1-2-3 CHEESE! Family Picture Do’s and Dont’s

Are you plotting and planning outfits for family pictures as if you are launching a world war? Strategizing and having a Plan B, C, and D ready to go and waiting just in case Richmond VA weather decides the morning of your fall pictures that it’s going to be 89 degrees and sunny? Losing sleep over how to make your children match, but not be too matchy?  Wondering if your toddler will throw a temper tantrum and ruin your 2017 Holiday Card? 

If you are, you are not alone.  I will admit I started planning outfits about 3 weeks before the pictures occurred.   That alone earned me an eye roll from my husband.  I was staying up late, pacing in the closet, holding up various tops and bottoms for my 3 and 1-year-old.  Then, I had a moment.  Like WHAT THE HECK AM I DOING? Its 11pm and I am seriously losing sleep because I want our Holiday Card to be perfect.  News flash – Earth to Erin – WE ARENT PERFECT! We are SO far from perfect, it is comical.  Half the time my children don’t even have on clothes, so why in the world am I stressing about layering and color themes.  I had two 50$ Ralph Lauren button-ups in my cart for my kids before I had to have a come to Jesus moment with myself and remember they had 17 button ups already in the closet to choose from and spending that much on a shirt to get food and boogers smeared on it is the definition of INSANE.

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I am so excited to introduce my dear friend Andrea Jimenez to you all, she’s a local RVA photographer and mom of the cutest little guy, Michael.  Her and her husband John are expecting their second child in 2018.  She’s a great role model to me of how to manage being a bad ass mom boss and not sacrificing time with her growing family.  Before I share her What to Wear Guide lets learn a little more about her approach to photography:

1. What are your top 3 RVA places to take pictures of families?

•Sunday Park

•Forest Hill Park


2. What is your best trick to get little ones to cooperate during pictures?

I really love to let little be littles. With one babe it’s pretty easy because they generally like to stay close to mom and dad. However, with multiples it’s so fun because there are just so many personalities and candid shots. I think it’s so important to capture time as true as it is to your family in the moment so it’s good to have those candid to remember their sweet faces and personalities! (1 of 1)-21

I love everything about this picture, the colors, the background, the capture of a sweet moment between a mother and a son.

3. What are the best times of day to do pictures?

A good start time is usually 1.5 hours prior to sunset & of course any cloudy day!

4.  What is a funny or memorable moment that has happened while taking family pictures?

I’m not sure if I consider it funny but thinking back, I just remember the first 3 families I got to shoot with there was always some type of animal that was scary. First, we saw an 8ft snake, then on another shoot, I saw a dead goose on the side of the sidewalk (eek!).   I just remember thinking this must be a normal thing that I will have to get used to as a photographer!

She’s got some great tips to save your sanity as you are planning your family pictures that will be sure to help                                                                     

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Well, you all know I am a sucker for fat babies. My heart skipped a beat when I saw this one. The gold headbands with the sunset and this mama gazing at her sweet baby girl = HEART MELTED

Andrea’s What-to-wear guide

1. Steer clear of fluorescents – they tend to be harsh in pictures. I always recommend versions of primary colors. Red (maroon, brick), Yellow (mustard), Blue (navy, royal).

2. Stay away from greens if taking photos in a greenery setting – it will just be too much green and you want to stand out.

3. To get the flow going, start with 1 outfit you really love. I always suggest starting with mama and going off of that.

4. Wear what you feel good in! This is so important for mom and dad. If you are not comfortable in what you are wearing it will show. If you can’t find a dress you love but look great skinny jeans, go with that! Also if heels are not comfortable, there is no harm in a cute flat, boots, or sandals.

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I totally agree with this tidbit of advice. Pants are easier at this stage of life for me. I feel comfortable yet feminine!

5. LAYER, LAYER, LAYER! Layers add dimension and depth. In the summer? Wear a dress and a cute pendant necklace. In the winter? Cardigans, belts, blazers, scarves, statement necklaces.

6. Matching is out, coordinating is in! We all know your family is together, coordination color is what really brings wardrobe together. I usually pick two to three main colors and one accent pop of color. Also, mixing stripes with tweeds and plaids is okay!  We want to see your personality!       

If you don’t have anything in your closet (and I really urge you to look at what you have already to save money!) here are Andrea’s go-to spots for great outfits!

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So thankful for unstaged pictures that capture those everyday moments that mean the most; like slobbery kisses from my sweet sweet baby Gray.

1. Gap – Great place to find basics! They often have great sales and discounts going on! $$-$$$

2. Anthropologie – their clothes are a little more on the expensive side but great quality, unique, and last forever. $$$$

3. – I consider this places the holy grail for everything perfect for men, women, & children. I always find stuff we all love! $$-$$$

4. – I recently found this shop when looking for a dress I could wear while pregnant and not. Beautiful tops & dresses for women of all sizes! $-$$$

TOLD YOU she’s a genius and oh so sweet too.  And if she can capture the craziness that is the Smith Household then she’s a KEEPER.  Who better to understand the stressors of family pictures, then a fellow mama herself. If you are searching for a Metro Richmond Photographer, Andrea is your girl. After all, she was able to snag these adorable pictures amidst the tears flowing, pouting, and flat-out refusal to participate for more than half of the shoot.  

Also, a special treat for you guys – if you Follow Andrea on Instagram and like her page on Facebook and also follow my Instagram account reach out to her to schedule a session and if you mention: FITFAMILYLIFEBLOG when you do so, you will get a discount!

1-2-3 Cheese,



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  • Reply
    Korina Langlie
    October 24, 2017 at 10:49 am

    Great shots Erin! You have such a gorgeous family. We are long overdue for family pictures so I will definitely look this talented mama up.

    • Reply
      October 24, 2017 at 11:58 am

      You guys would get along great! She grew up in Walton Park too! I’m sure Viola will entertain Andrea during pictures 🙂

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