Preparing for your Family Photoshoot without losing your Mind | Farmington, New Mexico and Denver, Colorado Photographer

Preparing for a Family Photoshoot is stressful! As a New Mexico and Colorado Photographer, I see Moms getting nervous and stressed out when planning what to wear for themselves and the whole family. I understand that the day of the photoshoot is usually a little crazy: getting yourself, your husband, your children all looking beautiful and getting all the clothes ironed and looking great, while under a time crunch…Whew!  I want the planning for your photoshoot to be a little bit easier so I asked my daughter, Carolina, to share with us how she does it (she does it well, btw).  So take it away, Carolina!

What to Wear for your Family Photoshoot

One fantastic perk of being the daughter of an AMAZING photographer (ahem, Greg M Photography) is that I have the privilege of having multiple photoshoots a year. My house is delightfully littered with beautiful pictures of my family. For most, family pictures are done once a year and the pressure of organizing outfits, making sure you look great, and hoping your children don’t act like caged animals is enough to make a mom go coco (for cocoa puffs)! I am here to settle your nerves and give you some tips that I have learned over the years through our many photoshoots as a family.

The Internet is Your Friend

You don’t have to come up with a style for your shoot all on your own! Enter the internet. The first thing I do when I have a shoot on the calendar is peruse social media and Pinterest for ideas. I search “family photography” or “what to wear for family pictures.” I pin or save the ones I like. I am looking for two simple things here: family outfits and hair/makeup for me. You can check out Greg’s Pinterest board here: , and here is mine: . If I find outfit combos that I just love, I will just copy the best I can for my family. If I can’t copy, I at least pick a couple colors that I can go off of when picking my family’s clothes.

This picture is a great example of using Pinterest to choose outfits.  I looked up what to wear for beach pictures and liked all the flowy, patterned dresses I saw.  I then went shopping and found the perfect dress for me. I decided I wanted blue and white to be the main colors with my dress as added color. Here is the final look.

Pick an Outfit Allstar

Another place to start is to find a piece of clothing you love, and build everyone’s outfit from that piece. I usually find something I just love for my daughter, like a colorful dress or a mixed patterned outfit. Once I have something for her, I can find items that go with what she is wearing. Maybe you have pants or a top that you love and feel great in- that is the perfect place to start!

For this shoot I went simple. I picked  Halle’s outfit first, then found a simple shirt for Lawson that matched hers. Pattern mixing is OK! May I repeat, pattern mixing is OK! Halle has polka dots and floral while Lawson is in a checkered shirt and it does not clash at all! For your family portraits you should go for the big colors or patterns because these are not just pictures, they are works of art that you decorate your home with…help make them beautiful!

Another example of building our wardrobe around Halle’s dress.

Get All Gussied Up

If you are like me, you are the one scheduling the shoot, picking everyone’s clothes, dressing everyone, planning a day around photos, packing an emergency snack bag, and the list goes on. I GET IT!! It’s a lot of work to get a family in front of a camera looking half way decent. In all the hustle please don’t forget about YOU! You want to LOVE these pictures you are getting done, so take the time to get all gussied up…yes, I have now used that phrase twice. What I mean is simple. Wear clothes you 1) like and 2) feel good in. I know, not the easiest feat, but so worth it. Part of feeling great in clothes is getting the right size. Also easier said that done as a mama because we shrink and grow many different times, but I’m telling you it makes a huge difference.

Another tip for pictures you like of yourself is to put on more makeup than you normally would. Just like the camera apparently adds 10lbs, it also removes like 1 lb. of makeup. Ok, I made that up, but it’s true! In the picture below, I applied my normal amount of makeup. I wish I had added much more to my eyes to help make them pop in this photo. You might feel like a clown, but just trust me. JUST TRUST ME.

I applied a lot more makeup for this shoot, and I just love how much more my face pops in the photo!

It’s OK if Your Toddler is Over It

I have to say, the stress of making small children behave and smile and be cute for more than 12.2 seconds is enough to get me sent to the looney bin. First, find a photographer whose family portrait gallery you have looked at and love their style. If you are going with a photographer whose work is very posed with hands folded nicely, be prepared. Bring along snacks and treats for a good ole fashioned bribe. If you have a more relaxed or “lifestyle” type shoot, know that the kids will have a bit more freedom to be themselves. For our most recent shoot our kids were straight up bats out of Hades. Fits, crying, fighting, you name it. But guess what, we went with it and out of that came my favorite family photos of all.

My mom encouraged us to just “be.” The dog pile picture was taken at the very end. As a ruse to get just a couple more minutes out of the kids, my husband tackled me to the ground. I was seriously shocked, but the kids came running over to us right away. This picture is up on our mantle and I just love it. You can see in the second picture, Lawson is over it and literally running away. Ha! But, I love this one as well. The last one I am consoling Halle after she took a fall. These pictures aren’t perfectly posed, but they take an intimate look into our family as we are now. This is our life right now. Children grow up so fast. My family continually changes. I want memories of  this stage, smiles, tears, pouty faces, and all. What a precious gift to have!

As you can see, we were bribing with Smarties. Hehe!




So take a deep breath!

You can do this!

You  will be so glad you did!

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  1. Vangie

    June 15th, 2017 at 12:20 am

    Great ideas Carolina! Love love!!
    Now help find some for us oldies but still wNt to be goodies!!????

  2. Jodi Major

    June 16th, 2017 at 3:19 pm

    Sometimes bribery makes for the best images. 🙂

  3. Laurie Hasan

    June 16th, 2017 at 5:59 pm

    Lovely work! I love using Pinterest for inspiration, too. Great tips!

  4. marty

    June 17th, 2017 at 2:01 pm

    Yes, yes, and yes! Family pictures don’t have to be scary at all 🙂

  5. Dani E

    June 18th, 2017 at 1:38 am

    This is a great post with lots of practical advice… thanks for sharing!