Friday, May 25, 2012


by Guest Blogger Katelyn Groth

Family pictures are a necessary evil to me. They are amusing to look back at and to remember a specific time in my life but is that really worth the hassle of trying to get my kids to sit still or have our outfits match? Being a person that does not enjoy having her picture taken - my answer is no.

However, if there were no photos taken of my adorable children growing up, not only would I regret it later, but I'd imagine there would be some sort of grandparent mutiny. So, I decided to grin (literally) and bear it and come up with some concepts for a new kind of family portrait. With the help of our photographer friend Leif of Leif Brandt Photography, we came up with this Mad Men-eqsue shoot. I didn't want it to look like we were in costume so I used only clothing we had on hand and to avoid being too 'matchy' we simply wore clothing in the same color family. We rearranged our living room and set-up all sorts of studio lights to get this dramatic effect. The prop styling was simple because I wanted the unique art and clothing to stand out - along with our smiling faces, of course. That particular day my oldest son was ill and my youngest was, well, not having any of it. By embracing the element of surprise and taking an obscene amount of pictures, Leif caught some of the best action shots and we were thrilled with the results.
Our second attempt to re-invent the family poses was to gather around our piano and take our look back in time. I gathered many decor items from all over the house and tried to give the feel of an old saloon. Again, to avoid buying or renting costumes, I used our own clothing in different ways. For example, I wore my great-grandmother's pocket watch as a choker and turned my brightly-printed skirt inside out for the more subtle color. By adjusting the filters and color of the prints it gave me the freedom to plan the outfits on style and fit, not on color and coordination.

Another example of my endeavor to get away from the usual mall store portraits was to set-up a studio in my garage and convince one of Leif's clients that we could make it work. Thankfully, the Esparza's were great sports and we captured their rambunctious boys in a real-life setting. While I was convinced than none of the children were in one place long enough to get a decent picture, I was amazed and thoroughly pleased with the result. This is a real modern family portrait.

I'd like to thank Susan Linnet Cox for allowing me to be a guest blogger on the Invisible Stylist! Please share comments on how you've styled your family pictures to reflect your personality.

Katelyn Groth is a stylist friend of mine specializing in architectural and lifestyle. Her work can be seen at


  1. I love these, so clever. That first pic is genius. So glad you shared these, some great ideas!

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