I bet if you think real hard about your life, you could tell me a weird story about an experience getting your photo taken. It might even involve some Old Navy flag tees. Family Photos can be strange and wonderful things. But my hope is to make them a little more wonderful and a whole lot less strange. If you’ve ever had a question about family photos, I hope it gets answered here. If not, you know where to find me.
So you all want to look nice together, but you’re also trying to avoid Justin + Britney circa 2001. I got you.
I get asked about wardrobe more than just about anything else when it comes to family photos. So I’m here to help.
There’s quite a bit to consider when it comes to finding the right clothes for your session.
I’ve taken photos of families in everything from pajamas to tuxes and gowns – and I love it ALL. If you want photos in your home, let me come early and spend the morning photographing what breakfast looks like in your house. If you’re looking for something a little fancy, get all dressed up and we’ll go to the art museum. What does your family love to do together? Every family’s different, so your photos should be, too.
I want everyone to have some fun while we take photos together. If your clothes are restraining, your photos will show it. My goal is to make this experience the best it can be, and the clothes you choose can play a huge role in whether or not that’s true. Sweaters aren’t a good idea in the summer, and if you’re going to need to adjust your dress the whole time, you should probably pick something else to wear. If you can keep them in good condition, I would suggest wearing the clothes you have planned for your session out of the house for a few hours to see how they feel. That way, there won’t be any surprises.
The key to a good family photo wardrobe is to choose clothes that look nice together without “matching.” Sometimes choosing a color “family” to base everyone’s clothes around can really help. Jewel tones are great for fall. Neutrals with a pop of color can be the perfect spring choice. If you need help getting started, I’ve created a few resources to help. Here are some color palettes that I love, and a little more practically, here are some family photo outfits that I think work really well. If you’re not sure how your clothes will all work together in a photo, my advice is to lay everything (shoes, socks, jewelry, everything) out together on the floor or on your bed so you can see it all as it will be in a photo. This is an easy way to see what may need changed. A few things to avoid are logos or words of any kind on your clothing, small patterns (they generally don’t photograph well), and most hats because they can generally be distracting.
Don’t forget the details! We may see your socks at some point, and we’ll definitely see your shoes. Make sure you’re happy with the way you look from head to toe. Moms – this is a great excuse to go get your hair and makeup done by a professional.
Preparing for your session.
The younger your kids are, the more important preparation is. Because we need to work around the sun to create the photos you’re looking for, it can often affect bed time. Make sure you come to your session well rested, and well fed! Sometimes it takes a little bribery to get what we need, so make sure to pack some snacks and water for the kids! Bringing a blanket with you to sit on is also super helpful!
Come with no expectations.
Family photos never feel the way you’re expecting. Your kids will behave better or worse than you expect. The weather won’t be what you think it will be. These expectations can make the process a whole lot harder for everyone involved. Just come to have fun, and we’ll get some great photos in the process, I promise.
Sessions with me are super laid back. This time in your life is short, and I want to capture things just the way they are – missing teeth and all. ; ) Once we arrive at the location we’ve chosen, we’ll spend most of our time wandering around and playing together. I like to keep things moving because that keeps kids engaged. We’ll generally spend between 90 minutes and two hours together (depending on how your kids are doing.) One of the most important things is to allow time for your photos. I suggest setting aside the evening so you don’t feel rushed because like all good things, photos take time. 3-4 weeks after our session, you’ll receive your full gallery of images.
What to do (& what not to do)
Be a willing participant.
Your experience with family photos in the past may be in a stuffy studio, or with crying babies and you might not look back on these times very fondly. Well all that’s about to change. I’m not going to ask you to put your left hand over your right. You can even put your hands in your pockets! You can (and are encouraged) to run around with your kids and to lift them in the air. This is your one family and these kids are your legacy. Let’s spend two hours of uninterrupted time together, and make some memories in the process.
Have some dang fun.
It might surprise you that kids are often much better at family photos than parents. Over the years, I’ve noticed that parents can be more focused on making sure their kids are doing what they’re supposed to be doing than having fun themselves. Your kids are going to be kids. They’re going to run around. They’re going to talk when you don’t want them to. They’re going to be more interested in everything else than the camera. But that’s okay.
If you hear one thing from me, let it be this.
Please relax and let your kids be kids. Don’t ask them to smile big – do something that makes them smile. Play with them. Run around with them. Have fun with them. Fun photographs well.
Your photos are what you make of them and I want to help you make them the best they can be.
I’ll leave you with one last thought.
Family photos might seem like a small thing, but they can play an important role in the way your children see themselves. I’d encourage you to take just a few minutes to read this article. You’re not just gaining a new profile photo, you’re making an impact in the lives of your sweet little ones.