My best friend Kim and I decided to try something a little different this year for our holiday photos. After realizing a professional photography session is a gift our husbands only indulge upon once or twice a year, we set a date to play photographer for each other’s family. The result of our two-hour photo shoot was totally worth the stress wrangling two toddlers, two infants, and two husbands. We saved a ton of money by spending the morning together laughing, telling each other to smile, and maybe sipping some bubbly). If you have a camera and a patient friend who likes to take pictures, I highly recommend trading services.
Kim and I have participated in quite a few professional photo sessions with our families, so it wasn’t hard to put together our own. The hardest part of it all was choosing our location. Everything else fell into place quite nicely. Here are some tips for taking family photos.
1.Plan your outfits ahead of time.
The worst thing you can do when you’re going to be taking family photos is to wait until last minute to decide what to wear. I may or may not worry about outfits for weeks in advance, but in the end, it’s worth the fuss not having to scramble the morning of our pictures.
2. Find the ideal location.
Keep it simple. You never want your background to upstage the main focus of the photo – your family! We chose to take our pictures at the national park nearby because Lake Lanier is absolutely gorgeous. An open field or a covered bridge were other possibilities.
3. Bring props (optional).
I really enjoy having props on hand for seasonal photo sessions because they add an optional unique touch to the photographs. You don’t have to use props in each shot and if you are sticking to one location, you will end up variety in your photo reel.
4. Do your research.
Neither Kim nor I consider ourselves to be advanced photographers, but what we lack in skill we make up for with confidence. There are so many resources for how to take great family photos (I love this article) and with our combined research, I think we did a pretty great job. Here are multiple cheat sheets for taking great photographs.
5. Take TONS of pictures.
Rapid shooting is your best friend. I think the more photos you take, the best chance you have at finding a great shot. As previously stated, we aren’t professional photographers and need a lot of room for error.
6. Take breaks. Bring snacks. Be patient. Have fun.
Little kids and photo shoots can be hectic. When you add babies and husbands to the equation, you need to make sure you bring supplies to keep everyone happy. I packed snacks and Kim packed activities, so between the two of us, our families were content. Don’t be afraid to bring beverages for the grown-ups – a mimosa will loosen up the stiffest and shyest adults. Have fun and enjoy the time you’re spending with your loved ones.
In the end, whether you hire a professional or are lucky to have a friend who is handy with a camera, family photos are worth the stress. What better way to capture a happy moment in your life than with a photograph? Life passes us by too quickly to not stop to take it all in.
Check out our family photos of the past.
Caitlin Houston is a Connecticut based life and style blogger.