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Family Portraits on a Budget

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The end of October brings the beginning of the busy holiday season, and with that, Christmas cards. Not only can the cards (and postage) themselves be a substantial chunk of the budget, but getting good, high quality pictures taken by someone who can work well with families or kids isn't cheap. Plus, you have to have something the whole family can wear that coordinates well and looks great in a photograph.

As a mom, I know that I stress a lot about what my family is going to wear for the big, annual, end-of-the-year photo shoot. And if I think that I have to go buy everyone a new outfit for it, I stress even more.

So, here are some budget-friendly tips for fall portrait sessions:

Last year, during our fall family portraits, and I had the photographer take a few of the kids in their Halloween costumes. They turned out fantastic, and if we hadn't had one with our whole family in regular clothes, we easily could've used a costume picture for a unique and adorable card. Did you get a good one with your kids in their costumes this year? Use it!

If you don't have it in the budget to hire a photographer, find a friend with a camera or use your timer and take one yourself. Or, use one that you've taken in the fall. Pumpkin patches are great places to take a photo, because of the vibrant colors and happy atmosphere.

Don't worry about matching outfits, and don't worry about being "fancy". Pictures of your family all dressed up can look very nice, but in my experience, it makes everyone uncomfortable. Instead, find a color combination that you like and let everyone pick out an outfit that they like. Prints, solids, or a combination of both can look fantastic. Try pink, gray and navy, brown, orange, and green, or a classic black and white with one other color thrown in as an accent.

You probably have the right clothes in your closets already.  If you feel like you need to shop for some (or all) of the clothes, try a discount store or consignment shop with gently-used items, and make sure you get things that everyone can keep wearing. Like serving as a bridesmaid in a wedding....isn't it so much better when you can wear the dress again?

What are your favorite family portrait tips?

by on Oct. 31, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Replies (21-30):
by on Nov. 6, 2012 at 9:30 AM

We also always purchase the CD with the printing rights to the images- then order them from Shutterfly- much cheaper then getting the prints from the photo place.  And I love having all the images digitally so I can place them in our digital scrapbooks that I make.  

by New Member on Nov. 6, 2012 at 10:32 AM

I try to take pictures of DS at pumpkin patches every day I am going to have all of his pictures in a Fall Time Line :)

by New Member on Nov. 6, 2012 at 10:34 AM

Quoting gacgbaker:

We go to JC Penny and have had some great experiences.  We get the kids photos done at the same time as the family photo.  

Thats where we go every year too ! They even have coupons and such during the holidays to use ! November is free family portrait sitting fees and a free 8x10!

This year we went and got DS his 3 year photos and I only spent $60 :)

CafeMom Tickers
by New Member on Nov. 6, 2012 at 10:35 AM

Quoting countrygirlkat:

We don't use professional photographers.  I just look through all the pictures we have taken on our own over the year and use our favorites for the Christmas card. 

Since DS is terrified of Santa....I am going to try and do my own Christmas Picture of him and use it as our Christmas Cards. Wish me luck!

I just wish I was a better photographer...

CafeMom Tickers
by New Member on Nov. 6, 2012 at 10:37 AM

Quoting lalasmama2007:

We don't do family portraits. We only have one child and we just get her pic taken.

same here...

CafeMom Tickers
by on Nov. 6, 2012 at 11:30 AM

 I don't have any tips, I'm going to borrow some of these though.

by Member on Nov. 6, 2012 at 11:38 AM

Go with a photographer you LOVE and trust. We were lucky enough to meet a photographer with raw talent when Dd was a newborn and over the past two years she has just blossomed into a truely talented artist. We love her! 

by Member on Nov. 6, 2012 at 4:05 PM

Quoting Madelaine:

None now.  good article though!

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by Bronze Member on Nov. 6, 2012 at 9:45 PM

My neighbors sister does a photo session for $30, so we got lots of great pics down at the pumpkin farm, and lots of candids of the kids picking out their pumpkins :] I also used these pics as my sons three month photos

by Member on Nov. 7, 2012 at 4:18 PM

It's not in my budget to hire a photographer so I usually take them myself. 

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