Viewing entries tagged
family portraits

Before and After | A little BTS editing for you!


Before and After | A little BTS editing for you!

I'm a huge HUGE fan of before and afters; I grew up in the eighties when a make-over montage was a critical part of every movie. When I started photography, I worked in darkrooms and lived and breathed Ansel Adam's system of burning and dodging ( the Zone system, check it out!).


I decided it would be fun to share some before and afters of my own work here on the blog once a week. 

SOOC - ‘the clean straight out of camera shot’
Post edit - adjusted for color and tone, cropped for emphasis, and straightened. Slight exposure adjustments, some very slight skin editing


What to Wear| Part 2


What to Wear| Part 2

Without a doubt, one of the biggest anxiety producers around family portraits is WHAT DO WE WEAR??!?  

Here's a few rules of thumb:



Not all fabrics are created equal. Jersey knit is NOT your friend for a family portrait session. I'm sorry, I love knit too, but it's NOT going to look timeless. Instead you want to focus on fabrics and garments that have lots of texture.

Lace, ribbing, ruching, tulle, embroidery.

In larger groups, the more texture the better, BUT make sure the color palette is pretty simple. Above is a great example of attention to texture while keeping the colors to a minimum. This lets us focus on the people but also gives the entire image more interest and that coveted 'timeless' feel. 


Shoes can make or break this thing, it's so important to pay attention to footwear! Avoid sneakers at nearly all costs, as well as anything with cartoon characters or lights.  Make sure to try on the shoes before the actual session, the worst case scenario is they don't fit your kiddo and they cry and refuse to wear them....  

Pick shoes that accentuate the quirkiest part of your outfits, fit great and make you feel like a million bucks.


Keep your colors palette to about 3-4 major colors, that INCLUDES neutrals. This gives your images a sense of cohesion and intention. Don't be afraid to choose bold and bright colors or patterned garments in your color scheme!!

Remember it’s 1-2 colors with textures OR 3-4 colors with patterns.


As you plan the final set of outfits, make sure each outfit is something you would wear in another situation. Ideally, your outfit would be great for a baby shower, wedding guest or other semi dressy event.  You want to look put together and comfortable; not so comfortable it looks like you stopped by the session on your way to beers with the guys! 

Pro Tip- Make sure you’ve worn your outfit at least once so you know exactly how it fits and feels as you move around in it.


Mona & Co. |  An Extended Family Portrait


Mona & Co. | An Extended Family Portrait






Normally, I try to keep the number of extended family sessions I do to an absolute minimum. They tend to be very difficult to coordinate, lots of stress for Grandma ( who is nearly always the one who has hired me) and full of crying babies. 



I have to say, this session has made me rethink my policy. Mona came to me after seeing the portraits I've been making of her grand daughter, Ruby, and I agreed to help plan and execute a family portrait with a 'timeless' quality.  




We spent weeks planning clothing ( another blog post altogether!!), location, and logistics. I spent the same time also wracking my brain for a way to make these images that was more intense and exciting than the standard white polos and jeans party.  

Day of, we had 5 kids and 5 adults and RAIN. I was so worried but miraculously, the rain cleared about 10 minutes before our session and the clouds gave us a wonderful dramatic effect.  We got all our formal set ups done and in between, I spent time trying to really capture the connections and personalities of each family member.