I recently worked with Shannon Kaple to capture some magical family photos of my ever-growing and changing children. This time of year, we all think about Christmas cards, some of us with excitement and some of us with dread. Through my years of styling family photo sessions, I’ve learned a thing or two to improve on the typical family session! There are the obvious things like having your kids rested and fed and dressing your family in their best clothing, but sometimes you need a little more than that. Maybe because it’s been a hard year, maybe because it’s been a good year, or maybe because you love your beautiful family and want to make your photo session memorable beyond the photos you’ll get as keepsakes.
My motivation for putting in extra effort this year is that my children are at the age of being too young to do as their told willingly and too old to play peek-a-boo to evoke smiles. No matter what the reason, your family session doesn’t need to be a nightmare. Taking the time to think about how to draw your kids into the process is worth all the effort. Here is the product of my time and effort planning WITH my kids. Giving them ownership in the event is the way to their hearts. Every child loves to have a job – marshmallow holder, laugh maker, pose maker, prop master, or in our case, Fairy Catcher.
We regularly spend time in the woods near our home hunting for fairies so I knew it would be the perfect way to get the kids excited about our family photos this year. The kids and I prepared glass jars with our fairies’ favorite things, brought our best fairy books, and the kids went to work, setting beautiful traps for the winged creatures I’m so happy they believe in. Especially because they might not believe this time next year. Thank you to Shannon for capturing all the magic so beautifully, these are my favorite family photos yet!
After our time with the fairies, I had us change into a more colorful and playful wardrobe. As a stylist I constantly get asked what families should wear for their photos and one of my most frequently asked questions is “no bright colors, right?” followed closely by “no patterns or plaid, right?”… My answer is always “that depends!” Families can dress in bright colors and patterns if they are careful to keep everyone’s look cohesive. As you’ll see here, I am wearing plaid pants and a bright orange top, my son is in orange pants and a plaid shirt, husband in denim and plaid, and my daughter wore bold striped leggings and a brightly patterned poncho. It could have looked CRAZY but the trick is keeping individual looks cohesive. Matching is never the goal. I love that everyone’s personality and unique style is still showing through. I kept the kids involved and let them choose the pumpkin chocolates, pack the marshmallows, and prepare the hot chocolate for our “halfway through reward!”. We hit the pumpkin patch the day before so they could pick out whatever pumpkin they loved so that they would be happy and proud to show them off! It all worked like a charm…
And back to the making of Christmas cards, here’s our end result. Lovely cards ordered from Minted.