As a blogger my family gets photographed. All four of my kids and my hubby and I! And when we have family shoot it gets crazy. But thankfully, along the way I’ve learned some tips and tricks that I’d like to share. So here’s my the Ultimate Family Photo Guide with advice from picking outfits to fun creative ideas of ways to use the pictures! Here we go!(ALL LAKE PHOTOS BY Cecilia Harvard)


1. Purpose behind the photos
So you want to take some photos. First thing I would advise is to decide the purpose of the shoot and how to best get photos that will last. Most of us can’t take photos every month. So its good to think of upcoming birthdays or events coming up in the family and you can tailor your shoot for that. Christmas is an obvious reason to do a family portrait. But there’s a million different life events that may make your shoot more meaningful. An example of this is when we did our family portraits at a local raspberry patch that we go to every summer.
2. Picking a location
So these thoughts location ideas lead me to my thoughts on picking the location. As mentioned above I really think location can make a photo so much more important. Why not take photos playing on the baseball field your son hit his first home run on? Or on the front steps of your home? Other thoughts are whether to shoot in a studio or outside? I personally prefer shooting outside because of the natural light and low costs. Usually studios charge or have additional fees. That being said, on days like when we shot these photos I wished we had been in a studio. You can see how you can personalize a shot in a studio here. Wherever you shoot be thoughtful of your photographer and the look you are trying to achieve.

3. Picking a photographer
Now that you know where to shoot you will need to find a photographer that will fit your style and be able to travel for you potentially. If you are dying to use a certain photographer it may be good to as them about locations as they may have suggestions. Most photographers I have worked with have certain “spots” that they like to shoot at. Also know that some photographers have access to studios. And some studios have photographers.
If you don’t know any photographers I suggest googling your state and the word “photographer”. You can also search under a similar tag on Instagram. Any good photographer will be tagging themselves as #utahphotographer on Instagram. Like for example my photographer for these great images, Cecilia Harvard, she is great for getting herself out there. By doing some homework you can see the styles and edits that the photographers do and find one that fits your liking.
Another great suggestion is to ask family and friends. Almost everyone knows a good photographer and can give you great suggestions. So ask on Facebook if you’re really stumped.
Once you pick your photographer he/she will help you pick a good time to shoot during the day.
4. Picking outfits
I personally love semi coordinating outfits for photos. But this all depends on number #1, why are the photos being taken? Pinterest, Pinterest, Pinterest are my favorite places to go to look for outfit ideas! Here’s a board with some ideas to get you started. Also consider the seasons. Fall outfits are very different from beach photos.My outfit (by the way) is from an adorable shop called Salty Bae Boutique. The shoes, scarf, and amazing dress are all from them. And I’ve been wearing the scarf everyday. It is just perfect. The hat is from Cents of Style. And the bag I have on is actually a camera bag from Jototes!! I have had my photography supplies in like ten different places and  it’s so nice to have it in one place now! I even have a space for my laptop!

5. Decide if you want any creative or fun poses.
Some of these will require props that photographers don’t usually carry around. So if you’ve seen an idea make sure to bring supplies to make that happen and discuss it with your photographer so they can bring the right equipment. Also here’s some fun creative photo pose ideas , and more, and some more.
 Tips for keeping kids happy
Ok. So kids are super tricky to photograph. This can be a crucial part of picking a photographer. Regardless here’s some tips to get you on your way.
1. Mommas, have your kids full and happy when you show up to the shoot. This means set up the shoot time to have the kids there when they are usually the most pleasant. My kids are not morning kids. So I would never do a shoot in the mornging. I also wouldn’t do a shoot right after my babies nap.
2. Bring snacks. Good snacks that won’t make a mess on their clothes and won’t get them too wound up.
3. Pick a place kids can play and be free. If they are in an environment where they would naturally roam they are more likely to look happy in your photos.
4. Understand that kids can only stand for so long. Plan the shoot as short as possible.
5. Let them help plan the shoot. Maybe have a family discussion about where the photos should be. Let the kids help pick out their outfits.
6. Embrace the imperfect and real moments. Even though this photo below would have been more symmetrical if my four year old would have turned his legs, I wasn’t going to push him. Likewise goes with the photo after. But I love this is my three boys in their Star Wars Sketchers.
7. Let your children bring their favorite toy.
8. I’m gonna say, bribe! Have a reward planned for the end of the shoot that’s exciting. Often after a shoot we get pizza and my kids love it.
Some ideas of what to do with photos after
Most photo service have some really cool ideas of great photo gifts like creative Christmas cards, photo books, puzzles, and matching tiles. Minted is one of my favorite places to go to turn photos into something beautiful. That’s where we printed our Christmas cards this year. They have great designs and lots of creative ways to use your new awesome family photos.
So what have you tried that helped your family take pictures? I’d love to add them to the post! Happy photographing! And have a great rest of the week. I have one more Christmas post for you and I can’t wait to show it to you.