5 Tips for Successful Family Photos

There is so much pressure on getting a great family photo, am I right!? This is the one time each year, I wish I lived somewhere with snow or at the very least, colorful autumn leaves so I could get THAT backdrop.  So if you’ve got that where you live, tip #1 is take advantage of those Seasonal surroundings!  Need some guidance with this annual project?  Read on for my best practices (I feel worthy of this post since I’ve got 4 years of family photos under my belt!).


Kara: Belted Velvet Jumpsuit: Chelsea 28 (wearing a size 0): Shoes: Steve Madden

Coco: Dress: Target/ Navy Bows: Amazon/ Gold Shoes: Mini Melissa

Austin: Denim: / Sport Coat: Hugo Boss (found at Nordstrom Rack)/ Dress shirt /Denim: Paige (on sale!) Shoes: Cole Haan

Griffin: Shirt: Janie and Jack/ Pants: Janie and Jack

1.) The most important tip of all…lower your expectations.  Like REALLY LOWER THEM.  Set the bar extremely low, ok? Expect meltdowns, wardrobe malfunctions, rain, hunger rage…all of it.  This way, when any and/or all of those things inevitably happen, you’ll be prepared and at peace with it.  

2.) Speaking of preparedness, BE PREPARED.  Everyone (parents too), should have a back up outfit and shoes.  Bring plenty of snacks (although everyone should have a solid meal beforehand), toys, water, binky’s, lovey’s…pack the car the night before if you’re doing a morning photo shoot (which I recommend with kiddos).  We packed extra clothes for everyone but not shoes…learn from my mistakes, friends!  Griffin had two sizes of shoes.  I tried the larger size on him the night before the shoot, and they were falling off of his little feet.  I figured the next size down would be perfect but didn’t try them on him.  When I tried to put them on at the photo shoot (not in the car since he’d just take them off and try to eat them), they literally would NOT go on his fat little feet.  So Griffin is NOT wearing shoes in our photo and I couldn’t care less (see tip #1, lol).  Either way, do not expect kids not to be kids…they spit up, have potty accidents and get snacks all over them.  So if any of those happen in the car, you’re set with your extra set of clothes!  PS- try EVERYTHING on a week beforehand.  That way, if something doesn’t work, you have time to snag another option. 

3.) Bribes.  There is NOTHING wrong with a little bribery when it comes to getting THE shot.  We used a lollipop with Coco.  If she was well behaved and listened, she got a lollipop after the photo shoot.  It worked like a charm and we got LOTS of genuine smiles! 

4.) Bring a squeaky toy for babies.  Even if it’s a dog toy.  That way the photographer can use it while shooting to get the baby to look in the right direction.  They may not be smiling, but at least they can be looking the right way! 

5.) Feel free to add some glitz.  Dress up if you want!  I REALLY wanted to wear this sequined skirt but it wasn’t going to be here on time.  I just thought it would look really festive in the photos!  I opted for a velvet jumpsuit instead but don’t feel like you have to go casual.  I’m thrilled to frame this in our home and I love that we’re all jazzed up.  Try not to overthink the outfits. 

Things to Consider for Outfits:

Here’s where I consult Pinterest for inspiration! Just search Family Holiday Photos and you can get a ton of ideas- you can also see my inspo page here.  Personally, I prefer not to be matching…as in everyone wearing the same color or outfit.  I wouldn’t shy away from color or prints either- gingham, polka dots or stripes can be really beautiful in photos!  I also love festive Holiday colors (we have yet to actually do that though- maybe next year!). Here are three color combinations that I think work well together:

Navy/ Maroon/ Mustard Yellow/ Grey

Cream/ Pink/ Black and White/ Tan

Red/ Grey/ Gold/ Navy and or Hunter Green

I hope these tips help!  Let me know how your photos go and as always, thank you so much for following along! xo 

Photos by Henry S. Young

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