You will never, ever regret capturing moments with your family. I truly value family photos – and always have! I remember being a kid and always getting so much joy looking through old family photos. I hope my girls feel the same someday! Family really is everything! And there is no better time to share these photos than in honor of Mother’s Day this weekend. I’m so incredibly grateful for this husband of mine that made me a mom to two beautiful girls…so far 😉
I learn something new every time we do a shoot as a family so I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks along the way & wanted to share them in this post, so below are some simple ways to capture your favorite family photos!
1 // Family Adventure, not Photo Shoot
Instead of telling Avalon that we need to get ready for family photos, I like turn it into a little adventure for her. For this photoshoot, our plan was to head downtown and take pictures with the pink and white spring blossom trees. So the whole week leading up to the photoshoot, I told her we were going to go see tall buildings and look for pink trees – she was so excited for the pink trees and to see big “castles” (as she calls them). This way, it’s not a dreaded activity and the focus is more on having fun. I also pack treats like lollipops for after the shoot!
2 // Location
I like to pick the location prior to anything else because I feel like this helps me visualize and design everything else for the shoot around what the background will be. Jenna suggested a spring shoot with the pink trees several months in advance, and I fell in love with that idea immediately. So I started shopping & scouting outfits for all of us based on the fact that we would be near pink & white spring blossom trees. I love to get suggestions from the photographer on location because typically, they know some great spots and might be familiar with the location and know where to get the best shots, the best lighting, etc. So I like to turn the photographer early on for location, unless I have something else in mind.
3 // Outfit Planning
Sometimes all our outfits fall into place, and other times it’s a lot more work. I typically like to pick my attire first because let’s face it – the mom is the hardest to buy for – it’s not easy finding a perfect fit, flattering outfit that you can also move easy in with kids. I first shopped ASOS for my outfit – and then also bought the girls their dresses shortly after from Zara. I put all the images of our outfits into a photo collage app to see how we will all compliment each other. But once my original outfit choice came in, the skirt was too big and the blouse I got was also a little too roomy too and the ensemble just wasn’t that flattering on my post-partum bod. But I loved Avalon and London’s dresses – so then I was on the hunt to find something else for me. Casey was easy – I wanted him in a blue suit with white tennis shoes – because that’s a cool look – dressy but with a casual vibe. I ordered 2 more dresses – and returned those as well. Finally I found a dress on Rent the Runway that was the winner! And I love how it all turned out. I love how Casey’s blue suit pull out the blue(ish) flowers in Avalon’s dress. I love that Lo is in pale pink, and I’m in white – tying in the white accents with Casey. I love this color scheme with the pink trees – it’s not too much pink and not too much blue, not too much white. I’m just happy all around! But this was definitely one of the most challenging shoots to style just because I couldn’t find something for myself right out of the gate.
4 // Look for Inspo
I always turn to Pinterest before a family photo shoot – and I typically do this 2 – 3 months before the shoot so that I really dial in to what I want out of a shoot. I casually browse family photos – and look for poses, locations, outfits, etc. Any inspo I can get! This was our first shoot as a family of four officially and so I wanted to look at family poses specifically with a toddler and a baby.
5 // Communicate expectations with your photographer
Are you looking to get that perfect family portrait of everyone looking at the camera posed? Or are you looking to get a “in the moment” picture of everyone interacting and not looking at the camera? Or both! Which combos of pictures do you want? Are you looking to get a horizontal one for a specific frame on the wall? Are you hoping to use the photos for your holiday card? Whatever your goal is – communicate that with the photographer so you ensure you get what you want out of this shoot. And don’t be afraid to ask the photographer to see some of the shots before you part ways – this will ensure you do get what you want.
Even with all the best planning, you still might get a surprise! So I’ve also learned to just accept the situation and make the best of it. For this shoot, we had THE worst wind and it wasn’t exactly warm – which isn’t great for small babes obviously. We were kinda rushing through the shoot because Lo’s arms were getting cold – and then the wind was so crazy so when the wind died down, it was like a rush to get some of the photos before a big gust would come up again. And doing that with a baby and a toddler – not the easiest. So I just had my mind set that I’d be happy with whatever we could get with Jenna and trust that she’s getting some great shots. Whereas, if there was less wind and warmer temps, I probably would have tried to get a few more different poses/shots with the girls.
I hope this post helps you out in planning your next family photo shoot! And if you ever want some outfit planning help or suggestions, feel free to reach out to me!
Photography by Jenna Sparks