Hello Hello! Welcome to 2017! It has been so nice to take a little time off to relax, recuperate, reflect, and ponder after such a crazy busy December! I always enjoy a fresh new start that the new year brings, and I have loved the new energy it has brought me as I have set and already started to chip away at some new goals!
I am excited to share with you some recent family photos, and the most adorable little outfits for the kids from one my favorite children’s clothing store, Janie and Jack (all outfit details are below!) But, before I do, I just wanted to tell you a quick thank you for stopping by, and for all your support over all these years. I know it sounds so strange, but I feel so much love for each and every one of you, I feel so connected to you, I pray for you. I always try to share with you bits of my life that I feel the need to share. While it isn’t easy to put it out there sometimes feeling vulnerable, I always feel so comfortable with you, and I’m so grateful that you continue to share with me bits of you as well! You have given me some great advice through my social channels over the years, you have direct messaged me, you’ve related to me, you’ve really been there for me, and I can’t express how much it means to me. I don’t feel that writing is my strong suit, I’d much rather share pictures with you, but moving forward I’d love to share a bit more of what is on my mind. Hoping that we can continue to have place to have important conversations with this amazing community, and continue to be authentic and open and real. I’m so excited for what the future holds! And, I hope you will continue to join me! (Feel free to follow me over on my social channels for more day to day updates, links to my social are all on my right sidebar!)
I am so grateful to be able to share with you and work with so many amazing companies over the years on this blog, and my social media! It really has been the dream job for me that I just fell into as a new mom ten years ago. I quite my full-time job to stay at home with my first baby, and I needed a creative outlet space to share and to help me not feel so isolated as I was home all day with a newborn. It has really grown over the years, and I can’t believe that I get to do what I do! With my youngest starting kindergarten this year, I have been having a little more time to spend working on the blog and with so many amazing brands! I just love to create content for brands that I believe in, and love, and would use in my everyday life! Last fall and winter had me so busy with work, that I was so grateful for, but it did leave me with less time to spend on the important things, and with my family. So, I am just trying to re-balance, and make sure that the things that I value the most aren’t slipping through the cracks. Isn’t it always about the balance? It’s a constant struggle not to juggle too much as a mom.
As I was saying, I just love to connect and collaborate with brands that I love and believe in. When I was putting together our outfits for our family pictures this year, I knew that I wanted to partner with Janie and Jack for the look I was going for. I love to do casual family pictures, but every now and again I love to do something a little more dressy as well.
Be sure to read more for my Guide to Successful Family Photos!
Janie and Jack offers such a great variety of children’s clothing, and they do dressy clothing so so well! Their pieces are always so classic, on trend, and best of all, they are so well made! I couldn’t get over their darling navy wool blend coat on my Norah! Such a classic piece that she will be able to wear for a long time!
I love this candid shot my photographer Jessica Kettle got of me buttoning up Norah’s coat. Such a normal everyday Mother/Daughter moment that never gets captured on camera! And, can I tell you how obsessed I am with Norah right now? She has really turned a corner lately, and has been such a delight to have around. She used to tend to make things a little harder than they needed to be. But, lately she is the first to volunteer to help, she does what I ask the first time I ask her, she even cleans up without being asked. She’s been such a dream, and we are loving watching her excel in all her interests! It’s so much fun to have a little girl!
My boys are getting so big, I’m just glad my almost ten year old still allows me to dress him, even when he wants to wear basketball shorts to school everyday in the winter! He is growing so much. And Thomas, my youngest as you can tell is the little spit fire of the family. He lives everyday like it’s the best day of his life, and it pretty much is. That kid has the life! I’d trade him any day! How would it be to be so carefree? Must be nice.
I also love the Boy’s clothing options at Janie and Jack! Their online store has sizes up to a 12, and I love that you can find so many basic pieces that are masculine. They think of everything even down to the details of socks, belts, hats, ties, all the accessories. They really have so many good options to choose from! I love the classic Janie and Jack layered look, I think it really brings everything together!
I have to say it was pretty fun for me to pick out their looks and envision my cute kiddos wearing it all. I think they look pretty darn cute!
Family pictures can be rough, we have all been there, but I have definitely learn a lesson or two over the years on how to help them run as smooth as possible! Now, this doesn’t mean that ours have always run smooth, if ever. But, there are definitely a few little tricks and tips I’ve learned! In the end, it is always so worth it to capture these moments in time. I just love to look back on our pictures to see how much our family has grown and changed over the years. So, here you you are, a few of my favorite tips!
