Family Picture Inspiration & 3 Big No-Nos

I love family pictures, and we take one every year. I use the photos to make a New Year’s card to mail to family and friends, but I also use them to print a family calendar and a large canvas for above our fireplace.

Here is a peak at the inspiration board I’ve created for our family photos this year. I haven’t yet received the pictures back from our photographer, but if you follow me on Instagram you probably caught a peak at our photo shoot a couple weeks ago. (Keep reading for my three rules of family photos.)

Three Tips for Better Family Pictures #familypictures #inspiration #phototips

:: 1. The stripe dress was from Baby Gap’s summer collection and provided inspiration for the retro-carnival feel. :: 2. I am so in love with this Twirl Party Dress from Tea Collection. Piper loves how the skirt ruffles around when she spins, and it was the perfect vermillion color of one of the stripes in Modette’s dress. :: 3. I found Attalie’s sunshine yellow dress last summer at Crewcuts by J. Crew. It has lots of lovely tailored details that give a polished, retro vibe. :: 4. My cousin and gifted seamstress whipped together a pencil skirt for me to wear from a blue polka dot fabric. :: 5. I saw a tutorial for making these cool vintage-y marquee letters which seemed to be the perfect touch for our photos.

I prefer family pictures that have a relaxed but pulled-together feel. I don’t like things to be too matchy, but I want everything to go together. Usually I don’t really have a theme, but there is typically one outfit that the rest center around. To date my favorite pictures were the year I found a killer, black-and-white chevron shift dress for Piper. EEK!! I can’t wait to see how this year’s pictures turn out! (UPDATE: You can now see our family pictures here!)

I don’t want to boast, but I think I have a bit of a knack for putting family picture outfits together. I’m often asked for advice so I thought I’d share my three biggest rules:

– We always take our photos in the Fall, and I start looking for my inspiration piece in summertime, which gives me plenty of time to shop around. I snap photos with my phone of the pieces that I like so I have everything handy and can see how things are coming together. All year long I’m on the lookout for locations that would lend themselves to family photos.

2. DON’T MATCH – Sure it’s simple to buy everyone the same color shirt and jeans and call it a day, but just don’t. If you need an easy way out (because Rule No. 1 is hard!), you are honestly better off giving each family member two to three colors and letting them pick an outfit from their existing wardrobes.

3. DON’T WEAR BLACK – It’s true that black is slimming in real life, but in the two-dimensional world of photography black doesn’t show definition and shadow lines, which means you’ll end up looking like a BIG, FAT BLOB! Who wants that? Same goes for any dark colors akin to black. If you must wear black limit it to the bottom half of your outfit and preferably in something that is slim fitting like a pencil skirt or skinny jeans. This rule can be a little more lenient for guys unless they are sensitive about their weight.

About the author

Bettijo is the founder and designer of Paging Supermom where she shares what she's dreamed up for family fun. Known for practical and kid-friendly activities, free printables and simple ideas for holidays. She is a single mom of three girls and one boy. Bettijo was a guest on the Martha Stewart Show and has frequently appeared on local television. Her work has also been featured in national magazines including Real Simple, O, Redbook, Parents, Family Circle, and Health. During quieter moments, she enjoys art, retro-modern design, photography and making new things. Bettijo lives with her four kiddos in Phoenix, Arizona.

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