already have so we can do our part to reduce fashion waste. If you do get something new, especially for kids, give it a test run before photo session day to make sure everything fits well, is comfortable and any itchy tags are removed.

The best way to look coordinating without being too matchy is to choose 2 colours and 1-2 neutrals and collect everyone's outfits that fit those colours and lay them out together on a bed or the floor. Then you can take a look and see if one colour is a bit too heavy, or a shade of another doesn't quite fit. It's a great idea to add lots of different textures and fabrics. This creates visual differences without being as overwhelming as multiple competing patterns. So bring out knits, swishy dresses, quilted vests, crisp button ups and add some of those into the mix. And you can always snap a pic of your ideas and send it to me at if you want another opinion!

be YOU!

And finally, be yourself. If you are not normally a heels and dress type of person, don't feel the need to bring those out for a photo session. My family and I love colour, so we always rock most of the rainbow in our own sessions - but if you typically wear more neutrals that's great too. I have Pinterest boards with ideas, but again, they are just that - ideas. There is no hard rule here, everything I've talked about is a suggestion or ideas. It was so hard to find pins that included colours other than neutrals. And so often we strive to be worthy of the style of everyone else on social media. Or to get the latest outfit another influencer wore. But the truth of it is we all have our own personalities and I would absolutely LOVE to document all of you exactly how you are. I promise, you are beautiful!

Kate Steele is a professional photographer based in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Specializing in documenting the un-posed love, the genuine joy, and all the other real life stuff happening around us. Offering lifestyle newborn, family and couple photography in Ottawa. For behind the scenes and current work please follow along on Instagram!