Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Making Family Photos Enjoyable for Everyone

My siblings and I go together to get my mom a family photo session gift card for Mother's Day every other year.  It's one of my mom's favorite gifts, we always book our favorite family photographer who just happens to be my cousin and look forward to it every other year.  My side of the family has been growing like crazy so it's always fun to include the newest babies and watch the kids grow.

We've done this for several years running and have learned some things along the way to make things go smoothly for everyone.  It's no surprise that the guys always grumble about pictures and it's a little chaotic to pull everything together.  But, the pictures always turn out great and my mom has an updated shot of the whole crew.  She usually uses them for her Christmas card that year and frames them in the house.

10 Tips for Really Successful Family Photos:

1. Choose a photographer that will be really easy to work with, takes great pictures and it's a HUGE BONUS if you can find one that will make each family a photo cd of all the photos with a photo release to print as many as they'd like.  This is easier said than done, but it's so nice if you can each have access to the pictures on a cd and order them on your own time.

2. Pick a time of year that isn't too hot if you can avoid it.
We've done pictures in late summer and in the fall.  We were a sweaty, grumpy mess in the summer and all agreed this year was the best since we did it the first week of October.  No one was sweating (except for me, but in my defense I'm always HOT and I was pregnant) and the leaves were pretty.

3. Select a location that is convenient & comfortable.
We always shoot the pictures at my parent's house.  We do them outdoors, bring furniture (benches, bar stools and chairs) out to help us stage groupings and we all just meet there.  It's perfect because there is access to bathrooms, we can change into our clothes once we arrive and then we usually have dinner together afterwards.

4. Decide on a time of day that works well for everyone. 
Be sure to plan around nap times, meal times and work schedules.  We usually go for a 4:45pm or 5pm start time for the best lighting and naps to be over.  Then we can have dinner afterwards.

5. Bring water bottles and CANDY.
People are going to get thirsty so it's nice to have water handy.
Smarties are great because they don't make a mess and can be eaten quickly.

6. Pick a color scheme with three colors 
for everyone to choose from when they're selecting their outfits.
We've done pictures with two colors (red and black) and they were boring.  I search Pinterest for family photo color schemes, send my mom at least 10 options and let her pick her favorite.  Then we all have some flexibility and can pick outfits we feel best in.  I'd highly recommend several different patterns, textures, pants, skirts, etc so that everyone ends up wearing an outfit that goes with the colors, but also is true to something they'd really wear.  We've had great luck with our pictures when we did (turquoise, red and yellow and this year we did black, gray and mustard)

7. Have the parents feed their kids before pictures.  
Hungry people = grumpy people
The same is true for the adults :)

8. Try on your outfits ahead of time.  
Do not wait until the last minute to put your outfit together.  Be sure to plan out everything - your hair, accessories, shoes and ask for a 2nd opinion if you're unsure about how something is coming together.  Belt or no belt, shirt tucked in our out, etc. will all help you to come up with the most flattering outfit.

9. Scope out your location ahead of time 
and pick spots where you'd like to have you pictures taken. 
Think about the backgrounds, location of the sun and level ground.  I always walk around the yard, snap pictures with my phone and my mom picks her favorite spots.  Some end up working out better than others, but it's great to decide this ahead of time.

all the details and be specific so that everyone is on the same page.  The girls usually work out all the details in my family and will text pictures of outfits as we find them or questions as they come up.  Text a picture of the color scheme, be clear on times and expectations.

I hope these tips help you enjoy your family pictures a little more next time.
Here are my favorites from our 2015 photo shoot!!

My siblings + my parents + Maxx in their backyard

All the grand kids with Mimi & Papaw
Such a cute crew - look at all those patterns, textures and variety of outfits.

My cute parents
My brother and his girls

My sister and her family

Our family photos:

2013 Family Pictures:
I can't find the actual photos, but I blogged about my Christmas card and my parent's Christmas card that year so that'll have to do.  Our color palette inspiration came from a picture of kitchen decor on Pinterest and we got lots of compliments on the bright colors. 

2011 Family Pictures:
We wore black & khaki with a tiny bit of red.
Good picture of everyone, but kind of boring :)

Linking up with Let it Shine, The Pleated Poppy, What's Hap-pining Wednesday,
PS A BIG THANKS to my cousin, Lacey, for another great session in the books.


  1. Cute pics!! That is a really good idea for a Mother's Day gift; and y'all can see how your family grows each year! Love the blues/yellows outfits!

  2. This is fantastic! I need to share this! :)

  3. What beautiful photos! I love the colors. Your tips are great, too. We for sure go at a good time for the boys so they aren't grumpy or tired!


  4. Such great ideas! It is time we get the kids pictures taken again. I'll be sure to use your helpful ideas. I really like what you said about the color choices. Look at little baby Olive...oh my gosh. I've forgotten how much she has grown.

  5. Love this look with the yellow! Great tips-candy is always a crowd pleaser ;) haha

  6. This is such a sweet tradition. Your cousin is really talented! I especially love the photos of your parents with all the grandkids :)

  7. Oh I love that you do these photos they look amazing and every two years makes it so manageable to pull of! Great photo tips too!

  8. It's so neat to see how color schemes and what's "in" right now have changed! A few years ago, my family took pictures and we all wore jeans and red or black tops. It was totally boring because everyone looked so plain, but that was the norm then. It would be fun to take new pictures with patters and accessories now! Great tips!


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