Last weekend, something happened that I never thought would happen in a million years. Our home was in the Houston Chronicle! It was such a fun experience. The author, Diane Cowen, really took the time to get to know me, Ashley, and the project and wrote a fantastic article. You can read it, here.
Early in the week, Diane reached out to see if I’d like to include a family photo in the article. I immediately thought, “of course,” but then I quickly realized I didn’t have a recent family photo. The last professional family photo we took was when the boys were younger (7&8…they’re now 8&10), which I thought might look odd. I called my friend, Traci Ling, who is an amazing photographer, and realizing it just wasn’t feasible for us to throw together a photo shoot with her in the next 24 hours, she encouraged me to do it myself!
I learned a few things along the way, so I thought I’d share my tricks on how to pull off a family photo in less than 24 hours…
- Mimic the location and pose that a professional photographer has already placed your family in for previous pictures. That way, you know it works. Plus, the lighting will typically work as it did before, but the hours right before the sunset is a good time. For instance, Christy at Candid Chic Photography took this exact same picture of us 5 years earlier. I copied it. You know what they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!
- No shoes- If you notice, the only person that has shoes on is my husband. It’s hard to find nice shoes for my boy’s when I have weeks, and it’s practically impossible given 24 hours. So, we went barefoot. Plus, I like the casual vibe it gives.
- Sit down- Fortunately, I had just purchased some nice pants for my sons, but I didn’t have time to get new dress shirts. So, they wore shirts from last year, but you can’t tell their top is short and bit tight because they’re sitting down. Sitting down helps hide a multitude of clothing fit issues. I didn’t have belts either, but who needs them when they’re sitting down?!
- Set your camera and test your lighting before all of your family comes out. My youngest didn’t mind helping me check the lighting. I had him sit and I noticed one side of his face was dark, so I moved the camera around until his whole face was lit. Then, I put my camera on two stacked kitchen stools. I set the camera to take continuous photos (10 at a time), which worked out well since our dog was moving constantly.
- To get the outfits to match, I lay them all out on the floor. I knew my boy’s outfits had to stay the same since we were limited, so I just changed my husband’s and my outfits to look good with theirs. More on this technique in this post, here.
- And the most important trick I’ve learned in the last few years- done is better than perfect!!!
I hope you all found this info helpful. Have fun with your photo if you can! I fully appreciate the professional photo and photographers, but just in case it’s not in the cards for you this year, I hope this helps.
Jennifer Mountjoy says
Great advice. You’ve encouraged me to see if I can capture a Christmas family pic after all! I love the advice about the boys sitting down. Going to the expense and trouble of getting good fitting pants for my boys for the Christmas photo is always a pain. Casual pic is a win win.
Carly Lee says
Jen, Yay! I always love your Christmas card pic, and now you have the perfect backdrop! I think my boys will forever be sitting down in pictures from here on out. Hahahaha! It’s just makes it so easy! Sending lots of love your way!
Christa Rupp says
I love this! Very timely also—I’ve been stressing over a picture for Christmas cards this year. I may try to do it myself! I wonder if it would work using a cellphone camera and timer??
Carly Lee says
Yes because I’ve done it before!! The i-phone has a little clock when you open up the camera. Click on the clock and it will give you a 3 and 10 second option. Good luck! Let me know how it goes!
It worked so well!! I would never have thought about doing it ourselves! Saved money and I think it’s even better than formal ones!
Carly Lee says
This makes me so happy to hear!! Thanks for taking the time to let me know!