The house is a mess, the kids shoes are scuffed and outgrown, and you have no idea how you are going to get the them to just hold still and smile for a dang picture. Relax, breathe. I'll take care of the smiles, you can have fun planning the families outfits in minutes with some helpful styling tips and shopping links right from the comfort of your couch. Together, we've got this!
A few tips for getting the whole family into the right headspace before your session!
I love figuring out how to make your kids smile and laugh. I always have a few tricks up my sleeve, and often it’s just a matter of letting me talk to them for a few minutes to connect. As tempted as we all are at times to yell ‘Say Cheese’, in my experience this creates fake smiles and strained photos. It can be quite stressful for your children if three adults are all demanding they smile on cue. Stepping back and relaxing while I interact with your children is the best way to achieve natural, gorgeous smiles in photos that will capture the true essence of your child’s personality!
While I definitely recommend a relaxed approach as mentioned before, there are times where I may ask you to step in and help. Why? Because I recognize that you know your children best, and may have an inside joke, a special song or some other ‘bit’ with your kids that gets them cracking up! If I invite you to do this please try to get as close to me as possible, even leaning directly behind/above me so that as your child is looking at you, they are simultaneously looking at the camera lens.
This is a nod and a wink to any of those family members who are thinking, oh no, another dreaded family photo session? I get it, and I will do my best to make things a painless as possible! I also totally understand that family portraits might not be your favorite weekend activity. That said, I’m sure you understand how important capturing your family is. These images will be left as a legacy for when your children are grown with families of their own some day. My goal is to give you photos to be cherished forever so please, to all the reluctant participants… cheerfully participate in your family photo session! You might might have more fun than you planned, and you'll be creating some truly treasured memories!
The most important thing here is for you and and your family to be yourselves, but that doesn't mean we can't be you with a little extra something, and when creating these special memories and art pieces, there are definitely a few things to keep in mind. Read on for all you need to know!
Don't match, instead coordinate! Forego the idea of everyone wearing jeans and a white shirt in favor of finding a few complimentary colors and weaving them throughout all of your outfits. Try picking one or two stronger colors paired with a neutral. The combinations are endless but if you don't know where to start, try one of these color combos:
forest green/marigold yellow/creme
Mixing in a print can look great, but a good rule of thumb is to limit one print per family and keep the print small.
Lastly, I always recommend laying everything out on the bed, that way you see how everything looks together and adjust as needed!
Maxi dresses are photo session gold for the ladies. You absolutely show be you, and they aren't the only options for sessions, but if you are looking for a stand out look for your session, the maxi dress is the way to go! If you want to learn more about why this look works so well and get a little more inspiration- check out this blog post!
I say absolutely treat yourself and use this once a year opportunity to get your hair and/or makeup done if you are so inclined, but I always suggest keeping makeup pretty fresh and natural.
When it comes to shoes, comfort is king. 99% of my sessions have us hiking around a fair amount, climbing up and down hills, walking in tall grass, and so on. You don't want to be doing that in 4 inch heels. Luckily there are no shortage of stylish flats these days. Try ankle boots, cowboy boots, or ballet flats!
Guys! I love seeing you all spiffed up for a session, but honestly I don't think you need to dress up too much. So feel free to skip the suit and tie in favor of something a little more casual. Anything from a solid wrinkle free tee and a cool pair of cords to a nice collared button down with the sleeves rolled up and a great pair of grey or khaki chinos looks perfect.
Jeans are ok, just make sure they aren't your most worn, lived in, work on the car jeans. Pull out your Friday night jeans if you are going to go the jeans route. Another tip for guys is to remember to leave as much as you can (safely) get away with in the car, or remember to stash in your partners bag. Wallets, phones and keys end up looking very square and bulky in pockets!
If you do want to add a little flare to your outfit I love a good printed shirt, though keeping the print small is best!
Our kids are the star of the show, right? I find that it's best to dress them in outfits that help their personality shine rather than distract away from it. For that reason I say simple is best, try staying away from anything overly complicated or flashy, and as mentioned above no graphics, words or shoes with lights in them etc. For the boys simple & smart button down shirts or a crisp new solid tee work well with a nice pair of khakis (or other colored pants), cords or even a cute pair of coveralls.
For the girls, I love when girls wear their hair naturally and leave the big headbands and barrettes at home. Dresses are great for girls for the same reasons they work so well for mom! With dresses keep it simple, a flowy cotton dress your little one can move in is perfect, but a multi-tiered tulle and velvet number you don't want her to get dirty might not be the best choice. Just make sure you have a matching pair of shorts or cover up underneath- we play hard during sessions!
I'm constantly on the hunt for the latest styles (what can I say, I love to shop!) and have created a page dedicated to styles I think would be fab for your next session. These links take you right to the retailers site so you can get the item shipped to your door ASAP in time for your session, and just FYI, I am not an affiliate and am receiving no kickbacks or cash for recommending these styles- I simply want you to look great!
I am always in favor of shopping your closet first, but sometimes you need to grab something new to complete the look. Linked below are some of my favorite places to shop for beautiful photo session styles! Here's a quick run down on what you'll find where and for how much.