What to Wear for your Fall Family Session

Let's talk about the number one question that I get asked...

What do we wear for our family photos?

This is the age old question always associated with photo shoots.  Styling is one thing I try not to have too much of a hand in, since I want you guys to still be you, not my idea of fashion.

Let's go through about what NOT to wear?

1. Matchy matchy is not fun!  This looks like a school uniform to me...and trust me I know, cause I wore one!  Everyone does not need to be wearing the same color or pattern!  This can be painfully distracting to the final image and very outdated!

 

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2. Avoid fluorescent and bright, bright colored clothing.  They produce a skin cast on faces, hair and skin.  This is a nightmare to edit. So if you don't want to look like you are glowing, nix the fluorescents!  Colors I do suggest are jewel tones, pastels, minimal black and white.

3. Coordinating your families outfits will have your family looking on par!  This is a family from last fall. She did such an amazing job at putting outfits together for her family, that I now use this as a reference for my clients.  

Mama chose her dress, mustard with grey, whites and blacks.  She then pulled those colors to choose outfits for her family.  The girls have mustard accessories and the little man has a light yellow shirt under his grey sweater.  All the boys are in jeans with grey tops and sweaters.  Don't be scared to mix patterns either.  Mom's dress is floral and the oldest girl's dress is plaid...they don't clash at all.  Of course don't go overboard with too much pattern.

 

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4. Layering adds dimension and depth.  Just like mama did above with the sweaters over the shirts...belts, pendants, hats and scarves work great.  

5. Shoes are important too, so a pair of neon green crocs probably wouldn't do very well with the above image.  I recommend boots, converse sneakers, mary janes...or bare foot, especially babies!

6. Keep accessories simple.  Avoid big, distracting accessories so your family, especially little ones can be the focus.

I want you to be comfortable for your session.  Don't  wear clothing that is NOT you! If you normally don't wear dresses, don't wear one.  Don't put dad in a suit and tie if that isn't something he regularly wears.  If jeans and t-shirts are your comfort zone, they fly at it!!!  Just use these guidelines for coordinating with whatever you find comfortable wearing and it will be perfect.  

Remember these are my opinions.  Ultimately, what you wear is up to you!. Just make sure it is YOU! 

Head over to Pinterest...I have created a board just for this topic!

My Why

I often get asked how long I've been doing photography. My journey as a photographer started nearly 16 years ago when my son was 6 months old.

I had a routine of taking my kids to Sears for their pictures. They went at 6 weeks (this was before newborn photography was a "thing"...besides Anne Geddes), 6 months, then yearly. I had  Sears take the pictures on a white background with a white vignette.

Somewhere between when my son was 6 weeks and 6 months, Sears changed their photography studios to digital. I wanted his pictures done on the white background with the white vignette but now the vignette was added digitally for a fee. Having worked at the Sears portrait studio before I had children, I knew how easy achieving the vignette during the shoot vs digitally was.  

It was then I did the typical "I can do this myself". And I did.

My first digital camera was a 2 megapixel compact. I started taking my own family's images along with friends and family. Of course with that resolution, the quality was less than desirable.

I upgraded to an Olympus C3020Z that I enthusiastically won on Ebay.  Although it didn't sport much more megapixels, it was definitely was a better camera than its predecessor. 

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With this camera I fell in love with photography.  This image of my 4 littles I would consider my first "pro" portrait. I was/am so proud of it. I thought I was all that and a bag of cheetos. I know it's not perfect as I can see the flaws that I wouldn't do today,  but I love it. I love that I set  my kids up and they did their own thing. 

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And as they say...the rest is history!

Mommy & Me Sunset Session | Prince George, BC Family Photographer

This session just about didn't happen.  About an hour before the session start time, it started pouring rain, but it quickly let up and the sun popped out.  While driving to the location, more clouds moved in and started raining again.  We decided to wait it out and we were rewarded with the most beautiful sunset!  The glow of the sun just enhances the beauty and love that Kyla has for her boys!  

10 Things you may not know about me!

I have the pleasure of meeting new people nearly every day. And the one thing I love about meeting  new people, is learning something new...like different jobs, places they have visited or even their quirks. So I thought I'd share some interesting and quirky things about me.

1.  My name is Andrea but before I was born my mom shared with the family that she was planning to name me Angela. Because of this my family still calls me "Ange" 43 years later!

2.  I used to be AV Photography...which was my previously married name.  After my divorce, I changed it to Petit Four Photography, after my four children (at the time).  I know a petit four is a dessert but it suited "my four little ones".  Although I now have 6 kiddos, I have no plans in changing it! 

3. My favorite food is French fries. Some day when I decide to really buckle down to lose some weight, french fries will NOT be on the food restriction list....ps. I LOATHE  exercise.

4. My all time favorite show/movie is Anne of Green Gables with Megan Follows. I know it word for word....literally....I can recite the entire show while watching it.

