Oh Joy

how to make your family photos feel like you...
21 Nov 2017

How to make your family photos feel like you / Oh Joy!

I love family holiday cards. I love that it's the one time of the year that we focus on getting a professional photo of our little family, get dressed up, and make it a special day for all of us. Since I know how stressful it can be to plan for holiday photos, for the past few years I've partnered with Artifact Uprising to share some tips that I hope are helpful for you...like How to Choose an Outfit and How to Choose a Location for family photos.

This year, more than ever, I wanted my holiday card to feel like a reflection of us. We had ups and downs with my husband's health and became a stronger family because of it. My husband and I really made a bigger effort to focus on family and make time for our kids even with our crazy work schedules. And we're ending the year on a sweet note, for sure, with everyone in good health and good spirits! So, where better to go capture those memories to reflect on our year than in Downtown Los Angeles and at the Museum of Ice Cream!

Here are my five tips for getting your holiday family photos to feel like you...

Oh Joy Family Photos by Morgan Pansing

How to make your family photos feel like you / Oh Joy!

Card: Hand Lettered Merry Little Everything

1. Choose a location that has special meaning to you. We didn't get to go on any long or lavish vacations this year, but we did a ton of cultural activities around Los Angeles, took day trips, and really tried to make the most of our city so our kids could discover it in the process. One of our favorite things to do is to take our kids to see museums, exhibits, and pop-up events...things that are fun for all of us! So we went to Downtown Los Angeles and to the Museum of Ice Cream. Sure, it was one of Instagram's favorite spots, too, but for us, it symbolized ending our year on a sweet note with everyone in good health and good spirits!

Oh Joy Family Photos by Morgan Pansing

Oh Joy Family Photos by Morgan Pansing

2. Allow your kids to play. Sometimes family photos can feel so posed, and I wanted it to feel more relaxed. There's nothing kids hate more than having to stand and pose for a picture (or many, many pictures) for extended periods of time. And the key to that was getting the kids in a place that they would really have fun and just be themselves. If there is some adventuring to be had wherever you take your photos, it allows for there to be more down time for them, too, which always makes for more genuine pictures.

Oh Joy Family Photos by Morgan Pansing

How to make your family photos feel like you / Oh Joy!

Card: Foil Stamped Merry Christmas Card (Modern)

3. Put them in comfortable clothes, and have back-up options. While you might want to pick the most perfect outfit, make sure to have them try the clothes on in advance or have a couple options ready for kids. The morning of our shoot, the dress I had planned for Ruby was too itchy for her, so we had to do a last minute swap so that she would feel comfortable.

Oh Joy Family Photos by Morgan Pansing

How to make your family photos feel like you / Oh Joy!

Card: Foil-Stamped Merry

4. Parents look at the camera (and at each other). Sometimes during family photos, we spend so much time worrying about what our kids are doing and whether they are smiling or looking at the camera. But it's important to make a connection with your photographer's lens as well as looking at your partner from time-to-time. Don't worry about every move your kids are making. If you have a great photographer, they will make sure your kids are looking and feeling happy.

Oh Joy Family Photos by Morgan Pansing

Oh Joy Family Photos by Morgan Pansing

How to make your family photos feel like you / Oh Joy!

Card: Modern Grid Holiday

5. Save the extras for family photo gifts. If you have a good session, it can be hard to narrow it down to one photo—especially if your kids have some photos of their own that are simply frame-worthy. So, if you can't choose just one, pick a handful that feel like a cohesive story for a grid-style card. Then, have the extras printed to frame in your own home or to send as gifts to family. I like to send an updated photo of our kids to our parents every year which they love.

How to make your family photos feel like you / Oh Joy!

Card: Foil Stamped Happy Holidays

But more than anything else - have fun! Remember the magic of the holidays that can so easily be forgotten in the long to-do lists and the pressure to make everything just right.  You're with your family, and you're at a meaningful and fun place together...so they will be exactly as they are meant to be!

P.S. Artifact Uprising is offering a special code for 20% off their Holiday Photo Cards for Oh Joy readers. Simply enter JOY20 at checkout by November 29. 

*This post is brought to you in collaboration with Artifact Uprising—a brand I've used and loved for years. All words are my own. 

{Our family photos by the amazing Morgan Pansing. Prop photos by Oh Joy, styling by Julia Wester, styling assistance by Jess Hong}



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