It’s about that time of year again! We’ve made it through Halloween and we all now realize just how close Thanksgiving…and whoa…..Christmas…..yep I said it…is. The stores have Christmas trees and lights and…sweaters with Christmas trees and lights on them! Ahhh!!!!

It’s time to start thinking about getting your family photos for those lovely Christmas cards.

(Note: We haven’t taken our 2015 Christmas pics yet, but I’ll show you last year’s and a few more too!)christmas 2014

If putting together outfits for the family make your eyes roll back in your head with immediate overwhelmed exhaustion, then let me help! I’ve put together my best ideas and even throw in a few little tips and tricks we use to keep everyone looking amazing AND happily smiling!

1. Choose A Color Scheme

Begin with thinking through the location of your shoot. Pick colors that will stand out in your location. Is there green grass? Tan sand? White snow? Brown stone? Brick Buildings?
Pick a color scheme that goes with that location. Use a minimum of three colors and at most five. You want variety to keep everyone cohesive, but not too matchy-matchy to keep everything from looking uniform. Gone are the days when every member of your family wears all black shirts and jeans…don’t do it! Please just don’t! Get creative! And think outside of the normal box!
***Tip: You may also want to keep the color scheme of your home in mind if you have a hard time choosing. What photos can you imagine hanging up in your house that would still make everything look “together?”

color scheme

2. Choose Textures, Patterns and Layers

Family photos look far more amazing with a variety of colors, patterns, and textures. Rather than everyone wearing jeans and the same color of shirt, pick one or two people to wear jeans and the others to wear khakis. I personally, love to have the girls super dressed up and the boys looking handsomely similar, but NOT identical.
Ideas for:
men: a tweed blazer, wool sweater, plaid, or stripes
women: sequins, fur, thick sweaters, lace, satin, silk
kids: sweaters, patterns in shirts, add an undershirt with color, or a collared shirt under a sweater, fun colored tights for girls with a solid colored skirt, a coat, or some fun boots
***Tip: Go through your closet with new eyes. Start with things you already have, but instead of using them in a way that you usually do, think about how it would look in a photo.
Ex: An old top that you’ve seen a hundred times that you’ve lost interest in might be a perfect layer for a new photo shoot. The photo below is actually two sweaters layered on top of one another. The outer one is something I wear all of the time. But the one underneath it I got at goodwill for less than a dollar! It added texture and a pop of color.
family pictues
layering sweaters

3. Accessorize. Accessorize. Accessorize.

Think of the “extras” as the icing on the cake. Use hats, scarves, headbands, bows, necklaces, watches etc…get creative, but still keep things cohesive. Each person needs at least one, but no more than 3 extras.
***Tip: During your photo shoot you can remove or add different accessories very easily and create an entirely different look without changing clothes.
 hat for canon  

4. Props

 My favorite photos are the ones where we have used a prop of some sort.
Think of something fitting for your setting, but also something fun or active to include not only your kids, but you too. Some of my favorite pics are when we are just playing and enjoying ourselves!
Ex: we brought old baseball bats to the beach, a truck with a tree on it, boxes to sit on at a park, or a sign that spells out Merry Christmas 
merry christmas
canon with tree on truckWallace Family

5. Food Item 

 Okay, so this one may have made you stop and think, “wait, what? I thought we were talking about family pictures?!” And we are!!!! So just hang on a sec and keep reading!
You can spend all of your time picking out the most perfect clothing with the absolute best accessories in a prime location…and yet have the most crazy, crabby, uninterested, unhappy, “I’m NOT going to smile” kids. Trust me, I’ve been there!!!
I’m going to let you in on a little secret for our family photos…
***Tip: For every photo shoot we have done as a family there is some kind of amazing treat at the end.
I tell the kids about the treat as soon as we arrive at the location and let them know that at the very end they will each get one. Not only do they look forward to it the entire time, but it makes for some amazingly super cute pics too!
I’ve used super-sized lollipops:
The Princess and her Lollipop
Cupcakes:
eat dessert first
Macaroons:
Wallace Family; Laguana Beach; One Glass Slipper; macaroons; family; picnic table
Think of something that your kids will enjoy, but also keep in mind your color scheme!

6. Play List: 

 You have put so much time, effort, energy and money into this day, and if you’re anything like me you’re stressing out,  combing hair and fixing the details up until the very last second! And after all of that hard work, it is sometimes hard to get into the ‘holiday spirit’. 🙂
Put together a play list that is fun, upbeat, and that your kids will enjoy.
Think if this as a way to help them, and YOU, let loose and have some fun. Nothing beats a good beat or possibly some Christmas carols to get you in that festive mood! We have a small portable speaker, but you can also just use your phone too. You might not have everyone looking at the camera at the same time, but what your photographer will capture will be happy and incredibly adorable, which is what matters the most!

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4 comments

Reply

Love it.
I always enjoy your family pics and love these ideas. Thanks!!

Reply

Thanks so much Sarah! And thanks for the sweet compliment! xoxo-M

Reply

This is perfect. Such great tips

Reply

Thanks A! And thanks for passing it along. I’d be happy to help any of your clients if they needs some more specific ideas once they get rolling. xoxo-M

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