Tips for Planning What to Wear for Family Pictures

wear family pictures

it’s one of the most commonly asked questions, “what should we wear for family portraits?”  well, let me walk you through the process I went through last year.  this session was for an extended family shoot, primarily 9 cousins.  here’s where it all began.  first, I found this blanket, and it screamed, “BEACH PORTRAITS” to me. so i set out deciding what we would wear.  which leads me to step1) follow your inspiration.

what to wear family picturesnext, I texted my sister in law with a photo of the above color scheme and said, “here’s what we’re wearing.”  she responded, “i can work with that.”  which is step 2) coordinate, don’t match.  this can be a hard skill to master, but the essence is: pick your anchor piece/color and build around it with complimentary colors.  here, the blanket served as my anchor, so everyone was in blue tones, and some bought in a pop of pink.  my nieces and nephews did the same, and I think you’ll agree the results were splendidly cute!

step 3) have fun and let the kids light up the photos.  the beach is a fantastic place to capture children in element.  you can see that our posed shots didn’t get all the smiles we were looking for.  but, when we let the kids play and have fun (within the framework of the poses we wanted) we got all the great expressions that we see everyday.  a perfect preservation of these sweet cousins!
extended family what to wear family pictures girls lifeguard tower

what to wear family pictures kidsstep 4) get those Christmas cards made.  i knew  we would be using this portraits on our Christmas card, and had the whole design worked out in my mind before the session.  my mom had an idea for her card too, but changed it up when she saw these portraits, and I made a design that incorporated them both.


step 5) don’t stress.  too often people overthink their family portraits, and stress out.  this leads to a frustrating session with one or more family members irritated.  I am a certified mediator, but really it would make the whole thing easier if you took a deep breath and had some fun.  hire a photographer you can trust to make you look fabulous and capture the vision of your family portraits!

my best friend’s baby – newborn portrait

while i love photographing newborn babies, i have never been a “birth photographer.”  nor, did i ever consider it an interest.  i didn’t even have a photographer for any of my children’s births.  but the circumstances of my best friends newest arrival made me reconsider.

upon the call that the baby was coming, i grabbed the girls out of school, and headed straight to California, hoping to offer some love and hugs before the birth and be among the first to meet the baby.  when i pulled into my parents, the baby wasn’t yet born, so i eagerly sped to the hospital.  to my surprise, my best friend and i were both totally cool with me staying in the room for the pending birth, something neither one of us had considered an option before.  during the course of this sweet experience, i did not think or even offer to pull out the camera, but it did open my mind to the idea for sometime in the future.

mom and dad were whisked off to the operating room for an unplanned c-section, and finally Nash was born.  this is why i brought my camera!  what a sweet little boy!

so, am i thinking of adding “birth photography” to the repertoire?  i don’t know, but i’m more open to it after such a sweet experience.


TBT – my most embarrassing moment

whenever i’ve played that game, “what’s your most embarrassing moment?” i’m always at a loss.  it’s not that i haven’t been embarrassed, i have.  it’s just that i don’t tend to dwell, and so when put on the spot i just have nothing to say.  but, laying here for two days has given me a lot of time to dwell.  out of the blue i had a memory of possibly the most embarrassing moment of my life.

a few years ago, in Costco, i kept seeing this poor guy, maybe 19/20 years old, disheveled, dirty, muttering, going around countless times to the sample tables.  my heart was filled with sympathy for him, i wanted to help.  clearly, this guys was homeless.  clearly, he was hungry.  my mind was racing for a way to help.  could i buy him some groceries?  (come on Britain, he’s clearly homeless.)  should i give him money? (no cash on me)  i know, hot dogs!

i approached the homeless guy, and invited him to sit down with me for a hot dog after i checked out.  it took a little explaining, “i’m going to eat lunch here after i check out, would you like to have a hot dog, my treat?”  blank stare.  “i’ve been watching you eat samples, would you like a hot dog?”  blank stare.  “i’d love to buy you lunch.”  homeless guy, “you want to have lunch with me?”  me, “yes, yes, i would love to have lunch with you.  “oh, i would like that, but my mom and sister should be here really soon to pick me up.”  pulls out cell phone.  “yeah, they should be here any minute.  but, i’d love to get lunch another time.  can i get your number?”

so, this guys is not homeless.  and i just basically asked him out on a date.  i’m a little flabbergasted.  i don’t know what to do.  so, my old college impulses kick in and i give him a fake name and fake number.  he dials it into his phone and heads off to meet his mom and sister.

i’m humiliated.  i guess it may not be embarrassing in a typical way, because i was pretty much the only one who knew what was going on, but i was dying!  i checked out, got into the privacy of my own car, and proceeded to call Jason and tell him about how i just stalked and hit on a young man at Costco.  through his laughter, he asked if it ever occurred to me that not many homeless people have Costco memberships.  no, no it didn’t.

so, i’ve seen this kid around since then.  he is not an independent guy.  my observation is that his mom and sister care for him, and give him little independent outings all over town, like Home Depot, Wal-Mart, etc. every time i see him in a store, i feel the need to ditch behind the aisle and wait for him to pass just like i might have done in college when i gave out a fake number.  i’m not even sure he would remember.

