October 10, 2016

How to Choose Oufits for Family Photos, Picky Kid Edition


It seems like fall is the perfect season for family photos – the ‘golden hour’ light is literally golden, the kids won’t be sweaty uncomfortable subjects and the pics are ready just in time to order holiday cards.

Choosing outfits for the kids is the hardest part for me – coming up with a cohesive look is hard enough and if your kid is highly opinionated like mine, multiply that difficulty by infinity.  Shopkins fever has hit hard in the first month of kindergarten, mamas, and it ain’t pretty.  My oldest has exactly one pair of those leggings which she always wears on Monday – guess what I pry out of her insistent little hands every. following. day. of the week?   However, we’ve successfully taken family photos the last two years with nary a character or pajama piece in sight.  Magic?  Nope – mom strategy. (And maybe a little bribery.)

Here are some tips for getting kids to wear outfits you both like for family photos, while letting them express their individuality.

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November 19, 2015

What To Wear For Family Photos (8 Tips To Look Cohesive, Not Matchy-Matchy)



Say CHEESE!  We’re frequently asked, over here at The Mom Edit, how to dress for a family photo.  It’s such a tough question to answer because each family is so unique; each photo session completely different. But after thinking about it for quite some time (years) and helping friends, family, and specific readers offline…there are a few strategies that seem to work for almost any kind of shoot.


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By November 19, 2015 23 No tags Permalink
September 29, 2014

Our Extended Family Photoshoot With Vafa-Coffman Photography (on the Coldest Day of The Summer)



While we were home in Michigan this summer, I booked Vafa-Coffman Photography for an extended family photoshoot.  My sister Scotti and her husband Zack had just had baby Greenlea – a new baby is always so exciting – and I really wanted to get a few pictures with my parents.  (My Dad was diagnosed a few years ago with Lewy Body Dementia, a heart-breaking disease similar to Alzheimer’s)  So we asked the Vafa-Coffmans to come capture a day of fun in the sun:  water skiing, floating around on tubes, all sorts of cute photo ops with naked little kids and parents in suits and brightly colored towels and umbrella drinks and a whole dose of YAY, SUMMER!


As you may know, Summer had other plans this year.

But Paul and Amy (the Vafa-Coffmans) still showed bright and early, and, thankfully, were both confidant that we could get some good family pics.  None of us had planned out what to wear, and poor Scotti and Zack were bleary-eyed, having been up half the night with Greenlea.


Sure, NOW she sleeps. 



We all sort of rushed around, wetting down cowlicks and applying mascara and finding something warm (you can prob guess the sweater I wore…AGAIN), and in the end we were like, “well, ok FINE.  IT’S FINE.”

But Paul and Amy had the genius idea to just grab some blankets and bring our coffee down to the freezing dock.  “Just snuggle together” Amy said.  “Snuggle together and have a chat and drink your coffee – it’ll be great.  I promise.”

You guys?  Amy was right.  These pics blew away ALL of my expectations.



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By September 29, 2014 17 No tags Permalink
March 26, 2014

Family Photo Inspiration: Happiness is Home

Today I'm so pleased to highlight the stunning photography of Kandise Brown, who was named as one of the 30 most inspiring wedding photographers in Canada.  Luckily for us, Kandise also does family photography.  Prepare to be blown away.




Posing Notes:

They all look so at ease!  I love how they're doing their own thing….yet were still captured together as a family.  Genius, no?  This idea easily translates into other scenarios.  For example, a family cooking in the kitchen (someone's chopping, someone's cooking, maybe someone's doing homework?) this kind of everyday scene would be amazing to have years later. 

Styling Notes:

I love how they dressed up…but not overly so.  The photos look styled, yet comfortable.

Instead of worrying about matching clothing (black? navy? both!), they chose clothing tones that complemented the room.  Having Dad wear black (which ties into the design of the room) was a really smart choice, giving Mom a bit more freedom to wear what she wanted.  




Posing Notes:

Playing a board game is a perfect idea for a family with older kids.  Such a great way to get everyone to relax, right?  (Or, uh, as I think about it, "relax" may not be the right word.  Growing up, my family had some pretty intense game nights….which, I guess, is part of our story.  I'd now give my left arm for a picture of my Dad's smirk as he cheated at Trivial Pursuit.)




Q: Kandise, what was your favorite part about this session?  Is there any one reason this session worked so well?

Well, this session was really authentic to THEM. They have a beautiful home and wanted their photo session to capture their lives within it – the games they play, reading books or playing guitar, etc.  It's their regular lives, just condensed quickly into an hour.


Q:  How can another family re-create this shoot (without the gorgeous house)?

Rather than doing a shoot that tries to force you into unusual situations, find the simple beauty of the life you share with each other.




Kandise, a huge thank you for sharing your thoughts and these gorgeous photos.  I am so inspired!


Find more from Kandise on her website, Kandise Brown "photography for awesome people".

(Yup.  She sure is.)



