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Why Having Your Large Family Photographed is Totally Worth It | Snoqualmie Family Photographer

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Why Having Your Large Family Photographed is Totally Worth It | Snoqualmie Family Photographer

Large family sessions are what my photographer dreams are made of. As a mother of 4, I love meeting with other moms with big families. From the get-go, we just get each other. Now I know it can seem daunting to get everyone ready for a family photo session, especially when you have five, six or even more people to plan outfits for. Several moms have told me trying to come up with outfits can be crazy. (Which is why I came up with this guide on how to dress your kids for family photos, to help you out!). However, they have all come back and said, it was so worth it after seeing their gallery of photographs featuring their family.

I take the traditional “family photo” first. I know that you got everyone ready and want that “perfect” shot to show off to friends and family, you know the one that shows that despite a large family, you’ve got your stuff all together. We start here because most kid’s attention span is short.

Neyssa Lee Photography, Snoqualmie Family Photographer, Large family photo, Lifestyle photo of family of six snuggled together in a fall park setting

But then the rest of the session is about capturing the photos you didn’t even realize you needed.

Our need for family photos may start with wanting a nice Christmas card photo or a gift for the grandparents, and anything beyond that is just gravy. But trust me, the gravy is the good stuff. When you see photos of your family playing, laughing, loving on one another, when you see how beautiful your “chaos” is, you will realize how worth it is was.

2019-01-12_0010.jpgNeyssa Lee Photography, Snoqualmie Family Photographer, Large family photo, Lifestyle photo of kids running towards mom and dad's open arms
Neyssa Lee Photography, Snoqualmie Family Photographer, Large family photo, Lifestyle photo of mother and daughter

The story is in the layers of your family.

After I photograph a wide shot, I will come in closer to get portraits of each child surrounded by their family. The reactions, interactions and looks in the background often add so much to an image, telling your story more fully.

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Neyssa Lee Photography, Snoqualmie Family Photographer, Large family photo, Lifestyle photo of father tickling son

We will capture those special dynamics within your family.

When you have more than two kids there are so many different dynamics within a family. In my own family, my oldest two are super close and have a special bond. But then my daughters have a different relationship, and my oldest son with his baby brother just melt my heart. Don’t even get started on my kids and their dad, they each have this relationship with him that is so treasured.

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We take time for photos of just mom and dad.

When you’re in the trenches of raising a family, it is easy for you to get lost in the daily list of to-dos. You spend your days putting your kids first and your evenings trying to catch your breath before the next day. I want to help you see that spark you and your husband still have for each other all these years and kids later. Plus, the kids usually want to get in on that action, leading to more family photos that show off your family’s true personality.

Neyssa Lee Photography, Snoqualmie Family Photographer, Large family photo, Lifestyle photo of mom and dad laughing together

Your session comes with a custom designed album that you do not have to create.

The last thing you need is another thing on your to-do list. That is why I put together an album design for you, giving you a beautiful lay-flat album for your coffee table, to show friends and family, to pour through with your kids, to simply enjoy without any work on your part.

If you want to get images onto your walls, I make that easy for you, too. I have can put together wall displays, give ideas on what prints would look great as canvases or large prints, or what collection of images would work well together to tell a story.

In essence, I am here to help you get those digital files off of your computer so that you can truly enjoy your photos, enjoy your family, and see for yourself regularly that having your large family photographed was, in fact, totally worth it.

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Family Photos Can Be A Fun Experience | Snoqualmie Family Photographer

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Family Photos Can Be A Fun Experience | Snoqualmie Family Photographer

When I was a kid, my family had professional photos taken ONCE. Yup, you read that right. It was an awful experience full of stiff poses, that had me awkwardly resting my hand on my brother’s shoulder. I also happened to have the WORST hair cut ever, and am oh so grateful that these photos still grace my parent’s walls. (Insert major eye roll here).

Stiff, boring, stressful family photos are a thing of the past.

A family session with me is about having fun, loving on each other, letting go, and embracing the chaos that is raising a family. So how do we make your session fun?

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I take the “family photo” first and then we have fun.

Since your kids are expecting to have to smile for photos, we get that out of the way first. When we meet at the location, I greet your family, catch up, and then I let the kids in on how our time together will work. I let them know that I’m just going to take a couple of quick photos for mom and dad, and then we will have some fun. Of course, we are getting photos the entire time. However, the only time I ask them to look at the camera is this very first shot.

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There is plenty of play and exploration during your family photo session.

With the family photo out of the way, everyone can relax. Your kids don’t feel pressure to do anything anymore and just let loose, have fun, and their real smiles come out. Making the most out of our location, we explore, play, throw rocks, dance, just have fun.

Don’t worry, I’m still guiding and helping you so that these seemingly candid moments are beautiful photographs.

Neyssa Lee Photography, Photo of family throwing rocks at the river, lifestyle family photography, Seattle Family Photographer

When your kids have a say they are more excited to participate in the experience.

