Family Photo Tips!

No, it’s not even Halloween yet but it’s already time to start thinking about those Christmas Card photos! I know we have our photo shoot scheduled in mid-November and I’m already creating color combinations in my head for our family 🙂

I truly love having photos taken of our family together. I take hundreds millions of pictures of my kids all the time but it’s rare to get our whole family in front of the camera. So when we do? I try to make it count!!!

I thought for today’s Babywise Friendly Blog Network Tips and Tricks Day it’d be fun to give 5 tips to make the family photo process easier! You can check out other stuff for Christmas on our Pinterest Board!

Tip 1: Set the time for success. You want to schedule your photos for a time where your children (and husband!) will be the happiest. For us, this is tricky. I know the kids will be happiest when they are well rested and have full bellies…the husband though? That’s kinda hit or miss haha! I usually schedule my shoots for the morning when my kids are babies. That is the happiest time of the day and usually the longest awake time they have. As they are older, I tend to schedule it for the afternoons as the weather is usually easier to deal with and we have a larger chunk of time once they no longer have an evening nap.

Tip 2: Clothing choices. More important to me than location is what we are wearing. I don’t really care about location much at all…as long as our family is color coordinated and we look cute, who care’s much about what is behind us? When it comes to color coordinating I start with what I want the children to wear. Typically I have them in a pattern and Zach and I are dressed in plain colors that blend with their patterns. I try not to have either child be “too loud” in what they wear. Finding coordinating outfits for the BIG Parker Family was def the most trying task, but I think they turned out beautiful. We found an outfit for Britt first that we all liked the colors and went from there to find everyone else coordinating clothes. Baby clothes are the most difficult to find so I tend to start with the youngest child and try to pick something that allows many color options for everyone else. I also typically prefer to have us all barefoot in photos. Why? Less concern over everyone having shoes to match too haha! I also do my best to pull the colors together through accessories…bows and jewelry for the girls, ties for the boys! 

Tip 3: Trust your photographer. I am ZERO percent creative when it comes to our photos. I control what I can control about the shoots (clothing, timing, etc) but let the photographer take the reigns when it comes to location, poses, props, etc. I’m open to anything they have in mind and I always tell them I trust them completely and love when they get creative with us! Zach is actually more creative than I am and is usually the one who comes up with some neat ideas for shoots (and ones that typically involve danger haha!)

Tip 4: Prop it up! I bring a MASSIVE bag with me with potential props in it. This is a newer trick I’ve learned and it really helps make the photos happen. I try to find props that match our color scheme (like I bought a blue ball for Kye when he was wearing shades of blue) so if the props end up in the shoot, it’s fine 🙂 A cheap bubble machine makes for SUPER happy children! I also will bring their favorite toys (helps get those smiles to happen, especially with the younger ones), books, balls, noisy toys (to get their attention), and things that we can be silly with (funny glasses for one of us to wear behind the camera…again anything for a smile!). 

Tip 5: Set the stage, then step back. Let loose. Try to make it AS FUN as possible for everyone! I’ve played music and had my kids break down in dance. I’ve jumped and made all kinds of crazy noises. I do all the prep work but when the moment comes for the photos? I try to relax and let the moment happen. I want to capture true joy and true happiness..not just forced cheesy grins. That’s a big part of the reason I prefer to pay for a legit photographer to take our photos, they know how to “capture the magic” and have the ability to snap that perfect picture!

Tip 6: Bribe. Yes, I said 5 tips but I had to add this bonus one! When all else fails bribe, bribe, bribe. I bring gummies, I bring candy, I promise special treats, I do whatever it takes to get that shot! It is tougher when my kids are super little babies because you can’t really bribe them…but once they hit toddler age? Hello treat time! Kye knows that by following our instructions, putting on his handsome grin, and basically just being his adorable self that the pictures get done quicker and he gets his treat sooner. It’s a win-win for us all. And yes, you may need to bribe the hubby too 🙂

To show my tips in action here are some of our family photos through the years:

Kye’s newborn photos March 2009

Kye’s 9 month photos Dec 2009

Kye’s 1 year photos March 2010

Kye’s 18 month photos Sept 2010

Kye’s 2 year photos March 2011

Britt’s newborn photos Dec 2011

Christmas Pics Dec 2011

Kye’s 3 year and Britt’s 3 month photos March 2012

Britt’s 6 month photos June 2012

Britt’s 9 month photos Sept 2012

Parker family photos Aug 2012

Britt’s 1 year photos Dec 2012

Christmas photos Dec 2012

Kye’s 4 year photos and Britt’s 18 month photos July 2013

I am SO eager to get our Christmas Cards this year! I love that both of my kids are at the “bribable” ages and I hope that means we’ll capture some cute shots at our upcoming shoot. I’ve already been checking out the adorable cards over at Tiny Prints and am in love with so many of the ones they have this year!

I love simple, classic styles like these don’t you?

Merry Bokeh

Joyous Heart

Looking at all the colors we’ve used through the years (hello lots of gray!) I feel like gold may be a good way to mix things up this year for us!

ZigZag Glitz

What are your tips and tricks for getting that perfect family photo??? I can’t wait to see everyones adorable Christmas Cards this year! It’s always so fun to check the mail around the holidays 🙂

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