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Ah, family pictures! We do them for about every holiday – Christmas, Easter, Halloween, etc. While those we give them to fawn and swoon over them, we chuckle and shake our heads for they know not what it took to get those near picture-perfect smiles! In this article, I want to share a few tips to help your next photoshoot to be one for the record books.

Capturing those crucial milestones is important because we can all think of a time when we wished we had a picture of something or someone who may no longer be with us. With this in mind, let’s work through planning that picture-perfect photoshoot!

Check your calendar

The first thing you want to do is ensure that the family photoshoot isn’t during a busy time when the family has a gazillion activities going on at one time. The worst thing in the world to do is get up one morning, corral everyone to get dressed, and get into the car only for one of the kids to say that they have a soccer game! 

Knowing your family schedule alleviates a lot of unnecessary stress, strife, and hassle. Family photos are to be cherished, not hurried, or rushed, so time management is of the essence.

Also, give yourself enough time that, if you have to reschedule, doing so won’t be like climbing Mt. Everest in the middle of a blizzard in January. Some photographers may require a deposit, which you don’t want to lose, so be sure to abide by their rescheduling and/or cancellation policy.

Choose a photographer with your timeline in mind


If you know that you need your photos within a certain time, look for someone who can help you meet that time, especially if you have to mail photos out to friends and family. Consider going online to see if there is a Portrait Innovations studio near you. They are known for providing same-day printed photos as well as photos on CD with a digital release to use the photos. 

Some department stores photo studios may offer the same service; however, they may not have all that you need at the time. They may also be limited with certain prints, sizes, and options that you may want. Remember that it’s not about simply taking pictures but making memories instead! Having the right photographer helps with that.

Coordinate, but don’t match

We’ve all seen the black and red plaid pajamas in every Christmas photo known to man. Listen…It’s perfectly okay to go outside the norm and coordinate, but not match. Sit down as a family and work on a color palette that makes everyone as happy as possible. That way those smiles won’t be quite so strained. Better yet, if you live near an Old Navy, plan a family shopping day. They have a myriad of complementary colors and patterns that are certain to make your pictures pop.

Some local department stores may have displays that will help as well. Doing a little window shopping can be quite beneficial and you may save some money if you’re in their rewards program if they have one.

Of course, you could take it to the extreme and hire an image stylist to take all the pressure off you and all you have to do is pay for what’s chosen and works for each member of your family. Even more extreme, you can even turn the family photoshoot into a family sewing project where everyone has a hand in making their own complete outfits or outfit pieces. Be they from a new fabric or a revitalization of something they already have, you can unleash your creativity.

Clothing rental services can help when you are specific in what you need and then you won’t be stuck with an outfit you may not wear again.

Make sure the backgrounds complement your wardrobe

Not all colors look great on a rainbow background, so take care in choosing certain backgrounds. You want to avoid looking washed out or standing off a little too much! There aren’t a whole lot of opportunities for second tries or second impressions. You want to be able to use every photo you take in some way, so there’s little margin for error in this area. Yes, you can pay for touchups and edits, but you don’t want fake-looking photos, either. 

Choose backgrounds that compliment your clothing color choice and don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations. You may not particularly like what’s recommended at times but remember that it’s all about having the best family photos possible. The camera shows what the naked eye misses, and it very well could be that the photographer’s choice wins in the long run.

Don’t stop at photos

Getting a few photo-blazed keepsakes won’t hurt. There are a few things that you can use year-round and add a little pop to any room in the house. Things such as photo cubes, desk or yearly calendars, and photo books are great conversation pieces to have around and make amazing keepsakes for the future. Choose a few family favorites and then a special one for grandparents and godparents. They will appreciate them.

Although choosing these things is fun, don’t go overboard with it! You WILL take photos for another occasion, so don’t spend all the money you put aside for said keepsakes on one set of picture’s merch! If you take pictures for every special occasion, choose different types of merchandise specific to the occasion or even the season.

Taking family photos is a time-honored treasure that yields hours of good conversation and funny memories for years to come. With the right planning, photographer, outfits, backgrounds, and merchandise, you’ll create a lasting memory and even a solid family tradition that will continue for generations. Now that you have these tips, what family magic will you be able to create?


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