i think if i could go back in a time machine and do it all over, i would not give the fake name and number, but would maturely say something…..i don’t even know.

how do you handle a situation like this one?

homeless-dad-arrested-developmentthis embarrassing moment reminds me of Lindsay Funke’s run in with a guy who “had the lean look, effortless hair and dressed down manner of a movie star”, but was really homeless.  But really, he was a movie star.  (Arrested Development, The One Where They Build a House.)

who am i, and why am i blogging?

why-im-bloggingin general, i am a pretty confident person.  i know exactly what i want and where i’m going, and for the most part, i am happy.  but when it comes to blogging, i all of a sudden feel my confidence wane.  why are you blogging?  what’s your blog about?  these are questions that i sometimes feel i can’t answer, especially when i consider the time it takes away from my “real life.”is it a waste?

today, i find myself with time on my hands as i am resting from an injection of steroids into my spine.  i’m not allowed to move today.  in fact, i’m not supposed to do much of anything for the next week or so.  it’s funny really, as i have talked to other people who’ve had injections like this, they each have said, “i didn’t have to be down that long.”  so when i asked the Dr. about it he said, “yeah, that’s for people who just go to a normal job, since you have a baby and a 2 year old, we don’t want you going back to your normal activity for a week or so.”

my normal?  it makes me feel so peculiar.  but, in a weird way, that’s the answer to the question of why i started a blog.  my normal activity is pretty intense, 5 kids, busy activities, huge housekeeping responsibilities, a part time photography business, so many people to think of and look after, i just decided i wanted an outlet that was purely me.

so, what will this blog be about?  i’m not that sure right now.  i think it’s going to be pretty “stream of conscious” for the time being.  this is intentional.   i am  intentionally not carefully curating the content to appeal to a particular audience, or showcase my talent, or increase traffic for my photography, etc.  it is about sharing what’s important to me, so that includes family, meals, photography, faith, art, clothes, education….the list goes on and on.  for now, i’m comfortable with an online space that’s just about the things i like.

if i spend a year blogging out my projects, travels, and feelings, i will feel the goal for this blog is achieved.  if i make some new friends along the way, all the better.


childrens photography at the beach


we are starting to feel warmer temps here in AZ, which is making me miss the beach, which is making me realize i never posted these photos from Avery’s 5th birthday photo shoot.  Avery was lucky to spend her birthday on the beach with siblings and cousins.  i knew i would shoot her birthday pics here and brought this dress.  then my mom bought the girls these floral wreaths and a special portrait was made.  i don’t think i will ever look at these photos without remembering all the fabulous times we had during fall break!  not the least of these memories was celebrating a milestone birthday with this little lovely.  i can’t believe she is 5!kids beach photosbeach portraits are among my favorite for children.  the beach gives kids such a natural opportunity for play and exploration.  i feel like you can just see the wonder and vibrancy of childhood in beach portraits.

a tired mother’s musings

it’s been one of those days.  (three days in a row actually)  one of those days where the night was punctuated with too many wake up calls.  in the morning i’m somehow still surprised at the creaking ache of my old tired bones, though i’ve been dealing with them for months now.  one of those days where i look in the mirror, and really don’t recognize the melasma, laugh lines (ha!), and oh wait i need to put my glasses on, no, now it’s worse.  yep, one of those days, weeks now i suppose.

i have been dragging, wallowing, and pitying myself just  little too much this week.  today, i was in the grocery store with Zoe.  she was her typical smiling and friendly self which attracted the attention of fellow shoppers.  eventually the question came, “is she your first?”  then the answer that tends to shock, “no, my fifth.”  today it was met with a happy smile and, “congratulations.”  but somehow today, i felt sad.  not sad to have Zoe, she’s perfect.  not sad to have 5 kids, it’s wonderful, a dream come true really.  but today, as i’m schlepping over hump day with a limp and in need of too much caffeine, i felt a strange kind of nostalgic sadness.  where has the time gone?  i swear just yesterday i was in this same grocery store, with a similar smiling baby, happily answering, “yes, this is my first.”  that time i had a nine month old whose teething was a much harder hurdle, 15 lbs lighter, but i was already pregnant with my second, and had just moved, again!  and yet, just 8 years ago, i was energetic, youthful, and spry.  sigh.  those were the days.

yes, it’s been one of those days, but i’m resolving to move on.  it’s time to fake it ’til i make it.  i know i’ll feel much better if i don’t think too much about how much has changed for the worse over the past decade, and focus on how much is better.  5 amazing kids, much, much wiser, comfortable in my skin (so long as i don’t dwell in front of the mirror too long), and happy, in spite of my limitations.  yes i am.  tomorrow, i will probably wake stiff and tired, but tonight i’ll put a smile in my heart as i realize there’s nothing i would change.  (but i may not put on my glasses until i’m far away from the mirror.)



inspiration for your sabbath

this weekend is the General Conference for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  it is such and uplifting time.  a time i find i hear just what i need to re-fill my spiritual gas tank.  there have been so many inspiring talks and messages that our family will be reflecting on for months to come.  this talk from Elder Nelson is a favorite so far:

(click here to download this inspirational quote)