Want to participate?  Family Photo Inspiration is a recurring series, so if you've recently had a family photo session that knocked your socks off, or you are a family photographer with an eye for something fresh or unique, I'd love to hear from you.  Email me:  aintnomomjeans (at) gmail (dot) com

By March 26, 2014 4 No tags Permalink
February 20, 2014

A New Series! Family Photo Inspiration (The Late Winter Edition)

Our family pictures tell our story.  The story of who we were, who we are, and help to illuminate our life's path – who we are becoming.  A picture can bring back the memory of Raines' sweet, vanilla-scented baby breath, or what it felt like to squish Pax's fat legs between my fingers.  Seeing the photographic evidence of my husband's progression from an all-night partier in college to the man rocking his baby to sleep to the man caring for his wife after my recent mastectomy…it brings me to tears. Pictures are powerful.

So it's no surprise, then, that there is a huge demand for family photographers.  As parents, we watch, awed, as our children – and ourselves – grow in all kinds of surprising directions, the time often slipping though our fingers (even as it seems to stand still).  This is BIG STUFF, we think.  This is our life.  And so we hire the photographers, hoping to capture our children's spirit, the depth of our love, our unique lives.

And when they get it, when they get that shot, that one that so perfectly captures our family….it's magic.

Not perfect, but perfectly captured.


But it's hard to do.  The kids sometimes don't cooperate, husbands never seem to know how to smile naturally, and many family shots come off as forced…the exact opposite of magical.  So let's redefine the family photo.  Let's go for something that's uniquely you.  Let's go for something real.  Let's go beyond the 'everyone sit and SAY CHEEEEEESE'.  

So.  Over the next year, I'll be partnering with various photographers to highlight some amazing family photo inspiration.  We'll cover natural posing ideas (hint:  based on activities so no one stands around awkwardly), fun props, and how to pull together family outfits that are cohesive, without being matchy-matchy.  And we'll cover ideas you can use now.  Like, right now.  Because who says you have to wait for autumn leaves to get a good family pic?  Not. Freaking. Me.

First up?  Our first-ever Family Photo Inspiration:  Late Winter.  Think snuggles, snow, and smooches.

The Photographers:  Vafa-Coffman Photography

The Vafa-Coffmans (Paul and Amy) are husband-and-wife photographers based in Marquette, MI (my hometown).  Our recent photo session kinda blew my mind.  I wanted something relaxed, but special.  And something uniquely us.  As they mention on their website, "We are supporters and listeners.  We are dreamers….it is our dream to bring out your confidence, capture your beauty, and create irreplaceable memories."  And yup – they sure did.

The Scene:   A morning at home, in pajamas.

Clothes: Try pajamas or loungewear!  And maybe decide if you want bare feet or cute socks / slippers. (I ended up switching to slippers last minute because I forgot to get a pedicure – oops.)   To keep the color scheme cohesive, try pjs of different patterns in similar shades, or bring one pop of contrasting color throughout (for us it was red – on my lips, the trim on Mike's shirt, and Pax's stuffed animal.)

Props:  Favorite stuffed animals, a good book

Posing Ideas:  Snuggle up together on the bed, whisper secrets in each other's ears (remember the telephone game?).  Tickle the kids, fly them up as airplanes, or sit down and read a favorite book out loud.  And make the most of the winter sun by looking out the window – you can get some amazing shots with the reflection on the glass.





The Scene:   Brave The Cold And Play Outside

Posing Ideas:  Instead of just meeting the photographer outside, have them first come in to take pictures as you get ready.  The act of putting on boots, zipping up coats – these are things we've done a million times, this is the stuff of life…and these everyday moments can make for some really tender shots.  Once outside?  Play.  Run up and down the street, give each other cheesy kisses, push the kids into a snowbank, build a snowman (on my list for next year).  

Props:  Your full winter gear – snowboots, mittens, etc. 

Clothing: Kid's winter gear is typically bright – just go with it.  If everyone (or almost everyone) is wearing something bright, it'll work – especially if there's also grounding black in everyone's outfit.  Additionally, choose one of the colors in your kid's gear to pull into your own outfits via a scarf, mittens, hat or lipstick.  


The Scene:   Go Out For Cocoa

Posing Ideas:  Try heading out to a favorite family haunt for hot chocolate.  Have the photograpers treat it like a wedding and shoot the location (especially if this places holds a special spot in your heart).  Then, walk in (have them shoot you walking down the street, walking into the place, etc.) and order up.  There will be plenty of photo opportunities of your kids being themselves, and they'll probably sit still for a bit once the hot chocolate comes.  You and hubs can even sneak off to a nearby table for a few shots. (Plan this one in advance, though.  It's always a good idea to call first and let the establishment know you are coming in.  Most coffee shops, etc. don't charge a fee, but you never know.)  This scene works really well with grandparents, too.  

Props:  Mugs of hot chocolate, the coffee shop itself

Clothing:  We peeled off the bright snowgear, and went with casual, cozy pieces – jeans, sweaters, plaid and stripes. 



A huge thank you to Donkers in Marquette and to Paul and Amy Vafa-Coffman.  We couldn't be more thrilled with the results.  You can read more about our shoot on the Vafa-Coffman blog. 




Want to participate?  Family Photo Inspiration will be a recurring series on the blog, so if you've recently had a family photo session that knocked your socks off, or you are a family photographer with an eye for something fresh or unique, I'd love to hear from you.  Email me:  aintnomomjeans (at) gmail (dot) com


By February 20, 2014 15 No tags Permalink