So, suddenly we’re knee deep in the holiday season and Thanksgiving is just around the corner. I don’t know how it snuck up on me so fast, but it did and now I’m scrambling to plan for Thanksgiving (then Christmas, then the birth of baby three – OMG!) If you’re starting to sweat it like me, I hope these 31 tips I shared over on Momtastic for making Thanksgiving easy and entertaining will come in handy. It’s one to pin so you have it on hand just in case! Happy hosting.
Category Archives: mom tips
Fall family photos are my favorite and fall is the most popular time for family photoshoots, since everyone wants a current photo for those yearly holiday cards. Since we’ve had 8 family photoshoots since Charlie was born I feel like I’m becoming a bit of an expert. And while some of these tips are kiddo related, you can use a lot of these to prep for an engagement session as well. Oh, and be sure to check my coordinating family wardrobe picks below (hint: some are on amazing sale!)
1. Get an idea of what kind of shoot you’d like to do. Do you want a relaxed shoot at home or an elaborate shoot with props? Thinking about what you want, and then getting realistic about how practical it would be to actually do is the first step. Do you have kids? How many and what are their ages? You probably don’t want to go hiking into the mountains with three kids under three, for example.
2. Pick a location (or two) for your photos. Personally, I like selecting places that are meaningful to you as a couple or family. We’ve done photo shoots at home, at the park where my husband and I had our first date, where we used to hike every weekend before we had a baby, and one of Charlie’s favorite places to visit. If your favorite place is visually appealing, all the better! When in doubt, pick a park or other open, outdoor area (weather permitting). If it isn’t a place you or your photographer visit frequently, try scouting the location ahead of time if you can. And nothing beats a gorgeous tree with colorful foilage in a fall family photo!
3. Pick a date at least a couple of weeks in advance so you can prepare your appearance. Did you overeat on the Halloween candy? You have a couple of weeks to get in a few extra workouts. Need a haircut? You have time. Get a manicure – I always forget how much you end up seeing our hands, especially as the mom who is often holding the baby or kiddo.
4. Start gathering any props you need to bring your vision to life. This might be as elaborate as a Christmas tree or as simple as a scarf. Just start thinking about what you want to use and gather it up in case you have trouble finding something and need to come up with a Plan B.
5. Remember your kiddos are just kids. They aren’t professionals, or even grown ups. So pick the time of day that they are in the best mood. For us, it is the morning. We’ve always shot around 10 am until lunchtime and it works perfectly. For others, it might be after nap time. Whatever it is that works best for your kids, try to work with them. Because if they are going to have a meltdown or be uncooperative, it will be the day you have a photoshoot scheduled. But remember, meltdowns can often make for some unexpectedly great photos, so just go with it
6. Make sure everyone has eaten. No one is happy when they’re hungry. Have snacks and water on hand just in case (and for bribes!)
7. Dress for the weather. If it is cold, wear sweaters and coats – they make for great photos, especially for holiday cards. But if you’re like me, living in LA where it is still 80 degrees some days, you’re going to have to do sweater photos indoors or just embrace the weather you’re in. Overheated (or freezing) family members don’t make for happy photos.
8. This might be obvious, but find a good photographer. I cannot tell you how important it is to have your family documented by a professional who knows what they are doing and can deliver beautiful photos that you’ll always treasure. We’ve been lucky enough to be photographed by the same photographer, who was also our wedding photographer. We have a wonderful relationship and each time we have a photoshoot it is easier than the last because we’ve done it before. And whether I feel pretty that day or Charlie is cooperating, I always trust her to deliver stunning photos. Because she always does.
9. Relax and just have fun. The best photos are the candid ones of you being a family, rather than the posed ones. Get some of those too, but try to just relax, play, and be yourselves. Try not to focus on what you want the result to be and just enjoy the experience. You’ll get the best (and most honest and real) photos that way.
10. Coordinate your wardrobe, but not too much. There is a fine line between coordinating and too matchy-matchy. Selecting complimentary patterns, or colors (think varying shades of the same color) are a great way to go. You do not have to match. In fact, it looks better when you don’t. Bring a change of clothes if you want more than one look, or in case you get muddy, have a potty accident, etc. And always bring a couple of accessories like hats or scarves (we always throw a hat on Charlie and it is so adorable). And a pop of color is a must! My favorite way to coordinate parents and kids: patterns like plaid under a sweater for dad, chambray or denim and a colorful sweater on kiddos, and a pop of color in accessories like scarves or shoes for mom. Keep the parents in more neutral basics except for a color pop and let the kiddos be more colorful. My basic wardrobe styling formula for family photos is: coordinating neutrals on dad (with maybe a pop of color tee peeking out under a sweater or jacket) + colorful pattern on kid + mom in coordinating pop of color (works great if it is pants/skirt, scarf, or shoes) = family photo perfection. And denim or chambray is always a winner! Here are some examples of ways you can style your wardrobe without being overly matchy-matchy.
Hope this helps you prepare for your own family photoshoots! And check out some of my favorite wardrobe picks below as well. And now through 11/8/15 all of my picks from the Gap are 40% off with code FFSALE with no exclusions, so hurry up and get shopping!
(Credits) Top Photo: Green Horse Creative Services / Photos 3 & 5: Gina Cristine Photography / All other photos taken by our wedding and family photographer, Jennifer Roper. Jennifer Roper is a handpicked member of our Lovely Vendor Guide. If you would like to be considered for our guide, apply here.
I discovered the best little place to take your early walkers, and it was almost by accident. While on a morning walk in our neighborhood with Calvin, I stopped by LACMA. It is closed on Wednesdays, and like many stay-at-home parents, I often don’t know what day it is (hazard of the job — pretty much every day is the same and you lose track, am I right?) So I forgot it was closed today until we got there. But the Urban Lights exhibit off of Wilshire is always accessible to the public, so I let Calvin out of the stroller and he got to explore it when it was totally empty (and it is never totally empty). He had the best time walking from light post to light post, then up and down the rows, occasionally stopping to watch the cars on Wilshire. It was so fun to watch and made for some great photos.
So here’s my secret for all of you stay-home parents of walkers age 1-2 who are local: go to the Urban Lights exhibit around 9 am on Wednesdays! It’s the best And this is definitely a favorite spot for families to visit when it is opened as well. You can read more about that here if you’d like.
One more tip: there’s a great farmer’s market at the Wilshire Courtyard a couple of blocks away every Wednesday, so after you wear your little walker out, you can stop by and grab lunch and fresh, locally grown produce to take home. So now you know what we will be doing every Wednesday morning… if I can remember what day it is!
Urban Lights is located on the Wilshire side of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art at 5905 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90036. LACMA is closed on Wednesdays (but this exhibit is accessible from Wilshire Blvd.)