Drop the excuses! We want more moms to get in front of the camera! We’re sharing 3 low cost or free ways to get fabulous family photos taken! Trust us! You’ll love these family photo ideas!
I love looking at pictures of my family, reminiscing about when my kids were little, marvelling about where time has gone and thinking about all those memories that a snapshot can pull up in my mind. What I don’t love as much is looking at myself in photos. I’ve talked in the past about some of my body image issues and as hard as I am working on it, and as far as I have come, I still find my eyes immediately being drawn to my chin, tummy, legs and other problem areas when I see a photo of myself. It’s something that I’m trying very hard to get over. I know that when I look at the family photos of friends I never notice a double chin or a bit of muffin top– instead I notice the smile that lights up their faces, the love in their eyes, and how amazing it is to see their whole family together. I have made it a priority to get in more photos, have family photos taken and to get over myself.
I’m sharing this because I know that I’m not alone in these feelings. My mom doesn’t love being in front of the camera either and when I flip back through my childhood photo albums I see very few pictures of her. I’ve also had multiple discussions with girlfriends where they tell me that they hate a photo and I say to them “I just wish you could see how beautiful you are!” Yet I know that if they said the same thing to me I wouldn’t believe it. I joke with my friends and family that the only type of photo I like of myself are selfies. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been taking a family photo selfie, have had a passerby walk by and offer to take a family photo for us, and I turn them down because I won’t be able to pose my face “just so”.
To all of those people out there who are shying away from being in family photos, I want to lovingly tell you– “Please get over it.” I really don’t mean that to be harsh, but your friends, family and loved ones want to see photos of you! When your kids grow up and look back at their childhood photos, they are going to feel sad when they notice your absence in the photos. 99% of the people who see your photos aren’t going to be noticing the things that you are hyper focusing on (and that 1% who might be… well forget them! They are probably miserable people and who needs them.) 99% of the people viewing your photos are going to be noticing all of the good things about you– your eyes, smile and a whole lot of love.
Step 1 of “getting over it” is to do just that– Get over it! Start having those family photos taken! I successfully completed that step a few years ago and have continued on with it until this day. I may not release every picture taken of me out there into the world, but I’m having pictures taken.
Step 2 of “getting over it” is something that I’m still working through– It’s loving yourself just the way you are– squishy bits and all. If you are on that path right now I highly suggest the book Body Positive Power by Megan Jayne Crabbe. I’m currently working my way through this book. I’m having to stop a lot because I keep crying because everything hits so close to home, but trust me. It’s a good one.
Today I want to focus mostly on Step 1 and getting those family photos taken. Hiring a professional photographer to do a big family photo shoot can be expensive. So I want to give you 3 creative low cost or no cost ways to get fabulous family photos taken so that you don’t have any excuse not to take them. Ready? Let’s get started.
3 Creative Free & Low Cost Ways To Get Fabulous Family Photos Taken
Family Photo Suggestion Way 1- Trade photography services with a friend- Free!
Meet my beautiful friend Steph! She owns the website Garden Therapy, is a wife, mother, insanely smart business woman and a wonderful friend. She recently asked me if I’d be open to swapping photo shoots with her. She asked if I would come and take photos of her in her garden and in exchange she’d take some family photos of us. Brilliant! I went to her home and spent a lovely morning in her garden taking photos of her.
Perks of swapping photo services with a friend:
- You and your kids are more likely to feel comfortable with a friend than with a photographer you don’t know.
- Your friends tell you like it is. You can let a friend know your sensitive parts before a photo shoot (let’s say a double chin for example) and they can keep it in mind while shooting and help you pose in ways where it won’t be showing.
- There is less feelings of pressure when photographing with a friend– if your kids are acting up, if you end up with a really bad breakout, if life just isn’t cooperating it’s easier to call it quits with a friend and reschedule for another day than it is with a professional photographer.
-Schedule your photo shoot and your friends photo shoots on different days. Just have the “photographer” there with the family getting photographed on photo day instead of the whole family. This will give more of a “closed set” kind of feel to your shoot. Having less people there will make it feel more intimate, less intimidating and not having the extra kids underfoot will be less of a distraction.
Family Photo Suggestion Way 2- Find photographers in your area that offer “mini sessions”- Low Cost
Mini sessions are pretty much my favorite thing ever. They make it super affordable to get photos taken once (or multiple times) a year. This is the way it usually works– A photographer picks a location and books multiple families to get photos taken that day. The photo sessions are quick– usually 15-30 minutes. Usually the photographer provides you with a set amount of images that they select as “your best” which they provide to you in high definition files that you can have printed yourself. Since the photographer is usually shooting multiple families in one day and the session is a lot shorter than a normal photography session you end up paying a fraction of the price of a full photo shoot. We’ve been having mini photo sessions done with IXL photography for the past 3 years and my family feels so comfortable in front of her camera.
Perks of booking a mini session with a photographer:
- You get professionally shot family photos at a greatly reduced rate.
- In most cases the photographer will be in one place all day so they will be all set up already when you get there. They’ll have scouted out the best locations, know what the lighting is like, and you’ll be able to avoid some of the “setup” things that you may experience with a longer photo shoot. We’ve had mini sessions inside with a set (see below) and outside (see above).
- It’s easier to keep a child’s attention for a smaller photo shoot like this than a long one.
- If you find a photographer you love you can stay updated on mini sessions, choose different seasons and holidays for your photos and you and your family will get to know them and feel super comfortable.
- With a professional you are pretty much guaranteed to get some great shots!
-Follow your photographer on social media to keep up to date on when mini sessions are being offered. Check out their style and come prepared with ideas of poses that you might like to do as well as pairings (individual photos, sibling photos, couple photos, etc.) but also be prepared to just go with the flow and see what fun things happen!
The above 3 photos as well as the photos in the collage at the top of the page were all taken by IXL photography.
Family Photo Suggestion Way 3- Get dressed up and take the photos yourself- No Cost
Remember when I said that selfies are my very favorite kind of photo of myself? It’s true! I feel so much more comfortable when I can see what I look like as the photo is being taken. If that describes you too, and this is what it takes to get you in front of the camera then do it! Find a gorgeous location, bring your camera or iphone, get dressed up and take some photos! Take the photos yourself, have the kids and/or your partner take some photos, bring a tripod and use a camera timer and have fun taking pictures in a zero pressure environment. We took the photos in this section immediately following our photo session with IXL photography. We loved the location and we were all dressed up so we figured “Why Not!” I love some of the pictures that we ended up with!
I also love these photo shoots for special occasions like Mother’s Day. Get dressed up and have your partner take photos of you with your kids. It will be the best Mother’s Day present ever!
Perks of taking the family photos yourself:
- No cost and no pressure!
- You can see the photos as you are taking them so it might make you more comfortable if you are shy in front of the camera
- If the photo shoot is a bust it’s easy to try again another day.
- This might be the easiest way to get the most natural expressions from your kids since they are going to be most comfortable around you.
- You can be as silly as you want because you don’t need to worry about wasting anyone’s time!
-Scout out your location and make note of busy times and slower times. Try to go early in the morning, before sunset, or during a time of the day when your location has good shade. You’ll get much better photos if you aren’t in direct sunlight.
Those are my low cost and no cost ways to get fabulous family photos taken! I’d love to hear if you have anything to add! I hope that they help you get some family photos taken and get you mamas in front of the cameras! Your future self will thank you for it!