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dad got home at about 4:50, walked across the threshold, kissed his family, and went upstairs to change into the shirt mom had laid out on the bed for him. everyone else was ready. mom had a few “props” (balloons and lollipops, which by the way is such an awesome idea to incorporate something into your shoot, something little, playful, and colorful. consider it; a suitcase, an old fashioned bike, etc. it can add a lot to a photograph) she pulled out the front door with the kids. i showed up right about this time; was beyond thrilled with what was before me. while dad was freshening up (do men do that?) i started shooting the kids, singles and together, mellow, easy, no stress. totally chill. dad joined us and we did all the family shots together, a few standing, a couple sitting, a few with the kids by dad, a few with the kids by mom, and that was it. family pictures 2009 in 30 minutes. it really can be, that easy.

family pictures can be a stressful, but they don’t have to be. i think we worry about how we will look, if the kids are staying pressed and clean, if they are smiling and looking at the camera, if, for the ladies, our make up and lipstick stays looking freshly applied, the list is endless. i know. i have been there. it has taken some time for me to realize that family pictures, really can be, well, effortless. no kidding. it just takes a touch of planning.

the two questions that are usually asked are, “what should we wear?” and “where shall we go?” allow me to elucidate with some visuals of what to wear and where to go, to make family pictures easy, mellow, and a great experience.

dad came home, changed shirts, and walked back outside to the street, where they live. GREAT CHOICE!! no travel, no shifting of kids, no accidential spills trying to appease the children while driving. and what a neat memory to make, this is our home, our neighborhood, and the place we woke every morning, and came back to every evening. at this time in our life, this was the place we built our family. you walk outside for the shoot and then walk right back in after. don’t get me wrong, i love location shoots, but if you are wanting to simplify photo season do something close to home, really close to home. try your porch, or stoop, sidewalk, or street.


if you do choose to head to a special place consider locations where you can interact with eachother. family pictures are so interesting when the family is engaged in something. the smiles and laughs are so genuine. those are the memories you want to immortalize, those are the times you want to remember forever. something i really enjoy about family portraits is when the family doesn’t pay attention to me, but each other. this family is the perfect example, they never, in fact looked at me, unless i asked them too.

note to the parents: this will take away so much stress!! don’t spend any time at a shoot telling your kids to look at the camera. especially during family shots. the majority of the frames capture your lips in funny contortions of the words, “loooook atttt , theeee, camerrraaaa.” or your fingers pointing at the photographer, trying to get your kids to look at the stranger with a hug black apparatus in front of her face. both of you should either look at each other or your kids or the photographer. don’t worry if every little face isn’t on camera; if the photographer wants everyone to look she will do what she needs to to get everyone to look. just be present and enjoy the moment of making framable memories. plus, the less you stress about your kids smiling and looking where they need to the less you will sweat and the more preserved your make-up will remain. 😉

loved these:



i love it when my shoots bring multiple changes of clothes. it adds variety and most times the colors or the styles will inspire something different. and it’s cool because if you can’t decide on what to wear then you get to wear two choices. 

this is the key with wardrobe: color!! choose to wear color! it photographs so well and translates so much about a family, couple, individual, etc.!!

jeans are always a great base for the bottom, or cords, but on top choose bright, vibrant, colors. if that isn’t your style then go muted, but don’t go all the same! choose colors and patterns that are relatable and interesting. the palate should be visible, but there is no reason that the color should be boring!! no way, even if the colors aren’t eye-popping!!

i loved the pop of color coleen started with, and how she used the balloons to help tie it all together and the rad splash of lollipop contribution color too:


just let your kids be. if this is their “smile” right now then remember it that way. no stress. 



i loved how coleen wasn’t really bothered that ani was destroying her darling yellow dress or herself for that matter. she had a spare in the wings, and wippies in hand. the memory here was way more priceless than the stress of keeping everything pristine.

simple wardrobe that flows together, a little blue, some gray, a rad pop of yellow. not all matchy matchy, but cohesive!! it totally works!

a few solos of the kiddos:

blues photograph so well and help complement eyes.



i shot several of the baby since our schedules didn’t work for a newborn shoot; she isn’t such a newborn anymore.

the yellow is perfect and i loved it juxtaposed with the green:




sometimes headbands and accessories, although i love them, can be too much. if you choose to use them for your little girls, be subtle.

i adored this feminine touch and felt because the dress was plain it was the perfect enhancement:


her family has a song they sing to her. it’s adorable. she clapped along; that’s a memory they will want forever. and we captured it on the sidewalk outside their home. piece of cake. 


consider the entire composition: color, texture, pattern. pants, dresses, sandals. it flows and totally, completely, without question works, on so many levels!!


take risks with the wardrobe. wear something you are comfortable in and feel flatters you and your personal/familial style! go bold and make a statement.

this image just made me smile. i love how expressive it was of all the personalities. 


coleen, jared, jadyn, alex, and ani, may your wardrobes always brim with “what to wear”! may your time together always be mellow and focused on each other. thank you for the opportunity to photograph such a “grounded” family!! love you all, kj


a short review:

what to do.

be present and the moment.


break some rules if you have too. don’t worry about wardrobe, hair or makeup. make a memory.


let your kids do what they want to do.

i captured this as he was squirming out of his dad’s arms,


and this when she decided to rest, on the pavement.


let them play:


kiss each other:


kiss and hug each other:



make memories looking at each other, not necessarily at the camera:


enjoy existing:


what to wear:



don’t be afraid to mix patterns; dots and plaid really can go together. (i included three of these because when i was looking for them they reminded me of how much i loved the shoot.) may the pictorial hyperbole stress that patterns can mesh.




match, but don’t be too matchy matchy. the color palette here is outstanding. i loved the major theme with the blue and brown, but the different patterns, mixtures, and pops of colors is rad!!


pops of color are so interesting and exciting to see. laura’s sweater coupled with david’s solid and print tie was genius.


and the bright, crazy print of her dress flowed perfectly complementing the whole ensemble making it super interesting:


wear what you are in to. if your kids want to wear graphic tees, then make it work. remember that pictures don’t have to be a battle. once again, a super cohesive wardrobe choice that works.


it really works when someone wears a solid and someone else wears a pattern that incorporates the solid. and it super, ultra works when both are great colors.


texture, stripes, rad pattern with bright color all in the same palette= sheer awesomeness.


be thematic; it’s fun and super distinctive and original. 



have a piece that ties it all together. it is tricky to see here, but elle’s dress ties in the blue and the pink scott and meg were wearing. it also inspired me to put them by more color…


bottom line: be you! go to the place you feel is the best reflection of what you are shooting(family, engagement, maternity, etc.), and wear what you feel is the best illustration of who you are at this time.

our choice of wardrobe was made easy by our location. we knew we wanted to shoot by the awesome wall jaren recently built in jessica and jeff’s home, and also in their yellow bedroom. there were a lot of choices in terms of color, but i decided to stick with the yellow and black scheme. patterns, solids, stripes, plaids, we had it all, and i loved how they turned out!!



don’t allow the anxieties of wardrobe or the precarious personalities of children(or adults) deter  you from making lasting memories!!

speaking of…we are headed to arizona to make some with our family. i am also doing some shooting that i am so excited about. i’ll be home soon with more updates from my cravings shoot, our romp in the pumpkin patch,my most recent session with tricia, rudy, and their puppies, and my az shoots and adventures.

until then…make your memories, whatever they may be, colorful!!