I am a believer that every family should take professional family photos at least once in your lifetime.
Okay, that’s a lie.
I think you should take them way more than that.
Let’s chat about why I love family photos, how we plan for them and what you can do to fit them into your family budget.
1. In our house, we have the most lovely curved wall on our staircase. If ever, in the event of a fire in our home, the photos that hang on that wall will be the first things I grab, besides people, and just before the Nutella. Back in 1997, when Scott and I were making a whole $900 month (combined!) we squirreled away some cash and began the, now yearly, family photo. For the first five years, it was just us. Then, we added little people. And lots of ’em the following 13 years. Just look at the family we used to be!
I can’t tell you the hours we’ve spent looking back at our old family photos, admiring how we’ve grown and changed. As a little girl, I remember sitting in my grandmother’s house poring over old photographs. Do yourself, and your future family members a favor. Take family photos. It’s an investment you will never regret. Promise.
2. Don’t let your fears over your body’s imperfections keep you from capturing life. Ladies, I know you feel me. Six babies later and I have a little extra around the middle I’d rather not document. But you know what? I’m doing it anyway. Push aside the negativity and your fears and get your hiney, in all its glory, into the photos with your kids and husband. You love these people. Don’t ever forget that. I think some of my favorite photos growing up are the ones of me with my parents. Give your kids that same gift.
3. What can I say, I’m a planner. I start thinking about next year’s photos as we’re wrapping up the current year’s. I know. It’s a sickness. You don’t have to plan that far in advance, but don’t expect to call a photographer after Thanksgiving and schedule a photo shoot before Christmas. Find a photographer you love and schedule the date early. We typically call our photographer in August or early September and then shoot the photo in mid- to late-October.
4. When planning your clothes, think about your location. When we shot our urban/eclectic photos, these clothes were perfect.
Some folks go for a specific color palette, or clothes style. My best advice? Find one outfit or statement piece you love and build everything else around it. And, don’t give yourself the short end of the stick momma! We usually try everything on a few days before and I iron or repair anything that needs some love. Also, don’t forget about the shoes. I made a panicked 911 call to my neighbor last year. Don’t be that friend. But if you are, Facebook can be your lifesaver.
5. Avoid the matchy matchy. Ok, so I did break the rule for this gem.Worth it? Worth it. It’s one of my most pinned photos on the blog (holla to the Aggies) and truly, one of the easiest clothes years ever! I designed the t-shirts and then had them printed at CustomInk. No, I can’t sell the design. I have to pay some crazy high fee to A&M because of a thing called trademark. Maybe one day I’ll figure out how to market them. For my non-Aggie readers those numbers represent everyone’s graduation year from Texas A&M. I believe we call that #raisinemright
6. Take at least one photo of you and your other half. Yes, once upon a time it was just “Scott and Kathryn.” Every year, we kick the kids out of the frame and enjoy a little Mr. and Mrs. photo time. I adore those moments.
7. How to make family photos affordable? Plan ahead. Maybe you have a friend who’s trying to build his or her portfolio and they need a family to practice some skills. Or, maybe your favorite photographer is doing mini-sessions or they have a photo special going on. Perhaps you can swap services. Throughout the year, we opt out of school photos (a complete racket for sub-par images) and I apply that money to our family photos. I used to print images for the grandparents and other extended family and friends, but now I just send them the link for ordering if they’re interested. I was always ordering the wrong size or orientation anyway! Bottom line, it’s a priority in our house and so we plan accordingly.
8. Enjoy the heck out of them. We have family photos all over our house. While I do stash some in photo albums from past years and I have tons in digital format, I keep many more on display. I love photos. Can you tell? Photos are meant to be enjoyed, I say.
Later this week, we’re off to take this year’s family pic. Details coming via the ‘gram if you follow me over there. Any guesses on our location? Hint: cowboy boots fit right in at this place.
Happy snapping, y’all!