The Ultimate Guide to Successful Family Pictures:
- Book a talented photographer. Quality is key when it comes to family pictures, and you definitely want to hire a professional who knows what they are doing. There is nothing worse than going through all that trouble if the pictures don’t turn out. We worked with the talented Jessica Kettle. She’s gem behind the camera, and word on the street is that she is taking on not only weddings, but is breaking into the commercial photography world. If you have a product to photograph, she’s your gal!
- Plan outfits ahead! I always like to make a Pinterest board with some outfit ideas for the whole family, then I pick the best looks and compile them into a mood board. It really helps to be able to see all of the outfits together at the same time to be able to weed out anything that just doesn’t look good together. This is what my mood board looked like for our photos. It was fun to put the outfits together piece by piece. I usually start with my outfit, then work everyone else’s around mine. Be sure to order the outfits with plenty of time. My dress, well, it’s a long story, but it got delayed nearly 3 weeks arriving, and my photos had to be pushed back again and again. I almost missed out on getting our Christmas cards in time! Anyhow, I loved searching for the perfect outfits for my kids from Janie and Jack! They had the perfect options for what I needed! (Outfit sources below!)
Ezra’s Look: (all from Janie and Jack) Houndstooth Vest |Blue Oxford Shirt | Burgundy Corduroy Pants|Wool Toggle Coat | Tartan Tie | Ivory Fair Sock |Penguin Belt |Suede Boots
Norah’s Look: (all from Janie and Jack) Tipped Bow Top | Pointe Skirt in Pumpkin | Heather Gray Classic Tight | Leopard Bow Headband |Navy Wool Blend Coat | Bow Flats
- Location, Location, Location. Always physically scout out a location, preferably at the time of day you plan to take the photos. This will give you a better idea about lighting. If you find a cool wall, but it gets blasted with sun right at the time you will be there? That won’t work. Have a plan. Most photographers have great recommendations on locations. For us, since we were dressed up a bit, I wanted a clean, but formal background, so we shot at our State capitol.
- Set a time logical time. Try to avoid any nap times, or meal times where your kids, you or spouse might be cranky.
- Don’t go hungry. This one is mostly for me. When I am hungry, I get HANGRY. It’s a thing. Make sure you and your kids are all well fed before changing into outfits and heading out the door.
- Bribery works. Now I don’t believe that we should bribe our kids too much, but family picture time is the perfect time to do it. If they can reason with you, then they can hold still for a prize. We promise our kids a trip to the dollar store if they can cooperate and get through photos. I don’t know what it is, but if we tell them they can choose anything at the dollar store, they will do just about anything!
- Check the weather. Be cautious of the temperature. If it is too hot, too cool, raining, snowy, it can be hard for the family to cooperate in extreme conditions. We had to go out in the freezing cold for our pictures, and my kids definitely whined and were over it. Luckily we were near a building where some of us could go in and warm up while our photographer was taking individual shots.
- Keep it short. Try to keep it short. Kids and husbands tend to lose their patience if it last longer than 30 minutes, an hour tops. Be ready to go, and work fast!
- Be Prepared. It is always a good idea to bring some wipes to wipe off of faces, hair brushes for a last minute hair fix, and hair spray. Some extra lipstick or make up if you need touching up is also good to have on hand.
- Make a shot list. Your photographer will love you if you send them a shot list in advance. It is always hard to remember mid shoot that you wanted a picture with just your spouse, or just the boys together or mom and the kids only. Be sure to make a list of the important shots that you’d really like to see happen during the shoot. Be as detailed as possible so that you and your photographer are on the same page. Let them know if you’d like candid shots, or everyone looking at the camera. It is best to set expectations ahead, and everyone will be happy! No one can read your mind!
- Relax and have fun! So, you have made it this far, you got your family picture ready, and you all survived, husband may have already complained, and so have the kids, the worst is almost over. Now it is time to shoot! Put a smile on your face and have fun! You’re mood will show in your photos good or bad, so make it fun! Be sure to get some candid shots of the family, they are always a favorite!
- Leave it to the professional. Don’t worry if everyone isn’t smiling and looking at the camera perfectly, you’re photographer will still snag some amazing shots! Let them get your children’s attention, that’s their job. If mom and dad are talking and asking the kids to look and smile, then they aren’t going to look good in the shot, the photographer will catch you mid-sentence looking all sorts of crazy. Smile and be ready for when they grab your kids attention for that quick half second they’ll be able to snap that picture, so make sure you are ready for that one time your kids decide to cooperate!
- Celebrate, you just survived another round of Family Pictures. Well, now that you are all dressed up with no where to go, go celebrate! You all survived, and lived to tell the tale! Grab a meal with the family, maybe even some ice cream. If you are worried about little ones ruining their clothes, brings a change of clothes. Go celebrate, you all deserve it!
Here’s to enjoying and documenting life friends! Thanks for reading!
All photos by Jessica Kettle Photography