10 Tips for Family Photos – Part 1

Ok so I know I’m a photographer but family photos are the most stressful for me. I think it’s probably good to do it once a year so I can at least put myself in your shoes and know what you’re going through. From coordinating outfits, picking the best spot to have them taken and then getting everyone “clean” and ready. Then there is me, mom who needs to look presentable except I’m probably the least of what I “think” I need to look like because of the lack of time left. Am I the only one out there or are there others that feel like me? Well I have decided that it is time to list out 10 things to help make things a little bit easier for you during this stressful time. I mean we gotta do it right? It’s a must, a memory of us in time.

What will we wear

1) COORDINATE, DON’T MATCH.

I know. It used to be a thing – everyone would wear the exact same outfit: think jeans and a white t-shirt. 2008, we even did it. I think this was the point in time that we all thought this was what we wanted. And while I wouldn’t change those captured memories, we have all moved on and learned to be more stylish. Choose a color scheme – mix and match colors so that everyone flows and coordinates.

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Photo Credit Thompson Studios

2) START WITH ONE PIECE AND BUILD

When I don’t know what colors I want to choose for a photo shoot, I choose one piece and build around it. For this shoot below, Christy is wearing a vibrant yellow top which coordinates very well with blue (and makes her brown eyes pop!) If you’re unsure of what colors to put together feel free to Check out my pinterest board here! Think layers (if the season allows it) lots of textures make for a vibrant photo. Be careful though, you don’t want to take away from those in your photo with you. (You wouldn’t want some huge scarf that covers your entire neck and face!)

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3) PLAN IN ADVANCE

The more time you allow yourself to decide what you would like everyone to wear, the more calm you will feel. Waiting until two nights before your shoot is bound to make you feel panicked. What if something you choose doesn’t fit, you can’t find the right shoes or your five year old refuses your chosen outfit? Just give yourself time. Additionally: options never hurt.

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4) KEEP YOUR LOCATION IN MIND

Are you going to be on the beach? Surrounded by beautiful foliage? Sometimes you can choose what you are wearing to accent the locale. Fall colors – deep reds, oranges and greens look lovely this time of year, while a softer palette accents the lake side.   (suggested locations)

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5) AVOID BEING TOO SEASONAL

Since you ultimately want your pictures to be up all year long, you’ll likely want to avoid being too seasonal, so you may want to skip Santa hats, reindeer ears or Halloween costumes – even if you are taking specific holiday pictures.

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6) CONSIDER YOUR HOME DECOR

Matching your clothing to your home decor? I know it may sound silly, but this is more about matching your personal style. As you will likely want your pictures to be on display for a very long time, consider if you are normally drawn to bold colors or neutral ones. This will allow your photographs to blend seamlessly with your home permanently.

7) COMFORT MATTERS

Give your kids a look that says who they are. While I may want to put my daughter in some cute jeans she would rather be in a “fancy” dress any day. It’s about compromise and to show who ya’ll are in this point in time.

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Photo Credit the amazing self timer

8) SKIP THE EXTRA PATTERNS

That favorite sweater or scarf or yours? You know the really loud one with the stripes AND dots?  A little bit of texture or patterning can be a good thing in one place, but if there are multiple patterns in a photo, it can be distracting. Take for instance this photo above. There are subtle patterns. Any more and it would be too busy.

9) JUST SAY NO TO CHARACTERS

I know your sweet girl loves her Frozen Dress and crown, but as this is a more formal photo and one you want to put on display, it is best to keep characters out of the picture. If this might be a fight, you can always bring the crown and much like my family ALWAYS does at least one crazy/silly/funny face photo, make the Princess photo one of the last ones you do.

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10) THINK TIMELESS

Fashions and styles come and go. You want your family photos to be timeless, so it is best to aim for a look you’re willing to stick with, not one that instantly dates you. Just as we can easily point to wedding photos from the 80’s, noting the hairstyles, the goofy sleeves and lace, your goal is to have this year’s photographs blend right in.

I hope this helps, and have fun!

Cover Image of my family courtesy of Dany C Photography.

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