How To Capture Natural Family Photos
There is so much to love about this time of year, and one of my absolute favorite things is receiving Christmas cards. I love seeing how everyone’s family has changed over the years, as kids grow up and families get bigger, and I especially love reading what each family has been up to over the past year.
Of course, there’s a lot going on behind the scenes of these beautiful family photos—outfit coordination, kid wrangling, weather challenges—but they are so worth it in the end. Ever since I was pregnant with Audrey, I’ve made family portraits a priority each year. I know that if I don’t stay on top of it, the years will fly by, and before I know it the kids will be off to college. (Going to shift gears before I get emotional over here!) Family portraits are really a great way of capturing moments in time, and I love looking back at old photos to see how Brydon and Audrey have changed throughout the years.
I could go on and on about the reasons I love family portraits, but let’s get to it! I’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks to help you take what can sometimes be a stressful event and make it a little more manageable (and enjoyable!).
I think the most stressful part of family pictures is finding coordinating outfits. Each year, I just keep in mind the amazing advice my photographer gave me one year: Find one outfit or item of clothing you absolutely LOVE and then build around it. POOF! Such a game changer.
I usually choose an outfit for Audrey or me and then build around that because the boys are pretty easy to coordinate from there. Usually mine or Audrey’s outfit will set the color scheme, and then we’ll find looks for the boys that complement the colors in our outfits.
We always try to shy away from colors that are too bright and might distract from the photos. You want the family to be the focus, after all. The same goes for patterns. Be sure to pick patterns that don’t clash or stand out too much. I tend to go for subtle florals or plaids. I love the earth tones, blushes, and whites as color themes for our family photos. Holiday styles with holiday plaids, reds, greens, and navies always make for a fun festive look. Then I just lay out all of the clothes together to make sure the shades coordinate.
Choosing a Location
When it comes to choosing a location, I try to keep things simple. Maybe it’s your family’s favorite spot or even your backyard for a sentimental choice. You can also just let your photographer know the overall vibe you’re doing for, and he or she might be able to suggest a great spot to serve as the setting for your photos.
I love to shoot at the beach because it portrays us in our most natural environment. We have always loved going to the beach. It has been our go-to place to relax and play as a family. We have fun laughing and running around together, and the end product always feels just like us. Natural, not forced.
Keeping it Fun
You can do all the planning in the world, but at the end of the day, my number one tip is to make it fun! If mom and dad are stressed, the kids will feel it. Laugh together, tell jokes, do what you can to make it natural so your family’s personality really shines through.
I always like to bring snacks to the shoot so no one gets hangry. You can also schedule something fun for afterwards so the kids have something to look forward to. It doesn’t have to be extravagant. Go to the kids’ favorite restaurant, take them to get ice cream…whatever will keep them engaged and happy during your shoot!
And of course, you’ll want to keep it fun during the shoot. It doesn’t have to be all work and no play. I love having the kids run around, laughing, and joking. Kris is always good for a joke or two that gets us all going. This in turn give us natural and candid pictures of the kids.
Are you doing family portraits this year? What vibe are you going for? I can’t wait to see everyone’s beautiful, smiling faces!