The sun was shining. It was a beautiful day. This is how I remember the weather for our family holiday session last year. While the weather was perfect, my husband’s mood was pure agitation! He wanted and still wants nothing to do with pictures!!! Needless to say, this was our first (and last) professional family photo session. While the rest of you have to bribe your toddlers with candy and toys to get through these stressful sessions, I shamefully bribed my husband. Hey- desperate times call for desperate measures. It was totally worth the frustration and agitation though. Our beautiful pictures are hanging proudly on our wall as we speak. Good News: he didn’t even pull a Chandler Bing on me!!!
Our children are only little once. I am a firm believer in taking as many photos as you can. A picture lasts a lifetime. With that said, I do know how intimidating and daunting coordinating outfits can be. School starts, you blink, and the holidays hit you like a ton of bricks. On top of all the shopping and prepping, we all want to squeeze in that mini session with our favorite photographer so we can see how many likes and comments we get on Facebook (come on it’s a social media world and we are all living in it)! Beyond the anxiety of merely hoping our kids (and husbands) cooperate, falls the dreaded job of shopping for the entire family! Every year I lose sleep trying to come up with a new ensemble that surpasses the year before. My friend Jen and I text endlessly, sharing photos and links in hopes of aiding each other in the process. In the end, it always works out.
I am here to help you completely avoid that stress. My goal is to have you worry about one thing- that perfect smile. Below are some tips that I hope you find useful as you start gearing up for your annual Holiday card!
Holiday Session Guidelines:
1. Read no further and HIRE me to style your whole family for your next holiday session!
2. Coordinating colors not matching: The quintessential family photo has always been that smiling couple with their “pearly whites” in jeans and a white shirt, barefooted on the beach. Erase that image from your minds. Pick a few colors that fall within the same color scheme and choose clothes accordingly.
3. Never leave home without your accessories: A simple accessory, such as a playful necklace, scarf, vest, or bow tie adds excitement and boldness. It takes a simple outfit and turns it into a masterpiece. Don’t be afraid to play with accessories. They will bring life to your photo.
4. Limit patterns and plan ahead: Patterns are distracting. It’s best to find those classic solid pieces and accessorize them or if you do choose a simple pattern such as plaid, make sure everything else is simplistic. Not everyone should wear them. It will get way too busy. Make sure to have your outfits pressed, cleaned and prepared ahead of time. The last thing you want is to pull out a ripped or wrinkled sweater from your closet and have no time to iron or sew it!!! The more prepared the better!!
5. Consider your background: If you are taking your photos in the city, create a more urban theme and have fun with accessories. Fun jewelry and funky scarves will exude “city life.” If you are going to a park, jeans and colors that match the foliage are always your best option. If you are working with a prop, have your attire match the theme of that prop. A key word I always abide by is : classic. You will never go wrong if you keep it clean and classy:)
6. Say no to characters: I know your children have a favorite Disney character that they can’t get enough of but just like patterns they are way too distracting. Simple, simple simple!!!
7. Find a photographer you trust: Your photographer is the leading role in this session and it’s important to find one you feel comfortable with. If that means using a friend, so be it. Hire someone with patience and compassion that can endure any tantrum or mishap!
8. Mini sessions: When little ones are involved (or husbands), time is of the essence. I suggest booking shorter sessions. Everyone will be in a pleasant mood for the first 15 minutes and shirts will still be tucked in properly. The longer you dwell on getting the “perfect” picture, the easier it becomes for things to quickly unravel!
9. Plan your location wisely: If you are like me, I tend to start stressing over holiday cards in September. I usually have them done in October because I fear weather, scheduling conflicts, and it getting darker earlier. As crazy as this sounds, it has alleviated a lot of stress. The weather is moderate enough to choose any style I prefer. If you like to procrastinate, however, make sure your attire works with the temperatures. A freezing cold child, or an equally sweaty one is synonymous with disaster. Try booking your sessions at sunrise or sunset to avoid the heat of the day and to capture the best light. If it’s after daylight savings, weekend sessions may be necessary for extra light and consider an indoor location if the temperatures are chillier.
10. Prep your kiddies: Talk to your kids and explain the course of events. Make it sound exciting and bribe them with ice cream after! Make sure everyone’s bellies are full beforehand. A hungry child or husband spells disaster!
Good luck and most importantly Have FUN!!! Smile, Relax, and make some beautiful memories.
“Every family has a story to tell- Welcome to ours.”
Stay tuned to see this year’s pictures, as our story continues…..
Photo Credit:Natasha Chiaviello Photography