It’s that time of the year again: family pictures time. You may be feeling super stressed out about it, as always. The usual questions are arising, and answers must be found yet again. What should we wear? Where should we do them? Who should we ask, the same photographer as last time or someone new? Will our family pictures be cuter than Jen’s family’s pictures? Will my 3-year-old smile for the camera if it’s a stranger when he won’t smile for my iPhone pictures? It’s a lot to figure out, and you have some good reasons to be stressed. But don’t worry–it’s going to be okay. Here are some of my best tips for moms to prepare for family pictures.

That brings me to my tip #1:

Tips for moms #1: Take a deep breath. Take this process one step at a time.

I’m going to give you 4 more of my best tips for moms to make the preparation process easier and more hassle-free. Family photos become things you treasure forever, because after all, you love your family! And your little one won’t have their front teeth missing forever. Your 3-year-old won’t always make those faces (thank goodness, you might say, but just wait–you’ll miss it!) and your baby’s rolls will be gone before their time. So start with the end in mind–yes, it is worth it.

Family photo of kids Design and Photography by Rachel

Tip #2: Choose a photographer who has worked with kids (and preferably one who knows Photoshop well 🙂

Looking at some of my pictures, you may never guess that they are a combination of at least 2 or 3 images. When you’re choosing a photographer, look for pictures where all the kids are smiling and looking at the camera, and before you think “wow, my family could NEVER do that,” remember that Photoshop is a beautiful thing. If a photographer has pictures like that, she either has a magical way with children, mad Photoshop skills, or maybe both. One of my best tips for moms is that if you can get just one or two of your kids smiling at once, you’re doing well.

Family photo boys blue shirts Design and Photography by Rachel

Tips for moms #3: Choose colors to match/complement your living room or other main rooms.

Family photo black and white Design and Photography by Rachel
Family photo classy Design and Photography by Rachel

Or, you could just plan to print in black and white. But what’s the fun in that? (Actually, that can be super fun, but so can choosing colors!) When you’re deciding what colors your family wears, think about the main colors in the places you’re most likely to hang photos. Ideally, some of these photos will grace your walls for a long time (even if it takes you 6 months after the session to find the time to get them printed). If your rooms are more neutral, consider using a color palette generator like Coolors to get ideas for your colors! It can be so fun to come up with outfit combinations. (Bonus: If you book with me, each session comes with a FREE sample print! It might help you find the motivation to print your pictures even sooner 🙂

Tip #4: Don’t worry too much about a specific location – we know you moms are busy.

Family photos parents Design and Photography by Rachel

Most photographers have a pretty good handle on good places to take pictures in your area. All you really need to have is a general sense of the style you’re going for. Do you want trees? Fields? Flowers? Maybe an urban feel, with brick walls and buildings? If you have a general idea, explain it to your photographer and they can pull out a matching location from their files they’ve stored away. Want some inspiration? Check out my Pinterest board. Another note, though: If you do have a specific location in mind, that is awesome too! We photographers can’t complain if we don’t have to make that decision. Just tell us where you want to go, and we’ll be there.

Tips for moms #5: Difficult kids aren’t THAT bad…really.

We’ve all been there. You’ve finally gotten your family all gussied up in their color schemed clothes, you’re 15 minutes late for your session, your photographer is waiting, and there’s one kid who is very, very upset with you. Probably because they wanted to wear nothing but their underwear and you’re forcing them to wear clothes, or maybe because you took a marker away, or something of equal life-consuming importance. But the fact remains: this kid is NOT smiling for photos.

Design and Photography by Rachel best tips for moms difficult kids
Family photo Design and Photography by Rachel

Hopefully your photographer can pull off something like this, and maybe if she gets just one good face she can Photoshop it, but either way, there comes a point that you embrace it. Anyone with kids or who has ever worked with kids will understand, and don’t worry: nobody will be judging you because you made your child angry. Kids just be that way sometimes, and we get that!

You’re (almost) ready.

Choose a day and book your photographer! Remember: it’ll be worth the hassle. You’ll look back on these pictures in a few years and sigh over how young they were, and be glad you did it. See you soon!