Family Pictures + Christmas cards are usually a sore subject for most moms. It’s a constant shopping, matching, changing our minds, then realizing the kids are probably going to be cranky and we already know the men would prefer not to get the photos taken anyways. Sounds familiar? too familiar? did I miss something? oh yeah the promise of candy, ice cream, a toy, wiping of the nose, dog being a goof, kids crying, teens being annoyed because this is #lame, you spilling on yourself because well #momlife Did I get it now?
Alright, bottom line we put way too much pressure on this “once a year family pictures”. It makes the whole thing painful and super stressful instead of a fun family experience. Make sure you have stocked your favorite beverage and some chocolate for after the photos or even before if it will help you relax. Talk with your children about how important this is to you. Tell them how excited you are to send the picture to grandma or auntie because they will love to see their big smiles as they walk past the beautiful card when they get it. Make it even a bigger deal by having your children help put some of the cards together before they mail them so they are involved and invested in the process, even if it’s just putting stickers on the outside of the envelope, let them be a part of it. This will create positive memories associated with family picture day instead of dread.
Here are some tips that I hope help you and your family have a more pleasant experience.
Do your research: If you have young kids, don’t super stress yourself tying to get in a 15 minute photography slot. Unless, this is a super experienced photographer with children. Make sure you don’t go through all this shenanigans and end up not liking the photography style of the person you picked. Check out their website, ask questions if you have them. Remember, they are a service provider and would love to help you get the images you want, sometimes it just takes a little communication prior to the shoot to be clear on what the expectations are. It’s best if the photographer has an assistant. Do a little research, don’t just go for the “cheapest that still looks good” . Not to add to your pressure but this picture will probably sit on some refrigerators for the entire next year.
Plan Ahead: Have the address of the photoshoot already mapped out and estimated drive time calculated. Show up early, sometimes photographers end the person before you earlier and you get a little extra time or you’re at least already there, ready to go at the time of your session to start. Have your outfits including accessories and shoes ready at least since the day before. Nothing is more stressful than trying to find or clean a dang shoe or earrings that go with the outfit. I used to put all the outfits together in a separate closet. Make sure they are ready to go, ironed if need to, labels cut off especially the inside the shirt labels if your child requires this to be off make sure you plan ahead and take it off, there’s nothing worse than scratchy labels to make those toddlers have a meltdown, let’s not give them a reason. Stressed people don’t make happy photos.
Be Comfortable: Getting our photos taken can be awkward and uncomfortable enough don’t add to it by your clothes not being comfortable. If your husband is super stiff because you’re making him wear this scratchy new shirt or your kids have to wear a ton of layers because #style you’re risking them projecting that to the photos. You can find stylish clothes that are still comfortable and remember that uncomfortable clothes make uncomfortable people, which make uncomfortable photos.
The Look: Trendy isn’t always better. Trends come and go and too many trendy things might clash on your photo look but also make people uncomfortable if they’re not used to wearing that “cool trendy” thing you got for them. Also, by you wearing something super trendy and everyone else going more traditional & classic might offset the whole thing. Patters are a huge deal because they can be so distracting, again super distracting. Stick to one or two people (5 in the photo) wearing a pattern and the others solids. Patterns can totally take away from the faces and overwhelm the eyes of the person looking at the photo. Textures on the other hand are great because they add depth and are interesting without being distracting. As much as you want to one-stop-shop for everyone you’re better off shopping around and mixing & matching. Try to stay away from big logos, brands, character tees, or graphic tee’s I know they’re super cute but I promise you’ll thank me later! Keep the make up more balanced by not going for a dramatic look. Keep it a little bit heavier than your daily 5 minute routine but still light enough that when people see you they will know it’s you. If you need help getting products that will work for all the situations life throws at us, I can help you out!
After the Session: Plan something fun for everyone to enjoy for after the photos. Pack different clothes for it if you need to, I know more work but you’ll be happy you did. This gives everyone something to look forward to and makes everyone more relaxed.
When all else fails remember that at the end of the day these photos don’t define your family. It’s more important to have a good memory with not so great photos than remembering mom being angry, threatening, and fake smiling for a great photo. I hope these tips help you have an easier and more enjoyable experience this time around.
Let me know what you think and if you have any more tips drop them below!