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It’s that time of the year again.. family photo time! Each year I long for a gorgeous photo to use on Christmas cards and display in our home but planning for that photo can be incredibly overwhelming. You need to find the right photographer, the perfect location, coordinating outfits for the entire family and not to mention trying to get everyone to smile on the day of! There’s a lot that goes into family photos but I’m here to share a few tips for getting that perfect family photo.
Quick disclaimer: I am not a professional photographer. I’m just a mom that’s stressed over family photos too many times so I’m sharing what’s worked for me to make this a less stressful time! 🙂
How to get the perfect family photo:
- Get inspiration & decide on your vision // Do you want a posed studio session or an outdoor lifestyle session? What season will you be shooting in? Do you want a themed shoot (fall apple picking, picking out a Christmas tree, etc…) ? Start thinking about how you want your shoot to turn out. Take a look through Pinterest, Google, etc for inspiration. If you have a clear idea of what you’d like it will make it a lot easier on both your photographer and on you when it comes time to pick out outfits.
- Find the right photographer // If you don’t have a photographer that you regularly work with, this may be challenging. Search for local photographers via Google, Facebook, etc… and take a look at their portfolio. Since you already have an idea of what type of shoot you’d like, look for photographers with similar shooting styles to what you’re looking for. For example, if you want an outdoor lifestyle shoot, a photographer that only does indoor studio shoots may not be the right fit. If you have children, be sure to look for a photographer that has experience with shooting family and children! Once you find a few photographers, reach out to inquire about prices, dates, and any other questions you may have. If you’re local to the Pittsburgh area, I highly suggest working with Wellesley & King Photography. Lauren took these photos of our family for our 2016 Christmas card and did a phenomenal job!
- Scout the perfect location // This is something you can (and should) work with your photographer on! Chances are, your photographer already knows of a few locations that are perfect for family photos. However, if you have something specific in mind, be sure to share this with your photographer so you can work together to find the perfect location for the shot you’re dreaming of!
- Choosing outfits // This is the hard part for most people. Finding coordinating outfits that aren’t too “matchy” but still blend together is not an easy task. Start with choosing one main color you’d like. For these photos, I went with burgundy then built off of that. I always start with my own outfit and choose something that fits and is flattering for my shape. Wear something that’s comfortable so you look more relaxed and natural. Once you have your outfit picked out, move onto the kids. Pull out clothes that match the color palette you’ve chosen and start laying them out beside your outfit. Play around with their outfits until you find something that you like–I think I laid out five different shirts for my old year old before settling on a grey sweater. Lastly, figure out dad’s outfit! His can be pretty simple, usually dark jeans and a button down looks great. For these photos, I kept myself & my son pretty simple so I dressed my husband in a checkered flannel button down. Notice that this is the only pattern I went with so that our outfits aren’t too distracting. Make sure to lay everyone’s outfit out to be sure that they will all compliment each other in a group photo. Also, keep in mind your hair and makeup- they should be somewhat natural with your hair framing your face rather than slicked back.
- Be prepared for your shoot // Before our photos, I always scour Pinterest to find poses that I like and shots that I’d like to get. Your photographer will most likely know how to pose you to get a great shot but it helps to have an idea of what works on camera. Be sure to show your photographer any images that you’d really like to capture so he or she can make the most out of your time. Reduce day-of stresses by setting out everyone’s outfits the night before and getting ready early so you’re not running late. If you have small children and know they’ll need bribed, bring along their favorite toy or snack. It also helps to bring along a helper to distract your kiddos behind the camera to make them smile and laugh. The less stressed you are, the more natural, relaxed and happy everyone will appear in the photos!
Photography by Lauren from Wellesley & King
Like I said, I am definitely not a professional but we’ve taken quite a few family photos and learned most of these lessons the hard way! Be prepared and try not to stress out and you will easily be able to get the perfect family photo 🙂
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*post updated October 2017. The majority of our exact outfit details are sold out but many similar styles are linked
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