Family Photos by:  Ed and Aileen Photography

Family Photos by: Ed and Aileen Photography

There's something about planning for a photo shoot that gets beyond stressful and crazy. Have you ever asked yourself why?!? For me, when I dug deep, I came to realize that I had this expectation of perfection. I wanted everyone to perform. I wanted my husband to be on the same page as me. I wanted my girls to cooperate, and do what the photographer told them to do. This was an ongoing expectation for years....

Well this past July, we had our annual family photo shoot, and I was determined to approach it differently. I'm excited to share the freedom I found when I took a deep breath and let go!

Step 1: Identified my why?!?

Okay so you may be wondering...."What the heck does that mean?!?" Well, I believe each of us should have a "why," when doing a family session. It helps to keep us grounded, and focused on the purpose of why we are doing this, and it helps us to move away from the perfection, bribing, etc. Every family's why will be different. For some it may be to celebrate an addition to the family, for others it may be because you walked through infertility, and you want to document this miracle, for others this may because your in the midst of transition, and so on. Whatever your why is, remind yourself of it, and cling ever so tight onto it! Here's our why: We were in the midst of so much transition, between our oldest being a tween, with hormonal changes and all, to our middle child about to start kindergarten, to our little one no longer being a baby. So much change was happening, and I wanted to capture the essence of what that looked like for us as a family while doing all the things we love to do together. 

Step 2: Found a photographer who is on the same page with what I was looking to capture. 

I told our photographers that I wanted to celebrate this season of life that we are in the midst of, and that our home is a place of safety and togetherness. That I really wanted that to be the focus. The real us!!! And they were all for it.

Step 3: Styling our outfits

For some you may not resonate with this step and that's totally okay! Feel free to move onto step 4. For me though, I love styling, and I love coordinating our outfits. Now that doesn't mean go spend hundreds of dollars on outfits. We personally live on a small budget. I think I got our outfits for less than a 100 bucks at Target. The most important part when it comes to styling is making sure that you stay true to yourself. Ask yourself, "Is this something I'd actually wear while out with the family or with friends?" If you're honest and say no, then keep looking. The point in this is to be intentional and focused on your why, and getting lost in shopping can steer us away from our why. Also be aware that perfection can easily creep in. For me, I had to constantly remind myself of our why.

Step 4: Created a plan by asking myself, "What do we love to do as a family?"

This is such an important step, because each family spends their time differently, and depending on the season of life you are in, I'm sure you have some special things that you love to do together. So why not have those special family things captured?!? For us, our home is a place were we can just be. We love cooking together, having snuggle parties in our bed, having hammock time, playing and singing together, and so much more. I wanted all of this photographed, especially since it coincided with our why. 

Step 5: Committed to no arguing on the day of our photo shoot

You guys this is a huge one!!! I can't tell you how many times we've gotten into arguments right before a photo session, and man has it messed up the flow. Everyone is holding grievances against each other. The kids are stressed. I'm stressed, and everything just feels forced. But this time around we just had fun with it. I even took a moment to look at the mirror to encourage myself, and gave myself permission to have fun.

Step 6: Just have fun with it!

Now, I'm not going to lie, the house wasn't as cleaned as I would have liked. I had an outfit malfunction, and so much more. Instead of focusing on what didn't go as planned, I took a deep breath, and let go!!! And boy did we have fun! We laughed, tickled and played together. By the end of the session, we were shocked at how fun it was. And can I just say....the photos turned out to be everything we wanted.....I may have even cried! They represent us in the most authentic way ever.

All in all friends, there's such freedom in letting go! I hope that when it's time to have your family photographed that you would dig deep, find your why, and allow yourself to have fun while letting go of perfection.