Monday, September 05, 2016

DIY Family Photos: Inspiration and Observation

Looking ahead to Christmas cards and photos to be sent out - I've been thinking for weeks about our family photo! We didn't have a new photo taken last year so it is definitely time!

However, with a tight budget and most local photography options that I know of being in the hundreds range for a photo shoot - I was reminded that one year I took our own and really loved them! Not only did I love those photos, one of them is now on the cover of my book! In the case of my first experience taking our photos - I called a local car company that had a vintage truck parked outside and got permission to use their parking lot after hours. That was free. We used clothes we had - free. And, picked goldenrod from the side of the road - free.

I am most certainly not an expert! These are just my ideas and experience for having a great photo experience on zero money spent. 

I realized that perhaps some of you might want to try this too - so I'm going to share my process for looking for inspiration, picking out what we wear, etc... And I certainly don't think you need a fancy camera to pull this off! I don't have a DSLR camera myself so am offering you a more amateur option in this series this week. For those who are curious, I love my Panasonic Lumix bridge camera - it is almost five years old now so I'm not sure which one exactly to link to but it is similar to this.

One thing about family photos is that you want to love them, and only you know what sort of finished photo you are hoping for - really thinking through what your end goal is and putting some time and thought into preparing will go a long way into making your experience a success!

I really love having our photos done early {August or September} so that it is off my radar when things get busier and I can keep an eye on sales for photo prints rather than being in a rush at the last minute. I hate being rushed! {Evidence: see the title of my book!}

First, I think about what "look" I want to go for this year. What setting am I thinking? Do I want golden field, urban, country, water, etc... I look on Pinterest for family photo ideas and just see what jumps out at me. After pinning my favorites, I go back and look at them and see if a theme sort of emerges.

Then I snip my favorites and put them in a Word document so I could build this theme as I went - this is what happened this year:

Inspiration photos clockwise from top left: one, two, three, four, five, six. I got all of these from Pinterest but after searching and searching I can't find them again unless linked.

I printed this out to give me some visual direction and help me see what I liked and where I was headed. Next, it was time to pick out clothes!

Things I observed from looking at my favorite photos:
- Mixing patterns is ok and even mixing plaids.
- Sometimes one plaid is enough and you can soften with other solids.
- Cozy is the look I love!
- I prefer non-busy backgrounds.
- I like tight photos but with the right background/light - a farther out photo can work.
- Light is everything!

A helpful exercise would be to make a list of all the photo combinations you hope to end up with. Do you want each child individually? All the kids together? Mom and Dad together? More than one family option? If you have a list, it will streamline your photo shoot as far as making sure you get what you want rather than have everyone change out of their picture clothes and then you hit your forehead realizing you forgot something!

Next: picking out clothes!


Shelby said...

Love this thanks for sharing friend. We are on a very tight budget this year and I would hate to not send out pictures because of it or not being able to get someone to take them.

Unknown said...

Great way to save money! Now about presents.... lol

Meagazz said...

Such a great idea! We are a new family (daughter is almost 8 months) and I'd love to send out a photo with our Christmas card! We have a great old white fence in our yard and live steps from a gorgeous park!

Tina Leigh said...

I've always wanted to do something like this but our family is, for the most part, very unphotogentic! Lazy eye runs on my husbands side of the family & it make taking pictures very difficult. Is that not the craziest thing you've ever heard?