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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 (31-39):
by Member on Nov. 7, 2012 at 4:19 PM

I have a friend that is just starting her own business and she does a great job with photos for a reasonable price.  I'm hoping to have her take spring pics of my kids. 

Quoting flowerfunleah:

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 on Nov. 7, 2012 at 9:45 PM
1 mom liked this

 I don't have tips!  Just pray everyone cooperates is my only thing.  lol

by New Member on Nov. 8, 2012 at 12:28 PM

i am all about the backgrounds of the photos, scenic city shots, bright colors, etc

by Member on Nov. 10, 2012 at 1:18 PM
1 mom liked this

I know what you mean.  With four kids it's hard to get everyone looking in the right direction and smiling all at once. 

Quoting celestegood:

 I don't have tips!  Just pray everyone cooperates is my only thing.  lol

by on Nov. 14, 2012 at 11:10 AM

Make it fun! In my experience, if you get too wrapped up in getting the "perfect shot" than it will not work out and just stress everyone out.

by on Dec. 3, 2012 at 2:47 PM

I don't like when everyone looks too matchy. I go for complimentary instead. 

by on Dec. 7, 2012 at 1:58 AM

 We dress in the same color but different lol

Our last picture we did browns - Dh wore a brown dress shirt, Ds wore a matching brown dress shirt, I wore a tan dress with a brown zebra print overlay, and DD wore a dark brown dress with tan polka dots. Turned out really cute!

I say - FEED the children before you go and before getting them dressed or they're going to be whiney and hungry the whole time you are there. Always plan a back up outfit for each person - disaster strikes at ANY time!

by on Dec. 11, 2012 at 7:16 PM

 my fav pic tip is dont stress out if your teen wants to dress like they dress. if i attempted to make my DD wear a dress, she'd fight me tooth & nail. so the family photo we took in 2010, we are all in jeans and she's in her fav flip flops... and we are all smiling.

I'm a Humanist.
Question everything, except your Mother.
SAHM of one teen DD. Married since 1989.
Awarenesses I follow: Epilepsy, Depression, Down Syndrome.
by on Dec. 31, 2012 at 10:28 AM

 we have never been able to afford professional ones so we do our own on occasions where we are all having fun

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