While the calendar may say its Fall, the weather around here surely doesn’t feel like it. But with cooler temps on the horizon, I’m starting to pull out those booties, sweaters, puffer vests and think of our annual family photos. We take these special pictures every year, in October or November. I use these photos in our Christmas cards, to display around our home and also as a way to see how we all change and grow from year to year.
Now the actual picture-taking part can be very stressful and not all that fun – think yelling at two children to hold still, not run away and strike the perfect pose – but one part I truly enjoy is styling our family’s outfits. Admittedly it does stress me out because I will get a certain idea in my head and the perfectionist in me goes crazy but I love the process, and then admiring the outcome.
Over the years, I have found that I always start with one thing that gives me inspiration, whether that be a dress, a pair of shoes or boots, a specific color or a trend I know I want to incorporate. I stay focused on that one thing and then build each person’s outfit around that. I try to stick with a family of colors and tones or certain fabrics, again all relating back to that first piece. I don’t like matching but rather coordinating and mixing prints, patterns and accessories to get the perfect shot. Here’s a look back at my family photos from the past few years and the inspiration behind the styling.
November 2017 – velvet & polka dots
Lyla saw this gold velvet dress at Target and fell in love. I saw it and knew this was the piece I would frame everything around for our 2017 pictures. I kept the velvet theme going in each of our outfits – Sophie’s bow and shoes, both maroon velvet, Lyla’s black velvet stacked-heel booties (an absolutely adorable find at Marshalls, they are Cynthia Rowley), and also my brown velvet over-the-knee boots. I used my plaid peplum style shirt (another great Marshalls find), and Sophie’s patterned skirt (Target!) to weave in the gold tones from Lyla’s dress. Finally both girls wore polka dots, Lyla on her tights and Sophie on her knee-high socks. The polka dots added a fun touch and also mixed patterns when paired with the plaid. I had to keep my husband’s shirt pretty simple since us girls had a lot going on. The rich gold, and warm brown, plus the pops of maroon tones blended in with the fall foliage at one of our favorite wineries.
November 2016 – fringe & fur
The source of inspiration this year was a pair of Minnetonka boots. I got these boots for Lyla and have been dying to put them on Sophie since she was born. This is the year the boots finally fit her so our outfits revolved around this beloved pair of suede, fringe boots. The next piece was Lyla’s dress (funny, that happened the next year too!). And it was another amazing find from Target! The maroon lace and high/low hem made this dress just adorable. I actually had this off-white lace dress in my closet already however I knew I didn’t want Sophie to be in lace as well. I really don’t like us all to match so I found her plain maroon dress at Old Navy. I loved that it had a tulle skirt to mix in another dimension of fabric. Lyla picked out her headband (of course from Target) and while initially, I did not think it would work, once her entire outfit was on, I loved it. We finished her look with brown booties from, where else, Target! My dress felt a little plain on its own so I added a fur vest because, you can’t go wrong with faux fur!
December 2015 – miss December
My sweet little Sophie was born on December 23rd, she is our Christmas baby! I saw this dress on Instagram and it became the inspiration. We had never done a Christmas-themed shoot before so I thought it would be a fun change. There is a great tree set-up in our downtown area, it was the perfect backdrop.
Since Sophie’s dress was black and red, that immediately became the color scheme. Lyla’s dress was actually a consignment store find, can you believe that? I will bring the girls old clothes to our local store from time to time and always browse when I am there. Sometimes I will find brand new clothes, from top name brands, WITH the tags still attached! It’s a great store and if you take the time to look, you can find some amazing stuff.
The girls bows had gold polka dots that coordinated with the gold bows on Sophie’s tights, they are hard to see but there, and my earrings. I kept my outfit more simple with a plain, white blouse and black pants. I had the great idea to wrap presents and have the girls hold them but I wasn’t 100% pleased with how they looked in the photos. We tried to get Sophie to put the gift down for some of the pictures but wouldn’t let go!
November 2014 – leather & denim with pops of red
This year I knew I wanted to incorporate leather and denim. I already had the denim shirts for myself and Lyla so I got Sophie a tunic length one that she wore as a dress. I found the faux-leather skirt at Nordstrom Rack. I added in pops of red via Sophie’s headband and my lips. I loved the mixing of patterns and fabrics this year. My polka dot sweater and Sophie’s polka dot tights, suede fringe Minnetonka’s (I do love those shoes!), my hubby’s plaid shirt, Lyla’s fur vest and jeweled headband, I could go on and on. I really, really loved the outfits from this year. Photos taken again at Concannon Vineyards!
Now I know this post is a little lengthy but this is a topic I really do love, dressing my family for photos! We are in the process of choosing a location for this year’s photos (we may do something different than in the past) but you can bet I’m already dreaming of a theme and looking around for inspiration. We may go more casual than in the past or change it up and do it a bit more dressy. I’ll make sure to share the finished product when we figure it out 🙂