How many of you mama’s out there have made it through your annual family holiday photos? It’s quite a process, right?! Even though my kiddos are pretty used to having their picture taken, it’s still an adventure for us too. This year we decided to take our holiday pics at a local Christmas tree farm. We shot them with the amazing Vanessa Lentine and I’m so happy with how they turned out!
Before any shoot I always do a mental checklist to make sure we are as prepared as we can be to make the photoshoot a success. There are certain things I always take into consideration and I thought it might be helpful if I shared my thought process with all of you!
#1 WHAT TO WEAR:
Ahhhh the hardest thing of all, right? Especially when you have multiple family members to consider. With four kiddos, it can take me quite a bit to figure out everyone’s outfits! I like to coordinate but I definitely don’t want to be too matchy-matchy. After considering the location I always start by choosing either my own outfit or something for the girls.
For this shoot my jumping off point was Charlotte’s tartan skirt. I love emerald green this season and you can never go wrong with a classic tartan. Then when I found my shirt from Madewell, I knew it would be perfect! Slightly dressed up but not too fancy for a tree farm, and again that perfect emerald color! The rest of my crew I kept pretty simple in greys and whites. I couldn’t resist darling Hunter boots for my girls (bonus that they came from Amazon so they were quick!!) and a gold star dress for Miss Emmy. Owen is wearing his favorite cords from Crewcuts, ie the only pants this boy likes…remember they made it into the gift guide for boys?
All of our outfit details are linked at the end of this post!
#2 WHAT TO BRING
My bag is usually overflowing when we have photoshoots away from home. Here’s a general sampling of what makes it into my bag….SNACKS, SNACKS, SNACKS. Ha!! But right?! The key to happy kids is snacks! And water! Other then that I actually don’t bring a ton of stuff. I always have wipes with me, because of course I have a baby, but they are handy for wiping faces and hands (snacks, remember?) I used to bring a hair brush, etc. but honestly this rarely comes with me now. I’ve found that photoshoots go by pretty quick, and it’s just easier not to be fussing with anyone’s hair. We’re never ‘perfect’ anyway, and I like our photos to reflect our true selves!
#3 MAKE A SHOT LIST
Before we head off to the photoshoot I usually make a shot list. Sometimes it will just be a mental list, but often I write it down! In the busyness of the shoot it can be easy to forget which images you really want to capture. For this shoot I only had a two ‘must-have’ shots – one family and one of the kids together. I knew I’d be using these images for our family holiday card, so these were necessary.
And you want to have an idea what your general vision for the shoot is….do you want photos where everyone is looking at the camera? Or more candid/lifestyle shots? Like I mentioned I wanted a group family and kid shot of everyone looking at the camera, but other then that my vision for the shoot was to capture the kiddos just having fun at the farm. They played marco polo and just ran around and laughed a lot. Vanessa was able to capture their carefree spirit and those are the images I treasure the most!!
#4 TRUST YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER
You hired them for a reason right? So when they say it’ll look best if someone stands on this side, someone bends down, and turns a little to the left….just trust them! Everything looks different through a lens and you can’t see what they are seeing! I love that Vanessa gives us direction while allowing us to be ourselves too.
I also love to work with the same photographer over and over again if at all possible. The familiarity makes everything easier! My kiddos know Vanessa and take her direction pretty well (eeek, right Vanessa???) And I completely trust that she is going to capture the type of images we both love best.
#5 HAVE FUN
A little cheesy, but it’s true. Don’t take it too seriously and have FUN. Photoshoots can be stressful, they are an investment, so I know you want to get good photos out of them! But your pictures will turn out better if you’re all happy. Keeping things lighthearted is always better when kids are involved. My husband had them playing Marco Polo through the trees between shots and now that’s what they remember about the tree farm. Plus Vanessa got some pretty cute pics of them running! Win win!
I hope you found this helpful!!! As always thank you for reading!!
Brad – JCrew shirt and jeans