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How to Dress Kids for Family Photos | Seattle Family Photographer

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How to Dress Kids for Family Photos | Seattle Family Photographer

Getting a family ready for family photos can seem daunting. Before her session, one mother told me that it’s always such a hassle trying to pull together outfits for her kids. I get it, especially if you have multiple kids, trying to coordinate everyone can be challenging. However, I want to help you with these tips on how to dress your kids for family photos.

This is a longer post, but stick with me. At the end I will even include a few of my favorite places for kids clothes that photograph (and wear) beautifully. Make sure you’re brushed up on what to wear for family photos tips as you’re thinking about the kids outfits too!

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Consider coordinating options as you refresh your child’s wardrobe each season.

So this first tip may sound crazy to many of you. I must confess, I love picking out outfits for my kids. Yup, I’m a nerd, and I think about it way in advance. By doing so, I relieve a lot of stress when it comes time to put together outfits. So in the spring and fall when I’m already shopping for my kids, I try to purchase items for my kids that coordinate.

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Shopping at one store helps colors match.

I would say the most difficult part of coordinating outfits is how many shades of colors there are and they don’t match. So if the colors you’ve chosen for your family photo session are navy and white with pops of yellow and red, you want to make sure the reds and yellows are the same across your kids.

What do I mean? Well, look in your closet and grab a red shirt. Now without holding onto that shirt, go do the same thing and find red in everyone else’s. Chances are, those reds are all different, and will clash. You could have Christmas red, faded red, orangey red, the list goes on.

To avoid this problem, I suggest sticking with one store when you buy your kids clothing for family photos. Each season they will have colors that you can find across all of the kids’ clothing - from infant to teenager.

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Use layers for warmth and color.

This family did a beautiful job of using layers to add color. Baby boy’s red had is a perfect pop of red that ties in with his sister’s outfit without looking too matchy-matchy. Even better it served to keep his head warm! Other ways to add color and layers are through sweaters, scarves, and mittens.

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Think about their outfit head to toe.

Again, this mama nailed it with the red shoes for the youngest daughter, and the bows in the girl’s hair. Know that your photographs will capture entire bodies - shoes and all. So if your son (or husband) only owns tennis shoes that are neon green, you may consider finding a pair of shoes that go with your outfits better. The last thing you want is those neon shoes to be a major distraction in your photo.

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Dress kids with movement and comfort in mind.

Remember, a family photo session with me is not stiff. There are snuggles, tickles, running, jumping, dancing - there is lots of movement. Make sure your kids can play comfortably. Of course, you want them to look nice, but if you’re afraid they will get those white pants dirty, maybe they are not the best option for photos. Instead stick with jeans or darker pants that hide dirt better. We will be outside, playing, there will be dirt.

Don’t forget undergarments for girls in dresses. My girls love dresses that twirl, and they photograph beautifully. However, make sure you have either tights or under shorts for them!

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I have a few favorite places for clothes for kids that photograph beautifully and my kids enjoy wearing.

I want to say that none of these places have paid me, nor given me anything for sharing their shops here. They are ones that I personally use and love because their clothes photograph beautifully and are comfortable so my kids enjoy wearing the clothing.

Alice + Ames - They have a classic ballet dress that twirls beautifully. The past few years, they are almost the only dresses my girls wear regularly and can be seen in our family photos numerous times.

Remie Girl - Girls dresses, skirts and leotards. Again, adorable dresses that twirl.

Hanna Anderson - They have something for kids ages newborn to age 14, boys and girls. This is one of my favorite places when matching colors across several of my kids.

Target - Their Cat&Jack line is both affordable and adorable. They, too, have great colors across ages for both boys and girls. Bonus, you can even find coordinating things for mom or dad often too.

Primary - They are great for basics and coordinating across the kids. Since they are mainly solids, I love them for things like undershirts, undershorts (for those dresses), polos and cardigans.

Childhoods Clothing - They have mainly things for baby, but do have great pullover crews and peplums for a little bit older kids (up to size 8/9).

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Have any other favorite shops for kids clothes? Leave me a comment below. I’m always looking for new ideas.

When you book a session with me, I am here to help you every step of the way. So if you’re still in need of help putting together outfits, do not let that stop you from getting photos done.

One mother said to me after getter her family photos back, “Oh my gosh, my favorites ever. I can’t thank you enough. You seriously did SUCH a good job!! The annoyance of getting everyone ready for family pics is worth it every time.”

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What is Lifestyle Family Photography | Seattle Family Photographer

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What is Lifestyle Family Photography | Seattle Family Photographer

Lifestyle family photography is about being intentional with light and posing.

Lifestyle photography sits somewhere in the middle of posed studio photography and true documentary (where you don’t do any posing whatsoever). I am looking for areas with the beautiful light that will add to your photo, and posing you in ways that portray connection and emotion - whether it’s a playful or intimate moment with your family. Although moments may look candid in photos, I have guided each family to get them to that place where the emotion or response is organic.

If you’re afraid you’re not “natural” in front of the camera, do not let that stop you. I am there helping you every step of the way.

There is lots of movement during a lifestyle family photo session.

Kids love to move, explore, and play, not sit still and smile at the camera. A lifestyle family photo session allows for plenty of movement. In fact, it thrives with movement. Families will dance, play, run, throw rocks, and even spin in circles. This movement both photographs beautifully, but it brings out genuine smiles and keeps kids interested and engaged in our time together.

Locations are chosen with purpose.

Family photo sessions can either take place in your home or on location at a local public park. The locations we choose will have a purpose. I regularly scout my locations to see how the light falls within the space, to ensure they aren’t too crowded, and that there is plenty to do. To make the most of a family session we want a space with a field to run in, or a river to toss rocks into, or a trail to explore. If weather isn’t permitting an outdoor location, or you just want an in-home lifestyle session, we are able to capture where your life happens.

