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No Stress Guide Family Picture Success {Family Photo Stitched w/ Love}

Check out our Group Pinterest Board for Family Photo Ideas. If you would like to be added as a contributor like the board and then send us an e-mail at shaffer dot sisters at gmail dot com, with your Pinterest Url and we will add you to the board.

Today, I was supposed to be sharing my Family Photo Stitched with Love. But it seems like October has been the month of colds and fatigue at our house. Just as we thought we were recovered from one cold another one came knocking. I tried to think how I could contribute without having the most groggy looking family photo's ever. Then I realized that I could contribute by sharing some life experience. Before I started blogging I would take family and children's photos as a side hobby. I learned a lot from the experience, #1 that I don't have the backbone or courage to be a photographer for a living or even a paid hobby.
The other things I learned will serve as a good guide for you to get great photos as you prepare for your photo shoot, whether that be with a neighbor/friend/family member or professional.
1. Make sure that you and your children can be comfortable around the photographer.
Ty at a few weeks old. I was able to take her pictures on the blanket that Al worked on for the month before she came. (Which she has never shared on the blog, leave a comment below if you want to see it. Maybe we can peer pressure her into finally sharing it).
Often times for family/children photography it requires someone who can entertain the kids/babies for long enough that you get a few good shots. It is always nice for me when my photographer doesn't find themselves above doing a few silly things behind the camera or someone who has a flexible creative vision that can keep up with the kids are doing. If you are looking for candid photos make sure an mention this to your photographer (I think that most outdoor photographers will be relieved that you said this).
I had Richard (the Dad) stand right behind me and make faces. I had a flashing light on my head to keep their attention and we were able to get such a sweet photo.
2.  Over plan for your photo shoot. This doesn't mean that you should come with 100 poses you found on Pinterest. But prepare for the emergencies or schedule conflicts that might come about from working with littles, if pictures are during dinner make sure you feed your kid before and bring a few snacks to keep them going. This might mean packing an extra shirt or pair of pants for your kiddos if they fall into something. This also means that you should plan on photo prep taking longer than you anticipated, which leads me to point 3.
This little Toddler was so interested in the sand on the sand volleyball court that we were able to get a few sweet pictures of him in the sand playing. It ended up being a perfect expression of the age and stage he was at and it kept him happy for the shoot.
This mom had twins so she opted to do an individual photo shoot. We pulled a little chair out from her house and took pictures in the trees near her house. It was a low pressure situation that yielded a lot of great shots out of both kids.
 3. BE ON TIME!!! This one is super important because it shows respect for your photographer. If you are paying someone, being late might cost you money big. Most photographers charge for the time they are there, so if you are late you might lose your full investment or it might cost you double.  If you are having a friend or family member doing it, it might cost you your relationship. Respect that the individual taking your picture agreed on a time because it was best for lighting and/or schedule.
4. Relax. Our kids often feed off our energy. So if you are feeling nervous or stressed try and take a few deep breaths and enjoy yourself. If you relax you will be so much happier with your results.
McKenna & Richard were so relaxed even though there little girl was so tiny she had little head control and all there little boy wanted to do was eat apples. It really helped us get some good photos.
5. Look for a color scheme in the clothes you already own. Once you start looking through your families wardrobe, I bet you will be surprised how much you have that coordinates without spending a dime. I shop for most of our family's clothes so most of them match in some way.
These were all clothes we had on hand, which was nice because I was about 25 weeks pregnant at this point so shopping for something special for a photoshoot could have been an unnecessary expense.  (this photo was taken by McKenna)
6. Research a few poses that you would like to do. Using Pinterest you can find a few poses that you like and if you find a place in the photo shoot to use them pull them out of your sleeve. When McKenna took our pictures I knew it would be a little difficult to keep track of Ryder so I was glad I was prepared with this pose from Pinterest, when he kept running away we applied it in our own way. The picture captured our stage of life perfectly. Ryder was such an active toddler and I felt like I spent my whole pregnancy chasing him around and then packing him back.
via Pinterest
I read somewhere a few years back that when you are doing that perfect family photo it is nice to have no more than two levels and if you can lesson the disparity in size then it is more likely that everyone's face will be in focus.  This is where sitting poses can be really good for families with young children. Or even ones on the ground or blanket.
This is from Al's Family Photo Stitched with Love post.

7. Don't be disappointed if not every picture is a winner.  I figure in a 15 to 20 minute session I should be able to take about 300 shots. Out of those 300, 50 and sometimes as many as 100 of them might not total looser shots because of someone running away, eyes were closed, etc. Then you will probably have 20 out of the 200 that you love. Doesn't seem like a really high percentage, but remember it is 20 more than you had before and what would you really do with 300 pictures. 
This photo is from a trip that we took with Slim Jim's dad and brother to downtown Salt Lake. The whole time Ryder didn't want me to take his pictures, and every time he would hear a click he would run away or come yell in my face, "No pictures." At the time I was a little annoyed but now when I look through the pictures I just smile. And one day I will tell him the stories.
This will be our final installment of a Family Photo Stitched with Love. Though I do hope that in the coming month to have a nice family picture taken for my family at which point I will share it with you and show some fun crafts that you can do with your family photos. Feel free to add your photos to the Flickr group or tag them on instagram with the hashtag #familyphotostitchedwithlove.

With Love,
October 8: Bethany from I Married Superman
October 9: Jo from Shaffer Sisters
October 10: April from Modern Homemade
October 11: Al from Shaffer Sisters
October 14: RaeAnna from Sewing Mama RaeAnna
October 15: Jenn from A Jennuine Life
October 16: Heather from Feathers Flight
October 17: Olga from Kid Approved
October 18: Rebecca from Rock the Stitch
October 21: Scary from Shaffer Sisters

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