Ashley H. has been filling our blog with all kinds of creative family ideas, from fun Father’s Day tabletops to DIY back-to-school lunch bags. Today the Hallmark designer is back and collaborating with Hallmark photographer Jane K.—whose shots grace so many of our Think.Make.Share posts—to create stylish and stress-free family photos.
When it comes to having family photos taken, let me make one thing clear: I am not a stylist. But I am a mom with three kids, and I have the desire to take super-cute family pictures while keeping my blood pressure as low as possible. I have done this family photo thing a few times now, and—with the need for personalized holiday cards not too far away—I thought I could shed some light on how I dress my family for a photo shoot.
Simple guidelines for stress-free family photos:
- Select one ensemble to start with and create a color palette. For me, that’s always my daughter. I think it is because she is the most fun to dress. I fell in love with a swingy black and white striped dress and knew I wanted to add a sequined red heart and leopard pin I had at home. I love adding accessories and playful patterns to make things a little more unique! Nailing down her outfit helps create a color palette for building out all the other outfits.
- If possible, I try to shop at one store for the whole family. When you stick to one store, they seem to already have a strong color palette. It also saves you time, which—let’s be honest—we could all use a little bit more of.
Here is the breakdown of how I pulled all the colors for everyone. Each one is different, but all the colors (or sometimes shades of the colors) are taken from the starting color palette.
- I try to only buy things that everyone will be comfortable in. It is really hard to coax a child who is itching or squirming in their clothes to smile and relax for a photo. Comfort is key! I also want these items to be something we would actually wear again. So no ball gowns and tuxedos for us!
- Most importantly, live by the mantra “Let it go.” Yep, that song has become my anthem as a mother. It plays through my head several times a day. I forgot my youngest son’s shoes for this shoot! Let it go. He would just have to be barefoot. My daughter cried at one point about her shoes hurting her heels. Let it go. Remember comfort is key. She finally went barefoot for the shoot as well. Those are small things that are not worth getting worked up about because the tension will show in your photos.
See, no tension here! Just a bunch of sincere and silly people.
Some of my very ambitious friends prefer to take their own holiday card photos. If you’re up for the challenge (go, you!), friend and Hallmark Union Hill Studio photographer Jane Kortright is sharing some great tips in the video below. (Hint: Take photos all year round so you have plenty to choose from!)
Do you have any photography tips that you live by? We’d love to hear them! Post them in the comments below and share your favorite family photos with us on Instagram and Facebook @Think.Make.Share. For a few of our favorite baby Christmas picture ideas, check out Hallmark.com!