5. I rarely drink but when I do my favorite drink is raspberry sour puss with Sprite.

6. My husband had my engagement ring custom made and I adore it.  I nearly lost it a couple of years ago when I took it and my wedding ring off to make bread.  I left them on the counter and forgot about them.  I found my engagement ring on the floor but never did find my wedding ring.

7. My dream vacation is to go to Scotland which I'm planning to see next year.

8. I have 6 children. Four from my previous marriage, a step daughter and a son with my hubby. My oldest will be 20 in August.

9. I have 4 siblings. I grew up with a full brother, saw my half sister once in a while when I visited my dad and 2 half brothers whom I've never met. My sister and I never really knew each other until after our dad passed away 9 years ago...we've been best friends since.

10. My first job was McDonald's when I was 15. I worked there until I was 22 before I had my first baby girl!

So there you have it.  If you are reading this bit, I thank you for making it through my quirks.  

Tips for a Successful Family Session | Prince George, BC Family Photographer

Family Portrait Sessions should not be stressful.  They should be a fun family event. Over the years I have seen what does and doesn't work when it comes to having a great family shoot. I love natural and relaxed images...playing, snuggling, being silly and just loving each other.  I always do my best to get that one “grandma shot” of everyone looking and smiling at the camera, but my goal isn't to get that stiff posed everyone looking at the camera shot.  My goal is to capture the true heart of your family. 

Here are my tips and tricks for a successful session:

Prior to the Session

Kids

Preparing your kids for our session as much as possible often takes the timidness out of the evening.  Please make sure the kids know that this is FUN! No threats, as they usually bring tears and added stress.  Don’t even bother telling them to be sure to smile or “be good”. My goal isn’t to get a picture of your child “being good” or just “smiling” but having fun and interacting.  Some kids who have been coached to smile for the photographer get so nervous that they are fighting laughing and relaxing because they are so worried about having their picture taken or making their parents happy!

I am a huge fan of bribery - (ice cream after!) is always a great idea for the ones who need a little extra encouragement.  However, please don’t bring sweets for bribing during the shoot. They end up being a distraction.

Dads

Moms, I’m speaking to you.  Is your husband feeling less than thrilled about your upcoming photo shoot?  A little bribery seems to work well here (though maybe something better than ice cream!) as well!

But seriously, let your husband know that the shoot will be relatively painless and try to focus on having time to play with the kids, hold your hand and just savor the moment!

Styling

What to Wear

The age old question always associated with photo shoots.  Styling is one thing I try not to have too much of a hand in, since I want you guys to still be you, not my idea of fashion.  But here is my 2 cents:

Coordinate: Mom, start with your outfit and then coordinate your family's clothing with that. Pinterest has great ideas for what to wear.

What NOT to wear:

Khakis and white button down shirts.  That isn’t the kind of matching I’d like you to do.  Again, think coordinating without matching perfectly.  Texture photographs amazingly. Get creative!

The Day of the Session

Kids

I mentioned bribery.  Love it! Keep in mind that most bribery snacks make messes and have dye in them that change your kid’s mouths.  Usually this backfires and all they want to do is eat instead of pay attention to me. I suggest keeping the goodies in your bag or car until after we’ve finished.

Sessions with younger children (18 months and under) typically last 20-30 minutes. If your little one isn’t accustomed to staying up until sunset, please adjust their naps as best you can, and be assured that one night of staying up past their bedtime will be just fine as we will actually be having fun (I promise)

As for older children, expect the session to last around 30 minutes.  With your older child, please don’t say “That’s not your REAL smile”. I know what a real smile looks like, so even if I’m snapping away, I’m just trying to loosen up your child!  I promise I won’t be giving you cheesy smile for your finished order!

Speaking of cheese...please, parents… leave the “cheese” at home.  Cheese is for crackers. So many times I have found parents who stand behind the photographer and scream, “Say cheese to the lady kids!”  Yelling and demanding young children to look at the camera to smile will only stress your children out (not to mention the photographer) and will result in strained, unnatural and often unflattering photographs.

Leave the children to me – I’m a mom. I get it. Don’t worry if the children are being children – that’s ok, in fact these are some of the best images!

Mom & Dad

During the shoot, if you are not in the picture, please let me just interact with your child, unless I ask for help!  Many parents will stand behind me trying to get their baby’s attention and all it does is distract baby from me!

I like to give the little ones a chance to just play with me, so it’s okay if they aren’t giving big smiles right off the bat.  Trust me and trust the process.

Weather

In case of rain, I will be watching the radar all day. If it doesn’t rain, but is overcast, we will still shoot and perhaps move the session to earlier.

Illness

Just as important as the weather is everyone being photographed be feeling 100% There isn’t anything worse than an unhappy and sick feeling child - they especially do not want to be in front of a camera.  Let me know as soon as possible if they are not well and we can reschedule.

Final Note...RELAX

The best photographs are often the ones where everyone is engaged or interacting with each other.  Understand that not every picture needs to have everyone looking at the camera and smiling at the same time.  If you are engaged as a family and loving on each other, your eyes will be on your family members and your smile with be natural. These are the photographs that you will cherish most because they depict your family connection and your love.