Fall brings with it apple picking, fall decor, the pumpkin farm…..and the family photo session. While most of these activities associated with fall bring a feeling of coziness and joy the family photo session can bring feelings of exhaustion, stress, and maybe even dread if we are all honest. There is good reason too, many of these photo session are expensive and you want to walk away with good pictures. These will be the photos you will be sending out to all your friends and family at Christmas time and these are the pictures that your kids will someday be looking back at to remember their childhood. You want your children to at least not be crying in the photos and the family to look somewhat presentable. But what to do? After many years of family portraits with my own family I have some tips for acing your family portrait session this year and also some shopping links for creating a cohesive family look. No more running around to 5 million stores to pull together matching clothes for every family member. I have two great family looks (for all the members of your family) from two great stores, all you have to do is point and click to buy! Affiliate links:
Creating the Look
Select the color scheme
There is a balance between creating a cohesive look in selecting the outfits for each family member but at the same time not making everyone look too matchy-matchy. It also looks more natural if you select 3-4 colors to work with that go well together when selecting clothes for everyone. In creating my two family looks below, I use the following color combinations and accent colors:
Family Look #1 from Target (Navy Blue, Tan, and Gray with a Yellow Accent)
Older Daughters Outfit
Younger Daughters Outfit
Blanket for Family Photo
Family Look #2 from J.Crew Factory (Navy Blue, Gray, and Red)
Blanket for Family Photo
Keep the focus on the people not the clothes
It is important that no busy patterns in the family clothing are distracting the person that is viewing the picture from the people in the picture. In my past pictures I have tried to select a lot of different textured clothes (ie. denim, sweaters, scarfs) to create visual interest but not distraction. You don’t want any clothes that have designs, busy patterns, or words that would distract from the people
Setting the Stage
Many photographers will do a great job of creating a scene or story for your pictures but you can also bring items that help set the scene for your family’s specific story. This may be items that go specifically with your color scheme or that are specific to your family. This summer we did out family photos in a sunflower field so I created wreaths made out of baby’s breath for my hair and for my daughters hair. I brought 2 bunches of sunflowers that the girls and I carried that really made the pictures pop and created more of a story with the pictures. I brought a blanket for us to sit on too for some of the pictures that went with our clothes color scheme and the sunflower field. One of the most special items that we included was my daughters favorite bunny that she carries with her everywhere. We made the bunny a little baby’s breath wreath and our photographer got a picture of my daughter and her bunny that I will cherish always.
Create a canvas
It may enhance the photographs if you bring some items to create a scene that are specific to the colors that you selected for your outfit or that are specific to where you are taking the pictures. When we took pictures in the sunflower field this summer I wanted to create an earthy almost bohemian look which is why I made the baby’s breath wreaths for our hair. I also brought a blue and yellow blanket that went with our clothes and the sunflower field.
Pictures that tell a story are much more interesting and beautiful. Bring props to help enhance the story and the picture. If you are taking a picture in an apple orchard have the kids holding baskets of apples. If you are doing a fall scene bring leaves so you can have the kids playing in leaf piles.
Planning for Success
Plan in advance the things you can to make sure the photo shoot goes smoothly. I remember a few years back our photographer wanted to take pictures at 6:30pm to get the best sunlight however this is the time of the day my young kids started melting down so we planned for earlier in the day. I figured happy kids in a picture was better than optimal lighting. Think about bringing non messy snacks to keep the kids happy throughout the photo session too.
Hopefully these tips and quick shopping links keep the stress away and make it a positive experience for the whole family. I love incorporating our annual family portraits into our home decor and remembering my kids at each stage in life. They grow up too quickly so make sure to continue to capture every stage!