By Tashia Rahl

So lately, I have been asked to style families for their holiday portraits. Most want the proverbial white shirts and jeans…some prefer the black tops and khakis.

I can never get enough of styling the individuals. I do love a family in all snow white tops and faded blue jeans and bare feet, but if even one person just doesn’t look good in white – it ruins the whole portraiture. We take photographs for life long adornment. Why would we put a pale-skinned young Irish beauty in white if she has forest green eyes or indigo blue eyes that are yearning for enhancement? We wouldn’t. We would bring her some options of blouses that appreciate her alabaster skin, intensify her eye color, and of course, flatter her shape. Depending on who surrounds this jeune fille, we coordinate appropriately. […maybe in white tops and faded jeans.]

Although it becomes a sort of Rubik’s cube, we style ensembles for an individual’s physique and, when possible, personality traits. It is indeed the individuals that make a family, but it’s the coordination of the ensembles that presents the family as a unit.

We have a Delray Beach Latino family for instance… They all wanted to wear white. We styled them in white and took the photos. As the photographer was coming to a close, we insisted that they don their beloved red low cut tops and fitted shirts with dark blue jeans for a few last shots. Even though I cannot stand the color red personally, my job is to bring out the best features of individuals. They not only chose the red group as their holiday card, they enlarged it to a 30” X 45” on canvas and mounted it in their dining room! The white was very nice, but it didn’t reveal the authenticity of the family’s true vibe.

There is another family in Weston that just migrated here from New York. There was no question: black was “the only option.” We shot black all day…until 4:30 – then, we brought out cocktails and persuaded them to all try on hunter green, cool, hip, urban-chic vintage sweat shirts with faded ripped jeans and designer driving loafers – why on earth did they chose this one? Because it represented more of who they are: green eyed beauties – all of them! With relaxed casual personalities…

For families who are all blond blue-eyed cuties – flowy white and crisp khaki’s go great at the beach [when the ocean is blue] but it’s tempting to add style elements that reflect the family and what they’re about. If a family has a son who has literally spent 9 ½ years playing baseball…the UNOBVIOUS ball in his hand adds a sliver of flavor.. If the family has had a pet through all of their times of trials and tribulations – how could you not reflect that in history? One of our favorite shots is an engagement portrait of the groom’s right bicep [unusually toned and muscular…] wrapped around his ravishing, soon-to-be… his tuxedo and shirt are without sleeves. His tattoos blend into his black skin. Her dress is exquisitely draped around her delicate, firm body. It’s about a man and a woman who have begun a new partnership: THEIR WAY.

Family portraits are forever: style them for who they really are.

Tashia Rahl – the HLN company, inc – image management and fashion styling for men women and children.  Learn more at or call Tashia for a consultation at 561.573.9003

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