I often ask your kids what they want to do, where they want to explore next, or who we should photograph next. Giving them control not only leads to more authentic portraiture of your family, but to kids excited to give ideas and make decisions.

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I have your kids help me take photos of you.

There is always a time I give kids a break and focus on just mom and dad together. However, I often ask kids to help me make sure mom and dad smile and invite them in on a secret mission. This is usually when I get the best laughs and smiles. They also want to go tackle/tickle/surprise mom and dad again and again, not even thinking about taking photos. To them, it is just a time to play and have fun with their parents. That’s the goal of family photos -to capture your family as you love on each other, to document your true smiles, love, and laughter - right?

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A photo session with me is not your typical family photo session experience.

I want to end this post by reminding you that a session with me is not like you remember family photos as a kid. That studio session with a photographer moving your hands and heads just so, wanting the kids to sit perfectly still to get the shot, that’s not what a session with me is like.

Your family will play, laugh, run, jump, move. There is lots of movement. It may feel chaotic compared to what you are used to. However, if you let go, just trust in the experience, I promise you will love your gallery of images of your family.

Let me say it again, if you’ve never had a session with me, you may leave wondering how on Earth any good photos were captured. The kids never sat still and were goofy and silly and running around, and maybe there were a few tears because someone tripped. But I promise, in the end you will have beautiful family photos that show off a bit of your own personality.

Neyssa Lee Photography, Photos of a family laughing together, lifestyle family photography, Seattle Family Photographer
Neyssa has captured our family so beautifully in every photo session we’ve done with her! We’ve had sessions where the weather and kids didn’t want to cooperate with us, but it didn’t matter because Neyssa’s talent combined with her patience and positive attitude allowed her to work with and around those things, and still produce wonderful photos! She knows how to make love and joy shine through in her photos, and we’re so thankful to have such lovely moments to hold on to forever.
— Jessica S.

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Why Moms Need to Get in the Photo, too! | Seattle Family Photographer

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Why Moms Need to Get in the Photo, too! | Seattle Family Photographer

As a mother, I know the desire to capture our children. We want to remember every moment, as our kids just grow up too quickly. We snap photos of them with our phones, we have professional photos done, and we download all of the photos taken of them at school.

It is just as important, if not more important, for us moms to get in the frame with our kids.

It is easy to make a million different excuses why we should not be in the frame right now. We blame the baby weight, or the lack of sleep, or we say that it is just too hard picking out outfits for everyone, and this is why we just want the kids photographed. But here’s why none of those reasons should matter enough to stop you from getting into the frame.

Your kids do not see any of your insecurities, they just see you.

I promise that your kids love you for who you are, for all that you do for your family, that is all. Simple as that.

Moms Need to Get in the Photo, Neyssa Lee Photography, Seattle Family Photographer, Mother and Son embracing in the snow

Both you and your children need to see yourselves in photos.

There is this study that shows that it is important for kids to see themselves in family photos. The idea is that it shows them that they are important members of the family, shows them where they fit in, which, in turn, boosts their self esteem. I would challenge that this effect is just as important for moms too.

Moms Need to Get in the Photo, Neyssa Lee Photography, Seattle Family Photographer, Mother and Son  watching the snowfall

A photo session is about capturing the connections and special dynamics within your family.

There is so much more to your family’s story than just your smiles. The way you love each other, the way you light up as you watch him play, the way he laughs when you let go and are silly together - this is all a part of your story, this is what matters. And none of this can be captured if you do not get into the frame.

Moms Need to Get in the Photo, Neyssa Lee Photography, Seattle Family Photographer, Mother smiles at Son

Family photos are a gift you give your children for when they are grown.

No one wants to think about when they are gone, yet we all know time moves swiftly and we don’t get to stay forever. Your children will be grateful that you took the time to get family photos done, that you got into the frame with them, that they have these treasures to remember you by, to remember their childhood by.

I do not want to leave you on such a sad thought, so mama, I leave you with this….

Moms Need to Get in the Photo, Neyssa Lee Photography, Seattle Family Photographer, Mother and Son  dancing in the snow

Mama, you are gorgeous.

Last year, I considered just having the kids photos done instead of with me in them. Another mama (in fact, it was the beautiful one you see in these photos) told me I was beautiful and I mattered. It was the same thing I tell other moms all the time, but needed to hear it myself.

Sometimes we just need someone else to tell us the truth. So here it is, you are gorgeous. I see you. Your kids see you. When I photograph your family, I see so much more than just you, I see your love, I see your genuine smile, I see how you light with your babies. These are the things I will capture for you and your family.

Moms Need to Get in the Photo, Neyssa Lee Photography, Seattle Family Photographer, Mother and Son hugging in the snow

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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.

Seattle family photographer, Neyssa Lee Photography, How to dress your kids for family photos, photo tips, family of 6 standing together in a photo, Snoqualmie lifestyle family photographer

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!

Seattle family photographer, Neyssa Lee Photography, How to dress your kids for family photos, photo tips, photo of family of 6 dancing and playing together, Snoqualmie lifestyle family photographer

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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