Ok, I’ll admit it. In years past, I’m swung wildly between half terrified, totally clueless, and falsely confident. Over what you ask? Planning our annual family photo session! As much as I love photography, I’m pretty sure most photographers (and maybe moms, especially?) can admit to feeling awkward and at least a little clueless in front of the camera themselves.
(Poor Megan – our photographer – I absolutely do love this photo, because it includes a quilt that my great aunt made, but I can’t even imagine how tough it was to photograph us all in white!)
I’m so happy that as the years have passed and the family photoshoot has turned into a sure thing, I’ve learned a lot along the way about what works for our family and what doesn’t. And when I was thinking about it this year, it hit me that I wished that I had had a few simple tips and guidance when we were first starting out. (I could have avoided a few of those all denim and white shirts sessions that ended up feeling a bit bland, and not us – in spite of the happy faces.)
Last year’s was the best to date – thanks to plenty that I learned from other photographers, and spending a bit of time to coordinate things together.
Today I thought I’d share a bit about how I’ve learned to evolve our look to create beautiful photoshoot that really represents our family! I’ve also asked our ambassadors to share their best tips, too.
1.) Coordinate, but it’s ok to keep it simple. For our last family photo session, I started by choosing my clothing first, then built out from the colors in the print. Being a family made of up mostly guys, it can sometimes be tough to find prints and patterns that they love and will pull us into something cohesive. In the image above, you can see that each of the guys ended up in a simple shirt that’s pretty plain, but every one of the colors is in my shirt. Boom. Easy.
2.) If you’re coordinating a larger group of people, give them a whole list of colors to choose from. Last year for our extended family session, I worked with my whole family and we listed off about five colors – blue, green, white, black, something like that. And you’d be amazed. We all showed up in something we loved and felt comfortable in, and it coordinated beautifully.
Now from our ambassadors:
Family photographer Vanessa of Vanessa-Marie Photography advises to:
3). Start with a color as the main theme and pair it with complementary colors. Then accessorize to really make it pop.
While Meggan of Meggan Harrison Photography suggests that you could also:
4). Start with a fun pattern and then picking out the colors that stand out the most in that pattern to build your palette.
I typically find solids for 1-2 in using the colors in the main pattern for other family members. Then if you can find another pattern that has the same colors that is a fun way to break up the solids as well. I would go with a more subtle print over a bold one. An example would be a dainty floral with a bold plaid.
By coordinating your colors it ties all of the patterns in the outfits together while adding a bit of flair.
Ambassador Amy Kingsford recently had her family’s photos taken and admits to using several of the tips listed above to piece together her family’s wardrobe. And she has one final tip of her own:
5). Consider each person’s personality and be open to letting everyone stay true to who they are!
When we were shopping for outfits for our family photo session my son found this hat that he wanted more than anything. Though it didn’t necessarily fit with what I had envisioned I knew it would help his personality shine thru in the photos and that $5.00 hat did not disappoint!