We took our family pictures ourselves and I’m actually really pleased with how they turned out! I was really worried and I admit it was a little stressful not having a photographer managing us and getting the attention of our children, I’m still so glad we tried it by ourselves and saved the money. Don’t get me wrong, if we’d had the money at the time I would pay it in a heartbeat! I love professional pictures SO much and I really think they are priceless.
Thought I would share just a few of my favorites–and show you just how big my kids have grown!
(some of the pictures I edited a copy to have a matte finish, and some I left. I couldn’t decide which I liked better).
My little tips I’ve learned over the years that I want to remember:
- Wardrobe: Taking family pictures doesn’t need to cost a lot of money. Look in your closets first for clothing that will work. Ask friends if you can borrow items of clothing, especially for kids. I’ve done that nearly every time, sometimes just a pair of cute heels my friend owns, or jeans for my son that are the right color (Dev is wearing a friend’s jeans because I wanted to incorporate more of that caramel color). Maybe sew a couple items if you leave yourself time to prepare for that. Layers are always great, as well as different textures. I used THIS fur vest I made for Ruby a while back, and whipped up a quick dress for her using amazing quilted heart fabric from Joann. I made Bailey’s skirt out of a shirt I had and crocheted her cowl scarf. Super easy. That being said, because we weren’t hiring a photographer, I did feel it was ok to buy a couple items of clothing for us to wear and coordinate a little better. And honestly for pictures I think it’s worth it so the end result just looks better.
- Use a remote + the self-timer + tri-pod: We took a LOT of pictures, because sometimes you take fifty and only one turns out. I really think a remote for your camera is the best way to go. They are relatively inexpensive and you can still use your camera delay time. I had my self timer set on 3 seconds, so I had time to hide the remote and didn’t need to run back and forth. I use THIS one (affiliate link) for my Nikon 3100. It works great.
- Periodically check the pictures. I would have everyone get in the frame and arrange, then jump in. I didn’t check if they were turning out after every picture was taken, but rather in batches. When I noticed people were moving around more or we were shifting (very likely when you have a two year old who bolts after every picture), I’d check to make sure we were all in the frame. It wasn’t until I checked a batch of pictures that I noticed my 12 year old was pulling some super funny faces on purpose. They are fun to have, but it was a good thing I checked because I could tell him to knock it off.
- Keep it to just one location. I think one location is great. But we were on the hunt for a perfect Christmas card and drove up the canyon. It was cold, it was windy, and we never did find the perfect backdrop of pine trees I was hoping for. The location in the pics was one I had picked out before, was much closer to home, and I knew was beautiful already. Plus it was just the right amount of overcast for great lighting.
- Have fun. I talked beforehand with my husband, letting him know I was a little bummed we weren’t hiring the photographer I had wanted, and so if we could just agree to try and not be stress buckets and have fun with the kids, then it would all work out. And it did. For the most part we were having fun, laughing and Ruby’s funny faces and antics, letting our boys goof off and the kids run around. And now I have a folder full of perfectly imperfect pictures that I’m soooo thankful to have because they capture our family just how we are.