Five Tips for Planning Family Pictures

I'm that person that strives to mail Christmas cards out the week after Thanksgiving so, when October rolls around I start planning family pictures that will go on our cards. Planning for the pictures can be a ton of work so I have listed five things that I have learned to do that make the process a bit easier. I look back and cherish our yearly family photos so much. We skipped a year once and I totally regret it. I love watching how our family has grown and how each year my boys get even more handsome. I hope they one day pass these pictures and tradition along to their kids and grandkids.


Five Tips for Planning Family Pictures:

1. Pick a photographer you are comfortable with.
I would suggest working with someone you personally know, someone you have worked with in the past or someone who comes highly recommended by someone you know well. For example, if you love your friend's family or maternity photos, ASK ABOUT THEIR PHOTOGRAPHER. The more comfortable you are with your photographer the better your pictures will be.
There is no shame in taking studio pictures. We've done that when we had tiny babies or just didn't have time to plan a shoot with someone. I love our studio pictures but I feel like the ones we have shot with a private photographer have been more personal candid shots. A private photographer will capture your family more realistically.

2. Pick your location
Decide what type of setting you want for your pictures. Are you looking to shoot at the beach, in a park or a special place that means something to your family? If so, try to pick out some good spots to play as your background.
Sometimes a photographer prefers to work in a specific location. If that is the case, trust them because they have shot there before for a reason.

3. Plan out the colors for your outfits
I am a very visual person so I always start any creative process by choosing colors. I choose the colors we will wear and then find our outfits based on that. Picking 2-3 colors is usually enough. You don't want the outfits to be so busy that they take away from capturing your faces. You can even choose one color and then choose different shades in that color for variety and texture.

4. How to pick out outfits
I never really shop for one particular person first. I find a piece I like for the kids or myself and then I pick the rest of the outfits from there.  I will say I love when my boys match. They may hate me for it one day but I think it's adorable in pictures. For example, the matching vests four our 2015 Santa pictures.
One last piece of advice for outfits. I personally like our pictures a little more when I dress everyone up a bit, including myself. Wearing a dress makes a big difference for me. Your pictures can have a more casual feel but try to dress the casual up a bit. You'll be glad you did. Last year I had just had a baby so I went with an oversized sweater and jeans. Let's just say I'll make sure to wear a dress this year.

I've linked dresses below that I feel would work great for family photos. I picked a few different colors and styles so you have a variety to choose from. Swipe to the right to see all the options. I hope this is helpful if you're having a hard time finding a good dress.

5. Know your family's limits
Last year our two year old had a major breakdown during our shoot. We planned the shoot too late in the day and he was sleepy and not having it. This year with a toddler and an infant I am planning on a 30 minute shoot, max. I am also planning on packing snacks and promising a fun surprise if everyone behaves. Haha That always works. Set your expectations for the photos high but be realistic about how long your family can actually shoot for. Everyone will behave better and you'll in turn end up with better pictures.

A little extra tip, you can also use the family photos to make photo books and gifts for the grandparents. They love that stuff!

I can't believe I am going to say this already but Happy Holidays!

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