Family Photos 101

I love professional photos. Maybe that’s a weird thing to love, but I love them! I love my engagement photos and wedding photos and now I love taking annual family photos. I take tons of pictures of my kids everyday doing all of the everyday things that we do, but they are almost never looking at the camera, half the time they’re blurry because they never hold still and I am rarely in them. Taking annual family photos gives me the chance to document our family’s growth year after year and I actually get to be in the photos! So after a few years of taking family photos, here are my tips for getting pictures that you love!

Our little family in late 2012!
A lot has changed in the past 6 years!

First, find a photographer you love- I found Nicole Hart Photography when Everett was 3 months old. We didn’t do newborn photos with Ev and I was really regretting it after a couple of months. I booked a shoot with Nicole and I’ve never looked back! She even did a shoot for us when my whole family came up for a vacation!

Baby Ev! I love this picture so much!

Choose outfits that coordinate but don’t match. One of the things that I love the most about family photos is styling our outfits and I think I have gotten better at it over the years. I like to come up with a general theme – this year I wanted our photos to feel light and airy, last year I wanted slightly more formal fall style, and the year before was all about fall colors. I like to include at least one print and then choose at least 3 colors to mix and match amongst us. You also want to look like you would all be going to the same event- meaning no one should be more formal or more casual than the rest of the group. Gone are the days of jeans and white button downs, so get creative and choose outfits that will let everyone shine.

Not the easiest task to get 12 people to coordinate! 
All about the fall colors!

Just embrace the crazy chaos. We have a toddler and a preschooler- they just aren’t going to sit or stand nicely and smile for the camera. Plus, how boring would those pictures be?! It’s ok to get a little goofy and I promise, if you embrace the goofy pictures you will also get some shots with everyone genuinely smiling at the camera!

Real smiles come from the fun moments!

Try to choose a location that is meaningful for you. When we took our engagement photos we chose to take them around Chapman University where we met. For the past two years we have taken our family photos outside of our house and around our neighborhood and I love them so much! You don’t need a beautifully manicured garden or home to get photos that look nice. It’s amazing what a good photographer can do to set up a great shot!

On the steps of Memorial Hall!
The whole family on the steps of our first home!

Remember to take a picture with just mom and dad! You are the couple that started this family! So make sure that you take a minute and let the kids run around or set the baby down on a blanket and take a picture of the two of you! Last year we forgot, but every other year we have managed to get a picture with just us and it’s nice to have! 

2015 Katie and Bryston
2018 Katie and Bryston

The most important thing is to have fun and try to relax. Things will go wrong- one of your kids won’t want to have their picture taken or your baby will cry unless you’re holding her and somehow your photographer will still manage to get good pictures. And, if you end up with some pictures of your kids screaming their heads off you can always use them for future guilt trips. The bottom line is, what might seem like a crazy, frustrating photoshoot in the moment will probably turn into a funny memory from this challenging stage of life.

Jumping pictures are always good!
Sometimes you just have to let them choose what they want to do!

P.S. How do you like these Bryston before and afters?! Aging like a fine wine that guy! #dadbod

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