What can you expect from me during your lifestyle family photo session?

I will guide you through the entire process, from booking to using your photos. Once you book your session I help you select the right location, proving tips on what to wear for family photos - and even reviewing outfit ideas if you’re still having trouble deciding on which top to put your son in. During your session I guide you through poses and positions watching the light, while acknowledging your children’s personalities, and your special family dynamics. After your session I will send you a little sneak peek (because I know you’re dying to see how they turned out).. Within 2-3 weeks you will receive your gallery of at least 75 final images (edited in both color and black and white) at which point I will begin work on designing your family album. In the end, you can expect to receive a collection of images that capture your family beautifully and artistically while keeping true to who you are right now.

I hope that helps you get a clearer idea of what lifestyle family photography truly is. If you still have questions, please don’t hesitate with any questions. Before you book a session with any photographer, make sure their style, beliefs, and experience is in line with what you’re looking for. Ready for a lifestyle family photo session?

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What Happens When You Let Go Of Expectations for Family Photos | Seattle Family Photographer

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What Happens When You Let Go Of Expectations for Family Photos | Seattle Family Photographer

I am a perfectionist. At home, I have expectations of how everything should go. I might just be a bit of a control freak, too (there is a right way to load the dishwasher). However, when it comes to family photos when children are involved the best thing I can do is to let go of any expectations - unless I expect my kids to be crazy. I admit that may not seem easy, and in fact, I shared how during one of my own family sessions I made mistake after mistake in a blog post called Lessons From My Personal Family Photo Session.

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But I want to explain what happens when you let go.

Magic happens when you let go of expectations for family photos.

Now that may seem a little dramatic. But I promise, it is like magic when you let go, when you relax and just love on your family. Your children feel your stress, but they also feel your joy and excitement. So when you’re just happy, excited, and ready for some fun without any idea of what exactly that will look like, the result will be magic.

This family session last fall was one of my last for 2018 and mom and dad were amazing to work with. As we walked towards Gold Creek Pond on a beautiful, sunny yet snowy day, I gave my pep talk. “Just love on your children no matter what. Let me worry about the photos, you just enjoy this adventure with your children,” I say. The way they nodded I realized they did not need the chat at all, they were already 100% on board and ready to make magic.

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You will surprise your kids.

Kids have expectations too. If they have had family photos in the past they may be expecting you to be stressed. They may be expecting to be bossed around, or that they are having to do something that will be boring and hard. However, when you show them you are relaxed and ready for playing at the park, they will let their guard down. So show grab them, show them you’re silly and ready to have fun. Their reactions (and your photos) will be extra special.

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You will leave feeling excited instead of overwhelmed.

When you let go, we don’t part ways hoping we got one good shot. Instead, you know we did (I mean, I always know we did). Instead of being fretting the gallery, feeling upset and disappointed, you leave knowing you showed up, you loved on your family, and you can’t wait to see the resulting images.

Again, as I hugged this mom good bye I told her how excited I was for her gallery. “We created some truly beautiful images today,” I told her. Her response was cool and easy, “Oh I know you did.” There was no apology for kid behavior, no “I hope so,” she knew there was magic made in the snow.

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You will set the tone for next year’s family session.

So many times families will leave a session and dad will say to me, “that was actually fun!” They are so surprised at the experience. And you can only heighten that experience by letting go of expectations. Then next year when you suggest it is time to book family photos, you won’t be hit with quite so many moans and groans from your husband and kids.

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Now, I realize I may sound like I’m having unrealistic expectations asking you not to stress at all. I’m a type-A, perfectionist, so I get it…..it’s not as easy as Elsa says to “Let it Go".” But going into a photo session with the goal of relaxing a bit can help tremendously. If all else fails, remember that I have four children and been a family photographer for over 9 years. I have seen it all, so you have nothing to worry about.

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Celebrating a 1st Birthday in Photos | Seattle Family Photographer

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Celebrating a 1st Birthday in Photos | Seattle Family Photographer

Document the first birthday as an important milestone with a lifestyle family photo session.

Celebrating a child’s first birthday is such a big milestone. It isn’t just that your baby is turning one, but it means that you survived the first year! So first, a big congratulations and happy day to your family if you'r little one is turning one. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the first year. There is so much growth with your child changing daily. In so many ways, that first year flies by. However, the first year is also about little sleep, worrying about every little thing, trying to keep your older kids from giving your baby the plague they caught from school, and learning how to parent this little human being as they discover the world around them. That is no easy task.

Just as you took the time to have newborn photos, I think photos around a child’s first birthday are so important. Right now your baby feels so “big” but as you look back in a year, or even just six months, you will see how much of a baby they still were. I say this often, but you will never regret having photos taken of your family.

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Your home is the perfect location for first birthday photos.

By having family photos done in your home, you are able to have your family captured in the spaces you made memories over the past year. Your child will be most comfortable in his own space. In addition, if the weather is poor (which, let’s face it, is a reality often in Seattle) you don’t have to worry about layering your child up. If you’re child is a new walker or still crawling, all those extra layers can make it difficult for them to move. And we can always jump just outside your home for a few family photos, giving you the best of both worlds.

Also, if you’re worried your space does not resemble something designed by the lovely, Joanna Gaines, don’t fret. I’m not photographing your home, I’m just capturing your family. All I need is one window and your family, and together we will create beautiful portraits.

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Let them eat cake.

Who doesn’t love cake? Okay many one year olds don’t. However, the first birthday cake smash is a fun tradition. At the end of your session we can let him eat cake and I will photograph it. (Extra perk, when he’s all messy, you’re already home and can throw him in the bath straight afterwards!)

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Is your child turning one this year? Let’s chat about celebrating the first birthday in photos.

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