It's the time of year when many parents are gathering their children in cute outfits in an attempt to take family photos. (Hello, Christmas cards!) I know many moms tend to stress out over having portraits taken—they want to choose the perfect coordinating outfits, they hope the kids cooperate, they want the exact beautiful images found on Pinterest. It can be stressful and exhausting trying to keep up.
If there's anything I've learned over the years of taking many family pictures, it's this: have fun with it! That's it. Throw all high expectations out the window and have fun.
When I look at my kids I know that they won't want to sit still in a stuffy studio with uncomfortable ornate outfits on. They will be miserable, which will make me miserable. Sometimes we have to adapt our expectations to our current situation. Allow me to share some of my top tips with you:
1. Ditch the fancy clothes. Make sure you all are wearing something comfortable, especially the kids! We all know young children don't like pinch-y shoes and scratchy tags, so just avoid them. They will be happier and more willing to smile. That doesn't mean they can't look cute! Just take into consideration what your kids would want to wear instead of what you wish they would wear.
2. Choose a photographer who is patient and good with children. Our photographer is actually a long-time friend of ours. She even photographed our daughter's birth. So we are all very comfortable around each other, which makes a world of difference—especially if you're on a time limit.
3. Try something new and fun. When I was pregnant with my daughter I decided to do an out-of-the-box shoot that my son (who was only a year old) would love. We ended up having a "paint fight" photo shoot. I adore the images. It captures the fun of our family and my son had a great time! No tears. For this year's pictures we went to an awesome art district downtown and let the kids roam around and explore. I love the candid shots we were able to get of the kids being kids.
4. Roll with it. At the beginning of our latest family photo shoot my daughter was just not feeling it! She absolutely wanted nothing to do with the camera and would cry if we forced her to pose. So we didn't force her. We continued taking pictures without her and eventually she came around and wanted to participate. Don't get frustrated because it will totally rub off on the little ones. Keep a positive attitude and you'll see that it all turns out fine. And hey, sometimes the tantrum pictures are actually pretty hilarious and totally frame-worthy (case in point below!)