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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West MI Portrait Locations

Hey friends, I’m so excited to share this with you. When I first started photographing portraits I had the hardest time finding nice places to shoot photos outdoors. Most times it was because the places I knew of attracted a lot of people which made it very difficult to shoot kids who were over stimulated by the multiple things going on. I’d love to share with you some of my favorite places and maybe a few secret places I go.

1.) Motmans’s Orchard: 0-2617 River Hill Dr, Grand Rapids, MI 49534  Visit Their Website Owned by Bob and Marty Motman. Ran by Mike and Beth. Photographers should make sure to call ahead and ask permission to use the orchard.

2.) Rosy Mound: 13925 Lakeshore Dr, Grand Haven, MI 49417  Visit Their Website Cost to Park: $7 daily permits regardless of residency (Machines take credit cards) Only Applicable Memorial day through Labor Day.

3.) Spring Grove Park: 1800 Greenly St, Grandville, MI 49418  Visit Their Website FYI: This is also a wedding venue. For me, I find Sundays-Thursdays are the best days to come here.

4.) Downtown Rockford: I Park at Rockford Brewing Company 12 E Bridge St NE, Rockford, MI 49341 You’ll have the Dam to the North and the Metal Bridge to the south.($15.00 will be added for additional miles from studio for this location) .55/mile greater than 20 miles from studio.

5.) Grand Ravine Park North: 9920 42nd Ave Jenison MI 49428 Website For North & South To get to the covered bridge you’ll drive east until you come to a parking lot next to the Grand Ravines Lodge. The Bridge is down the hill.

6.) Grand Ravine Park South: 3991 Filmore ST Jenison MI 49428 Website For North & South (A VERY Popular Destination in the Fall)

7.) 8th Ave Park: 7050 8th Avenue JenisonMI  49428 Visit Their Website FYI Non-Resident Fee $5.00/person, or a maximum of $10.00 per vehicle. (I have yet to be stopped to pay the fee. Not sure when this is applied)

8.) Grand River Park: 9473 28th Ave. Jenison, MI 49428  Visit Their Website Not to be confused with the Ravines (A lot of my clients do)

9. Ada’s Covered Bridge: 7490 Thornapple River Dr SE, Ada, MI 49301 ($17.00 will be added for additional miles from studio for this location) .55/mile greater than 20 miles from studio.

10.) Downtown Grand Rapids: This spot is located right across from the Amtrak station: 440 Century Ave SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 ($10.00 will be added for additional miles from studio for this location one time for all of Grand Rapids) .55/mile greater than 20 miles from studio.

11.) Downtown Grand Rapids Art Museum Fountain: 101 Monroe Center St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 ($10.00 will be added for additional miles from studio for this location one time for all of Grand Rapids) .55/mile greater than 20 miles from studio.

12.) Downtown Grand Rapids: Stella’s Lounge 53 Commerce Ave SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 ($10.00 will be added for additional miles from studio for this location one time for all of Grand Rapids) .55/mile greater than 20 miles from studio.

13.) Downtown Grand Rapids Beautiful White Brick 330 Market Ave SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 ($10.00 will be added for additional miles from studio for this location one time for all of Grand Rapids) .55/mile greater than 20 miles from studio.

14.) Van Raalte Farm Park: 1076 E 16th St, Holland, MI 49423  Visit their Website

15.) Morning Side Park:  across the street from Covenant Presbyterian Church 1015 E 32nd St, Holland, MI 49423 (Parking Available at the church)  Visit their website

16.) Studio 3 is an indoor location found at 1111 Godfrey #330Grand Rapids, Michigan Scheduling and Pricing. For my clients I add this to the contract if this is the location chosen. Feel free to browse the Facebook page for other information and photos Studio 3 Facebook Page

17.) Aquinas College 1700 Fulton St E, Grand Rapids, MI 49506 Provides lots of shade for day time photos. ($10.00 will be added for additional miles from studio for this location one time for all of Grand Rapids) .55/mile greater than 20 miles from studio.

 

(This Blog Page will be periodically updated with new information)


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