Find an Inspirational Picture
I am such a visual person. Therefore, I love jumping on Pinterest and finding other people’s holiday pictures for inspiration. I’ll try searching for things like “couples holiday pictures” or “holiday picture ideas” and start pinning ones that I love onto a special board. This is helpful for both you and the photographer you hire so that you’re both on the same page as far as expectations and what end results you’re looking for.
Here are some inspirational pictures from Pinterest that I loved for our family pictures in 2018:
What I love about the above pictures are the green trees in the background and the wheat colored grass. To me it says Christmas without being overly Christmassy. I wanted simple with a hint of winter.
Here is how our pictures turned out for 2018.
Below our some inspirational pictures I chose from Pinterest for our 2019 pictures. I loved the tree and the pajamas. To me this still doesn’t necessarily scream Christmas, I think because the tree is undecorated, but it makes for a cute Winter picture.
Here is how these photos turned out for us in 2019. My sister-in-law shot these great photos.
Choosing Your Photographer
When looking for which photographer to work with, again, I go back to the visual. Thank God for social media, am I right? I love using Instagram for this. I’ll jump on and search “#okcphotographer” or “#okcphotography” or I will look up my favorite local bloggers and see if they have or have mentioned a local photographer they love using. When I creep a photographer on Instagram and realize that I love all of their photos I will reach out to them about booking to see if their scheduling and pricing fits mine. Be sure, when you’re looking at a photographer’s work, that it’s not just one picture of theirs that you love, but that it’s most of them. You’re wanting to look for an overall aesthetic or feel that you love, not just a single, specific image. Looking at a photographer’s overall work sets your expectations up correctly as opposed to just loving one image of theirs, they may not know how to recreate it whether they are a newer photographer or it’s just not their typical style. When I found the photographer I loved here in Oklahoma, what I loved was the way that she retouches her photos. I loved the way she posed her subjects naturally and captured the true happiness in them – and she did not disappoint. Our pictures came out looking exactly the same vibe as her others did and we were so pleased with Ashley of AW Photography.
We also loved the pictures my SIL did for us as well, but I didn’t have to search her portfolio. I saw her work and she is family, so we knew she’d do a great job.
Choosing Your Theme & Background Setting
When thinking of a setting or background, I try to have a few options in mind. When discussing this with the photographer, they will likely have some options for you that fit your overall goal. Going back to our family pictures a few years ago, I loved the look of the dark green trees in the beginning of Fall.
Be Aware of Your Timeline & Intentions
I like to do our pictures closer to the holidays, around September to October, so we can send them out on our holiday cards. I pay attention to our outfits and theme so that they will fit a holiday card. Unless there is something special about a beach or Summer photo, that wouldn’t necessarily say holiday card. You don’t have to dress for Christmas or a blizzard, but be sure that your colors and background are cohesive enough to fit your plan for the pictures. It’s always safe to go neutral. This ensures you can do a lot with your pictures.
Give yourself about 2-3 months to map all of this out. From there you can buy your outfits and accessories needed for everyone in the family. I recommend having everything from head to toe, hair accessories all the way to shoes, picked out, tried on and approved at least 2-3 weeks before pictures. This way, just in case something happens – you’ve got plenty of time to fix any last minute wardrobe issues.
Choosing Your Color Scheme & Outfits
This is the fun part, but it sure can be stressful as well. Again, I hate to sound like a broken record, but I find so much help with Pinterest. This time, I referred back to our inspiration picture and sort of mimicked what they’re wearing or something similar. You can also find inspirational pins specifically for outfits for pictures. This is great if picking out something to wear is overwhelming for you. I prefer to use the inspo a little more loosely. I’ll find one item of clothing to start, whether it be a shirt for Drew or a dress for myself, and go from there. Don’t let it stress you out too much because photography today can be “enhanced” so that the colors will be beautiful and cohesive. Let’s say that you choose a couple of colors, maybe blue and green. Every single blue and green item does not have to be the exact same color, cut from the same cloth. I actually find that varying shades and prints of one color can give the photos some dimension, texture and character. It feels more real and less staged for photos. If you need reassurance with this, reach out to your photographer. They will have some input and tips for you with wardrobe.
This one seems silly, but it’s true! I highly recommend planning out pictures in advance. After that, get excited because it is so much fun taking photos. I like to remind myself why we are doing photos. Don’t do it if you feel obligated or like you have to keep up with the Joneses. Schedule pictures to make a memory, to document you and your family at that time. It’s also fun to place them in your home or send out a holiday card. Remember your why and have fun with it.
This year we are doing our pictures on Sunday, November 1st. I will post about those photos and the process when we get them back. I can’t wait to share them with you.