Our favorite part of the holiday season is seeing a family photo come to life through stunning style, perfect lighting and a well designed card. This year we announced our Paperista Holiday custom line and couldn’t be more pleased with the hustle and bustle it has brought to our shop this Fall. We work extremely hard at designing you a holiday card that tells the unique story of your family and strongly believe that using a photo that captures this is the cherry on top. Morgan Neisinger, a Minneapolis based photographer, does just this by using natural lighting to create moments that are personal and special to each family. We were excited to interview her, learn a few secrets behind her success and now share with you her tips on capturing a fantastic family photo!
“Picking out outfits for your entire family is a daunting task. Every mom that I work with expresses their worry about not being able to find something for everyone to wear! I always tell my clients that the less they worry about it, the better it will all come together. I suggest picking a color story that you want to use; for example: navy, maroon, teal, and cream. Then feel free to get creative within that color story–mix patterns, layer, use different styles of clothing, etc. The key is to coordinate, not match! A lot of times stores like Gap and JCrew will have clothing collections where there are numerous pieces and outfits all within the same color scheme–this is a great place to start! I think it’s also important to consider where you will potentially be hanging your photos in your home and most importantly, your personal style. Your pictures are a reflection of who you are and you should have your outfits reflect just that; stick to classic styles that are you and stay away from really trendy pieces that will leave you asking yourself “what was I thinking?!” 10 years down the road! ”
I like to set families up in a relaxed pose that feels natural to them. I tell kids to just relax on mom and dad as if they were cuddling on the couch so that they are as comfortable as possible. Poses are more or less just suggestions though and I love when families make them their own. People aren’t statues and I don’t expect them to be either! I find that the really candid moments come as “moments in-between” and when families play and laugh together. Children are way more likely to give you their natural, laughing smile when they feel relaxed and really comfortable with you! I also always grab a few shots on the creative side showcasing outfits, hair, and accessories to compliment the group shots. I love to have families sitting down on a blanket! This is way more causal and less formal than a standing pose and I always love the results I get! Plus, the blanket added some texture and color to the photo. I also love to have families walk together. They seem to forget they are being photographed, which leads to some of the best candid, natural images. The biggest secret to getting kids to cooperate is simply to make it fun for them! Parents can start this process at home by not stressing over pictures and pressuring the child to be on their best behavior. Children love to just play with their mom and dad, so sell the session as a time for you all to hang out and have fun! At the session, I always talk to the kids right away down at their level. I ask about what grade their in, what shows or books they like, what they like to play, etc. The more comfortable they can get with me, the better! For family portraits, I bring small (non-messy) candies as a reward for good behavior and smiles! I also recommend that the parents offer a reward for after the session as well. When it’s time for me to get individual shots of kids, I take them somewhere away from where mom and dad and siblings are to avoid distractions and pressure they might feel from their parents. I let them do a few silly faces first, which almost always ends with them laughing, and thus, the most adorable natural smiles! Children like compliments too–it’s always nice to keep telling them how good they are being and how awesome they are! I think the best choice for a holiday card is one that you feel best reflects your family! It’s easy to get caught up in wanting to use the perfect photo, but sometimes that’s not always the best choice! It’s always a cool option to choose a card that allows for more than one photo, especially if you have little kids–your family and friends love to see a close up of each child!