Family photos are a beautiful and wondrous thing to get. They hold amazing memories and as a mama who usually takes the photos, I’m super thankful for them because I finally get to be in a few of our photos! Taking family photos can be hard as well, especially on the parents(and the kids!). The act of smiling pretty for a camera is difficult on anyone. When you throw 6 kids in, most of them less than thrilled to be taking these photos, you start to have some major respect for the photographers who manage full wedding party pictures!
We recently did family pictures with my amazingly talented sister in law, Liza. I have been pushing to get them done for awhile now, but especially since last November, when we became able to legally share all the photos of our kids. Life, winter, and a new baby on the way kept us from doing them until this summer though. I’m so excited (and in love) with them. I wanted to share some tips to other parents who may want to get them done but are worried about getting their 2/4/6 kids in pictures together-and looking decent!
Pick out outfits ahead of time:
My beautiful friend Rebekah mentions this in her post about doing maternity pictures, so I first off second all the reasons she mentions in that! To add though; the more people you get into the picture, the harder it is to match everyone’s outfit. I picked out one outfit, mine honestly, to begin with. (I chose to base it off something I felt good in because I’ the most self conscious one out of us all!) From there I built every other person’s outfit off to match the outfit I wanted to wear. I tried to stay away from too many patterns and I totally cheated and used my best friend for help when I got stuck. Having the outfits all picked out made day of getting ready easier on Mama. Don’t forget shoes!
Find a good location:
We did these photos at the farm my brother in law works at. We chose outside and in nature because we wanted that to be the background of our pictures, since the outdoors are such a large part of our lives together. The farm added some fun areas we could take pictures, with tractors and the corn field. Plus, nothing can ever beat natural light!
(I let our two usual non smilers take one not smiling haha!)
Make the photos themselves fun to take.
Incorporate fun things into the pictures! We let them explore the farm, play in the sawdust, enjoy the walking around. They enjoyed being that close to the tractor and all the farm tools. We also refrained from taking too many photos that were posed-we instead chose to do a more “lifestyle” look.
Find the best photographer for your family.
When I started looking for a photographer, I had a long list of things they needed to understand/be capable of doing. They needed to know how to handle kids with special needs, handle large groups. I preferred one who was comfortable with nursing since I would probably do that in a few photos…or I would have to nurse Bear at some point on the sidelines. I also would have wanted the photographer to meet my family before hand, just so they could get an idea of what is going on there.
Bribe them…bribe them all!
I have no qualms nor shame in admitting I quite literally bribed my children to smile and deal with taking family photos. I also may have threatened the loss of electronics. Here’s the thing; I rarely insist my kids smile for photos. I let it go because I value their bodies and choices with their bodies as their own. But dang it I wanted at least one nice photo with all my kids. So I bribed with ice cream and threatened with the loss of fun things. No shame. No shame at all. When you can get 8 people in a photo and smiling without bribery, then we can talk.
One last simple tip I have is bring something for the kids to drink if it’s how or a way to stay warm if it gets cold. Take care of it all!
What are your family photo tips?