Ok guys, lets chat Holiday cards. I feel like there is SO much pressure surrounding fall family photos and sending out the perfect holiday card. We send out a Christmas card every year with our family photo on it. This is the first year that I kind of didn't feel like doing it. Mostly because it's just expensive! Between the outfits, the photographer, the cards, and the stamps... it really is a big expense. And also because it takes a lot of time and planning. At one point, I decided not to do them this year. Eric actually called me out and couldn't believe that I was trying to skip them!
Ultimately we decided to do them, but we kept it super simple. I used clothes we already had and didn't stress about perfectly coordinated outfits. I plan on ordering cheap(er) Christmas cards (thank you Costco!) and Eric even said he'd help me address them this year! So basically, I'm saying give yourself some grace this holiday season! Us moms are responsible for so much, especially when it comes to creating holiday magic for our little ones. So if you decide to do holiday cards, keep it simple! And if you decide not to do them, don't beat yourself up! Christmas cheer isn't wrapped up in a holiday card :).
If you do decide to do holiday cards with a family photo, I wanted to share some family photo tips (that can be used for any family photo session-I just thought this was the perfect time to share them!). I actually posted these tips months ago, you can see the full post here. I thought I'd do a quick refresher and add a few more tips specifically for Christmas/holiday photos!
Family Photo Tips
We've all seen (or participated) in the family photo where everyone is wearing the exact same color shirt and jeans (or worse, the photo where everyone is wearing jean shirts :-P). How boring! When choosing family outfits, I like to coordinate 2-3 colors and some type of print or pattern. Make sure the 2-3 colors you're choosing look good together, I always lay everyones clothes on the bed to make sure they look good next to each other. For our recent family photos, I chose to go with cream and tan and added pops of mustard and maroon. Since Eric and I were both wearing solids, I put Sloan in a floral dress and P in polka dot tights. I love to see a little print or pattern in family photo outfits. Just make sure one person doesn't stand out too much, remember you want everything to coordinate (but not match!).
Another tip for holiday outfits for photos... it can be tempting to choose red and/or green because you have Christmas in mind. While that might look so cute on a Christmas card, it might not look great on your wall and work with the rest of your house. If you plan on printing and hanging your photos in your home, make sure the photos aren't screaming red and green. Unless your interior colors are red and green... and if they are, we may need to talk about that ;).
One more piece of advice when choosing your family's outfits: Choose your own outfit first (I'm talking to you, mama). We are hardest on ourselves so choosing our own outfit will be the biggest challenge. Choose something that you feel good in first and then choose everyone else's outfits.
2. comfort & attitude
Make sure everyone is comfortable, but mostly your little people! If your son is miserable in that darling little bowtie that you bought him, ditch the bowtie. Sloan will only wear dresses and the twirlier the better, I would never put her in anything other than a dress for photos because I know that's what she's most comfortable in. DO NOT schedule photos during nap time, schedule them either way before nap time or afterwards. FEED them before you go (even if it's not their normal meal time), they'll be much happier with a full belly. Bring snacks or treats for bribery (our go to is mini M&M's), you never know when you might need reinforcements!
Ok, this one is IMPORTNANT: Photos can be really stressful and it can be easy to feel frustrated with little people who will not cooperate. Do your best to keep a fun and positive attitude! Your kiddos will sense and probably copy the attitude that you have. At our recent family photos, P would not stand. Like literally would not straighten her legs when I tried to put her down. Like her legs were jello and she would just melt into the dirt. I was getting a bit frustrated with her (mostly because she is usually my more cooperative child!), but I really just had to laugh about it. We didn't get all the "shots" that I had in my head, but we went with it and still got some great photos. Even if the girls are sitting in the dirt instead of standing, they still look super cute doing it :).
P doing her best jello impression.
3. finding the right photographer
When looking at a photographers website, make sure to read their "about me" section if they have one. Try to get a feel for who they are and decide if they'll work for you and your family. Look at photos they've taken of other families and try to get a sense of their style (do they do more traditional/posed photos or do they have a lot of silly/candid/lifestyle photos). This will make a huge difference in the way your kids respond and act in the photos.
Other important things to know when choosing a photographer:
-What is the cost and what does it include? Does it include the digital rights to the images? If so, how many images does it include (many photographers cap the number of images they will send.
-How long will your session be?
-What is the photographers turnaround time? Meaning, how long will you be waiting on your images.
4. keep it simple, short, and sweet
When you're taking photos with small children, try to find a photographer who offers mini sessions. There is no way you're going to keep a little person happy and engaged for an hour or more. Book a session that is 30 minutes or less. You don't need outfit changes, lots of props, or 500 photos. Remember, you only need a few good photos! Keep it simple, short, and sweet. Your kiddos will thank you for it. And now that I think about it, it may be even more beneficial for your husband than your children :).
Ask around, many photographers offer discounted mini holiday sessions that are around 15 minutes long!
We usually try to get one great family photo of the four of us right when we get there. Then we let the girls run around and try to get some candid shots. Remember, you only need one great shot for your holiday card!
5. display the photos in your home
This seems so obvious, but people often forget to print and frame their photos. Do it right away while you're excited about your new photos. Do it at the same time you order your holiday cards and you're sure not to forget! Frame a couple and display them in your home, you'll smile every time you walk past them!
I hope these were helpful and if you decide to do fall family photos I hope that they go well! I'm sending all the cooperative and smily child vibes your way!