A Mom’s Guide to Surviving Family Photos

Dr. Leesha Loves Family Photos

A little confession here – I LOVE taking family photos. Every year, the magical Breanna Fogg takes our family photos. With her incomparable skill and trained photographer’s eye, she transforms pouts, wayward glances, and dwindling energy into magazine-worthy photo shoots. Come fall, my husband and I rustle up the kids to take pictures that I use for our annual Christmas cards. These pictures beautifully chronicle the growth of our babies as we highlight this year’s happenings.

If you have ever taken family photos, you are intimately familiar with how painful this endeavor can be. Kids would rather play than smile, or, if yours are like mine, they hog the camera. Each of my babies believe the session is their own personal photo shoot. With hands on their hips, they pose and smize for the camera. We are clearly raising children with very high self-esteem in the Cox house – ha!

The weather in Alabama is fickle so choosing themed attire is difficult at best. And this year, to my utter horror, our four-year-old daughter decided to cut several chunks of her hair a few days before our scheduled session. Cue Captain Rescue Mommy superhero to valiantly save the day, my energy fueled by desperate attempts to salvage her hair.

5 Tips for Rocking Family Photos

Considering all that family photos encompass, I am sharing my 5 TIPS to rocking the family photo session. Each of these tips, I am proud to say, I learned the hard way. Enjoy! Share your tips, too.

1)      Create a vision for the session but with a healthy dose of flexibility 

Main, I love Pinterest. Inspired by what I see as I pour over dozens of pins, I formulate my vision for the shoot. Moody blues, citrus hues, or jewel tones – you name it, I have considered it. Some years we floss. Other years we dress more casually. We mix silly with sweet and staged with candid. Sometimes nobody wants to wear what this mama has picked out. Or worse, they want to add their own “unique touches,” i.e. non-matching foolishness. I try to go with the flow. The goal is to arrive on time and take amazing pictures. Truth be told, I don’t think we have ever made it on time for a session because at least two of the three kiddos always disagrees with the outfit selections. Nevertheless, we push forward albeit delayed. Thanks for your patience, Breanna.

2)      Always bring a change of clothes, especially for the little ones

Accidents happen. Clothes and shoes get muddy. Spills occur. This year somebody didn’t make it to the bathroom on time. Unfortunately, this mama was unprepared with NO CHANGE OF CLOTHES. I know right! Thankfully, we were almost done with the shoot. I just removed she who will not be named’ s leggings, dried her off with some napkins, and got in the last few images. Crisis averted. Just don’t judge me.

3)      Embrace the candid moments that showcase your family’s awesome personalities

My babies are really cute, all three of them. I know it and they know it, too. They love the camera, and frankly the camera loves them back. So, of course, they each want to star in their own private photo session. All I hear is, “Hey, Ms. Breanna, watch this” or “Can you get me doing this?” or “Me, next!” It’s precious, especially at a time when so many young people don’t feel good about themselves. My four-year-old proudly announces how adorable she is regularly. Who’s going to argue with that face?

4)       Time the session length right 

Either keep the session short or bring snacks and take breaks. The little ones tire quickly and are always hungry or at least mine are. Smiles are brighter and energy, higher, with food and carefully timed breathers.

5)          Remember to have fun 

Yes, our photo sessions take some planning and forethought; yes, I obsess over the minutiae; and yes, I want all of us to look fetching in every image captured. These are the Christmas card photos and the only time we typically have professional photography done. More importantly, we cherish the time to hang out and have some fun together. We smile, we laugh hard, we play, and we celebrate the individuality of every member of our family, the Cox party of 5!

Contact Breanna Fogg with Breanna Fogg Photography for all your photography needs. We have been using her for almost a decade. She doesn’t disappoint. The proof is in the pudding.

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