DIY Family Portraits

DIY Family Portraits

This time of year always makes me want to update our family portraits. When I look back at our photos from the past several years, most are taken in the fall. Maybe it’s knowing Christmas cards are coming up. Maybe it’s the gorgeous fall sky and the crunchy leaves. Or maybe it’s the mommy guilt that I don’t have any decent photos from the past year. Whatever the case, I always make sure to schedule a photo shoot. Some years I’ve been fortunate to use a professional photographer. For a few years I traded a session with another camera happy friend (this is so fun, by the way). And other years I’ve just done them myself. I’m certainly not a professional photographer, but I do have a decent camera that I’ve studied and learned how to use, so I figure I may as well use it. This year I knew I didn’t want to be in the photos, so I decided to just do the shoot of the kiddos myself. The entire thing was kind of spur of the moment. I just decided earlier this week that I wanted to do them and knew today was the only day that would really work and the weather forecast was good. I had no interest in buying new clothes just for this, so I went through the kids’ closets with a few ideas in mind. When I’m choosing clothes for a family shoot, I like to pick a couple of neutral colors and one or two pops of color. I noticed that everyone had some navy blue. Both boys had jeans and my sweet girl even had a blue dress. The baby had an adorable orange vest, so I went into my girl’s jewelry and found an orange bracelet and necklace that I made for her last year. A touch of white and gray rounded out the wardrobe. I was happy with it AND spent zero money. Win win! I went to my go-to for posing, Pinterest, and checked out some ideas for sibling photography. I knew I needed some props and luckily had these old suitcases (one belonged to my GREAT-Grandfather!) and a couple of old quilts that would work. So this afternoon after doing school, we headed out to a nearby park (no turtle sighting, by the way) for the pretty scenery. It turned out to be a really great location and with very little complaining, we got started.  I had already talked with the older kids and explained that the plan for today was to be patient and kind. I know this isn’t fun for them, but they know the drill by now. I had no clue how the baby would do though, so I really wanted to stress to everyone that we were just going to do the best we could. No huge expectations, no real plans, just a hope that we could get a couple of usable photos. I was probably less stressed about this photo shoot than I ever have been, and I really do think it was because I was so laid back about the whole thing. The clothes, the location, the posing…nothing was super planned out and I was ok with that. Once we got started, it didn’t take long to see that my babe had just a few good shots in him before he wanted to eat sticks and play in the leaves. So, we went with it. We’d do a few photos with him and then I’d switch to one of the older kids. Once he had some energy out, we’d try with him again. This went on throughout the whole shoot and I think letting him dictate when he needed to play was the only thing that made it all work. The whole photo shoot took about an hour and I ended up with several dozen hundred photos to sort. And that’s where I am now. I need to sort and delete and delete some more and come up with a few good ones to have printed. This is my favorite part and I can’t wait to finish editing so I can share a few shots I love.

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Jennifer Fox

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