I don’t know if anyone else out there gets as stressed out for family pictures as I do but wow….I panic. I love having family pictures and being able to document my kids as much as possible since they’re growing so fast. With that being said, I also dread it. Every single photo shoot that I have had with my kids since Cason was born 4 1/2 years ago I have left in tears. Ok ok, I’m a pretty high strung person as it is and a total perfectionist but I can’t help but want one of those Pinterest worthy family photos hanging in my house! So needless to say, I definitely think I set the bar too high considering I have 3 kids 4 years old and under. Anyway, I decided that this time would be different! I wasn’t going to cry, I wasn’t going to stress, and I wasn’t going to expect perfection. In fact, I was totally ready to send out Christmas cards with a photo of my children crying if those were the only shots we got. I also tried to be more prepared this time around so I thought I would share some tips that I came up with that helped me and my family out!
So first things first. I scoured Pinterest for good outfit color combinations before I went to the store so I wasn’t overwhelmed with all of the options. I also knew that our pictures were going to be outside in the mountains and that the colors are starting to change for fall so I wanted to go with something that would compliment our scenery. That made it easy when I got to Old Navy! I love shopping at Old Navy for my family because everything is really affordable and the quality is great. I was able to snag matching olive green shirts for the boys and a super cute berry colored peplum top for Kinsley. For Drew and I, I decided to keep it neutral since we had a lot of color already and we went with long sleeved shirts in an oatmeal color. My scarf also had a pop of a Burgundy color that complimented Kinsley’s shirt really well. After outfits were out of the way, (and a week in advance I might add) I was already feeling better about this photo shoot being a success!
Next, I started talking up the photo shoot all week to my kiddos. I explained what we were going to do, where we were going, who Miss Patrice was, and how fun it was going to be. I also promised some treats after! I am not against bribing my littles if it means a great family photo so I made sure the lollipops and Gatorade were purchased ahead of time and in the car so the kids could see what their reward was going to be. We also “practiced” taking photos around the house which I kind of regret because everywhere we go now my kids say “Mom! Take a picture of us! CHEEEESE!”. Lol. Here’s proof (and I love the fact that when I take their pictures, one is always not looking at me):
So the part that was not planned was the fact that my kiddos did not get their regular naps in that day. We had a funeral to go to in the afternoon and weren’t able to get home in time for naps so I was actually really nervous about that little schedule change but God was on my side that day and my kids did great even though they missed those naps. Now normally, I would totally have tried to follow a super normal routine with staying home and getting some rest but sometimes life happens and you just have to go with it. Also, in order to get the best lighting, our pictures were not until 6:30 in the evening and I was worried because bedtime is at 7:30 so not only did they not get their naps but then they were going to be up way later than normal…but again, they did great!
The location that we went to for our photos was about an hour and fifteen minutes away, so for the car ride I made sure everyone was in comfy clothes, we had everyone’s favorite movies (Cars 2 and Zootopia), and we had snacks (and a bottle) so no one would show up hangry . I had all of their photo shoot clothes packed in a bag along with their nice shoes, socks, hairspray, hair elastics, a spray bottle, a comb, and last but not least, Kinsley’s hair bows. Whew! That bag was stuffed but I didn’t want to risk their nice outfits getting ruined on the drive up there and I knew for sure that Kinsley’s hair wouldn’t last the whole car ride. We made sure to leave our house early so that we had a good 20 minutes to get ready before Miss Patrice showed up. We pulled up to our location, got out of the car and went potty, and then we started to get each kiddo ready one by one. This also allowed each kid to have some time to roam around and check out the location before we got started. Instead of rushing out of the car and then rushing to take photos, they got to do everything at a pace that worked better for them. By the time Miss Patrice got there we were all put together and no one was stressed.
And of course, after how amazing my kiddos did at the photoshoot I had to follow through with their rewards I promised and I wish I would have gotten a picture because the kids were double fisting their lollipops! I hope the experience was as enjoyable for them as it was for me and maybe for the next photo shoot they can remember back to this one and how fun it was! To date, this was the absolute best family photo shoot experience we have had and I can’t wait to see the pictures because I know they will be amazing. A lot can be said for being prepared and also for relaxing a little bit and just having fun. So in summary, here are the things that worked for me and family this time around:
- Find family outfits as soon as possible so you have time to switch out anything if needed or if you need to order something online, it will have plenty of time to ship to you.
- Get the kids on board with the photo shoot. Have fun teaching them about what a photo shoot is and explaining the appropriate way to act.
- Get your kiddos a reward. Even adults like being rewarded!
- Try to stick with a familiar routine that day: nap times, meal times, etc.
- Since our trip was a little long, we made sure the kids would be comfortable, happy, and entertained during the car ride.
- Double and triple check that you have everything you need BEFORE you leave your house! No one wants to get to a photoshoot and realize you forgot the baby’s diapers;)
- Give the kids a little bit of time to explore before the photo shoot. Kids can sense when they are being rushed and they don’t like it. They can also sense when you are stressed out so relax. And trust me, I know that can be hard sometimes!
- And last but not least, give your family grace and have fun with it! I acted totally natural with my kiddos and just had fun and I think that is what made the biggest difference.
I hope this post was helpful and that you found some tips that might work for you and your family at your next photo shoot so you can get your Pinterest worthy family photo and enjoy the experience at the same time! I can’t wait to share our photos with you next week!