Scheduling a photographer to take pictures of your family is the easy part. Next comes two big challenges: Figuring out what to wear and how to keep everyone happy during the scheduled shoot. To help offer advice, we turned to professional photographer and stylist, Laura Hamilton of LuLuJane Photos.


Great tips from Laura Hamilton


Tips for Dressing Your Family


  • Wear bold colors with a lot of texture to show off your personality
  • Barefooted kids are cute. Adults are not.
  • Good textures to include are: knits, embroidery, dark or faded denim, buttons and ruffles
  • Don’t put kids in the same colors or matching outfits
  • Choose colors that compliment
  • Bright or deep colors look best
  • This seasons colors are mustard yellow, deep purple, turquoise and dark pink
  • Stay away from pastels
  • Choose colors that coordinate well
  • Dark jeans with a little grit are a great choice for parents
  • Stay away from small prints. Bigger prints stand out better
  • Bring extra clothes for each member to the photo session


Tips During a Photography Session

Holiday photo shoots aren’t easy. But they can be fun, if your prepared. Here are some tips from Stephanie and Laura, two professional photographers with years of experience making people smile.

When should you schedule your photo shoot?

Schedule a shoot during mid morning between 8 and 11 o’clock or in the early afternoon hours between 4:00 and 7 PM. Shooting in the middle of the day provides the harshest light and can lead to squinty eyes! Also, the hour before sunset is often referred to as “The Golden Hour” because the light is perfect. Check your local paper to find when the sun will set.

Where are some great places to take photos inside? What about outside?

Searching for places to shoot indoors isn’t easy. Here are a few suggestions: Green houses, antique stores, in front of bay windows or near natural light. Outdoors is a lot easier because you don’t have lighting issues. Some great places to shoot include: the playground, battle fields, junk yards, college campuses and in the middle of a pile of leaves.

What are some good ways to keep kids happy and engaged during a photo session?

To keep kids happy during a photo session, bring snacks, plenty of drinks and make the event fun. Tell “Knock-Knock” jokes, make funny noises and yell words like: “Boogers!” Or ask them to if they worms. Be silly. Have fun. Another way to get a great smile, is to have the kids sing the alphabet. When they get to the letter “G” take the shot. The sound “G” makes requires a nice smile. Keep the photo session moving. And take breaks if the kids require it. A photo session with kids shouldn’t last longer than hour.

Can you provide some examples of how you’ve included a family pet in the picture? 

Stephanie: “I like to make the pet the focal point of the shot and then have the family play off him/her. Expressions and gestures work great here. And it can really loosen up the shoot.”

Laura: “I once took a picture of a dog in a baby stroller. It turned out great!”

If people want to take their own holiday shots, can you provide some easy tips?

  • Take as many pictures as possible.
  • Kill the flash. No one likes a flash in their face. Use natural light instead.
  • Change your angles. Take pictures from above, below and to the side. Switch it up.
  • Pick a great backdrop for your photos.
  • You don’t have to center your shot. Sometimes the best pictures have the subject to the left of the image.
  • Clear the clutter from your shot. Remove stuff in the picture that distracts from your family.

Did we miss a tip? Leave one in the comments below!


Looking for more photography tips? Join in on the 2013 52 Week Photography Project!