Pro Tip: Family Holiday Photos

Candy Shop Holiday Card

When I look back on the holidays of my childhood, I have the fondest memories of our annual family photo shoots. Each year our mama would dress us in perfectly coordinating outfits- matching denims, white button downs, the occasional mixed print- and take us to our local park for our annual day of modeling. The fruits of these labors proudly displayed in our parents' homes- chambray-clad kiddos with goofy adolescent smiles. Some years were more awkward than others- in the most wonderful way possible- and I've always adored remembering different stages of our lives through those images.

I always looked forward to celebrating my future family with this same tradition one day. So when we met our baby girl last summer, I immediately began planning our first shoot {here}. And over the weekend we had the joy of continuing this tradition, taking our 2016 family holiday photos- at that same park where so many of my childhood holiday portraits were taken.  

And while few things can induce anxiety in the same way family portraits can- our second year of pics went just as smoothly as the first- with the help of our local Candy Shop Photography. I found Candy Shop last year through a friend, and after perusing their adorable website {here} immediately signed up for a mini session- they offer 15 or 30 minute packages, perfect for busy mamas, itty-bitty babies and kiddos on-the-go. We fell so in love with our photographer, Taylor, and the prints were incredible; so when it came time to book this year's shoot, it was a no-brainer. Our shoot was stress-free, laid-back, and Maddie had a blast.  

 Before our session I had the pleasure of gathering a few tips from Candy Shop owner and family pic-guru Charisse Czaja; learning just what it takes to get that perfect family portrait for the holidays.


Here are 5 tips to get the most out of your family photo shoot:



Ok, not Seymour. Unless that's your name, and your kids are asking! The pros recommend feeding those minis before a photo shoot. Because, let's face it, we're all a bit more cooperative on a full belly. And even though our mini session was super quick- just 30 minutes- it's still enough time to get a little cranky on an empty stomach. So plan a meal or snack time before pics- but no sugar, please! Because, well, you moms get the joke.


If you're planning on afternoon pics, plan on an easy, low-key day beforehand. Make sure to get some rest and relaxation; that goes for you too, moms and dads. Stressed parents can lead to some stressed-out minis, and that does not a pretty picture make. Literally. 


We all know no white on the bottom after Labor Day, although I play a little fast and loose with this rule myself. But for your family photo shoot? The pros say stay away from white up top, suggesting instead to lean towards pops of color. Because I was going for a more romantic look, I chose creams and beige for myself and mini, and Navy and plaid for the hubby. But if you're looking for a more bold look, stick with jewel tones like navy and red. Prints and plaids are always a good idea for the holidays, but make sure to choose ones that compliment rather than match. Feeling daring? I like to mix plaids with a stripe or checkered print or adding a print somewhere unexpected, like on boots or a scarf.


When choosing a photographer do a little research- scope out their website and feel out their child-friendliness. I immediately felt comfortable with Candy Shop Photography after perusing their site- filled with pictures of smiling faces of kiddos at different milestones and events. And my instincts were only confirmed when meeting our photographer, Taylor. She's upbeat, enthusiastic, and her love for the littles is infectious. Make sure to find a photog you, and especially your littles, gel with. Kids will be kids, so find one that can go with the flow and can take photos between wiping runny noses or an impromptu diaper change with a smile.

Maddie Mae hanging with her new photographer  friends.

Maddie Mae hanging with her new photographer  friends.


Yes, I'm a planner. And I'm also a holiday-aholic. Meaning that I start researching holiday card designs well before its socially acceptable. So while I take it to the embarrassing extreme, its always good to put in a little bit of planning before picture day. Brainstorm locations- is there a local beach, park or playground that the kiddos enjoy and it easy on the eyes? Research Pinterest for outfit inspiration; peruse your wardrobe; pull potential looks and lay out outfits to see if everyone's looks compliment each other. And shop potential holiday card designs to inform your outfit choices- will you card be glitzy with glitter? A neutral canvas? Cheery and bright? Pick your favorites and brainstorm what outfits would look best in that design. And when in doubt, have a backup- you can always return an unworn outfit, or make a last minute costume change. 

Friends in the Connecticut area: Theres still time for a fun family shoot this holiday season! Book your holiday photo session {here} with Candy Shop Photography.