5 Tips for Family Photos + Choosing Your Holiday Cards

Taking family pictures is exhausting! 


We took some a few weeks ago and I was sweating non-stop and completely worn out after two hours.  I had all these grand plans in my head of photos that I wanted to get done and as much as I tried to convince myself that I wouldn't stress if we didn't get them all done, I still did.

I wanted newborn photos of Madelyn.  Sibling photos of the kids.  Nursery photos for the blog.  Pictures of Brody and his cousin William.  And then a few family shots.  HA. Go ahead and laugh at me.  I was slightly over ambitious.  

We truly got some great shots though, but I will admit that the family photos suffered because they were the last ones to shoot.  I did come away from this shoot a little wiser and will know better when we try to take family photos again soon. 

Here's a few quick tips for family shoots with kids that I've learned:
1. Keep the shoots short (1 hour max)
2. Wardrobe changes on kids are really hard to achieve.  Stick to one outfit.
3. Bribe your toddlers with M&M's.  It's the best way to get them to cooperate.
4.  Give lots of praise.  Brody loved having a cheering squad telling him what a good job he was doing :)  #ham
5. Do your "favorite shots" first. If you have something in mind that you are dying to do for a shoot, do those first.  The early pictures always turn out the best before everyone becomes tired and cranky! 
6.  {Bonus Tip} Relax and laugh! These shots always come out the best :)

 baby girl was straight worn out by this point...

So now that you have some new family photos to choose from, it's time to pick one for your holiday card!  We used Minted last year and I was pretty much obsessed!  I've already picked out our holiday cards for this year and it seemed even easier than last year.  I love this new feature on the Minted website that allows you to upload your photo and see it in every card that they offer.  

See the highlighted area below! This way you can refine your search by the number of photos, photo orientation, text placements and printing types.  It makes it so much easier to narrow down your choices because you can quickly see if the letter placement is going to cover an important part of your image or if the photo orientation fits correctly!! 

I picked out some of my favorites from Minted this year!! And one of these below is the exact one I ordered :)  Since Madelyn was born in September and I was too lazy to send both newborn announcements and then turn around and send Christmas cards, I chose an option that allowed me to do both! Minted has some awesome holiday/birth announcement options to choose from. 

Another feature from last year (and this year) that made me so excited was the free recipient addressing.  I can't tell you how much time that saved me! I loved being able to just stuff the envelopes, stamp them, and send them on their way with love :)

And just for fun, here's a walk down memory lane of old past Christmas cards.  If you haven't read it already, you have to read my friend Jen's post on correct grammar for your holiday cards.   Wait until you see how guilty I am with incorrect grammar from years past!! I always assumed that I just needed to write it exactly how the website had it written (insert monkey covering eyes emoji)!!!!

Engaged 2011

Married 2012

First Born 2013

Family of 3 - 2014

So much fun to see cards from year to year.  And I know we spend a lot of money on cards every year, but I will show you a fun way to save them each year instead of throwing them in the garbage!! I have mine saved starting from 2011 until present and I store them with all my Christmas decor and lay them out on the coffee table each year.  I love flipping back through them every December.  You can find the free printable here

Are you in the Christmas spirit yet????  My walk through Target today officially got me in the mood :)

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  1. Christmas cards make me SO happy! Last year we used Minted and I will never use any other site! Such great quality and customer service. I am stressing out majorly that I don't have ours done yet this year. We are going to NYC in 2 weeks so I'm trying to wait for a picture from there... Insert panic Type A personality freak out. Beautiful pics lady! Your hair,I am so jealous!

  2. great tips! we are having our photos taken while we are in chicago over thanksgiving. i totally had THREE outfits for violet picked out but yah you're probably right about keeping her wardrobe simple. there's no way she's going to tolerate that many outfit changes! not to mention our session is only an hour long. xo jillian - cornflake dreams

  3. Awww I love your cards through the years, and those are all such great tips. I helped a friend recently with a newborn shoot so she had an extra set of hands - there's a lot going on!

  4. These are all great tips! You are so good for taking them with a nb and toddler! I'm sure that was not easy! You look so great btw and your family is so adorable! Love all the minted holiday cards this year!

  5. Great tips!! Even though you had a few struggles with the pictures - they turned out great! Can't wait to see what card you pick out this year :)

  6. Yes!! I'm officially in the Xmas spirit mode!!! =) Thank you for the card inspiration! This is my first Xmas married so I definitely want to send out a Xmas card!

    Have a great weekend! Melanie | Toots + Dill

  7. Totally agree that it is important to keep the picture taking time short! 1 hour is a good limit.

  8. Yes to all of these tips! We just did family pictures with my side of the family and also made the mistake of saving our little family photos until the end. I haven't seen any proofs yet, but I should have had us do our shots earlier on. I'll remember that for next time. We also tried on all of our outfits/accessories on ahead of time so we knew exactly what to expect on picture day. They are always stressful, but totally worth it! Love how yours turned out :)

  9. We are doing our Christmas card pics in the morning & I'm completely unprepared for them!! I feel like this might be best though because I'll just be happy with whatever I get - no expectations! LOL! (This is totally unlike me but, I think I'm realizing a 9 1/2 month old baby probably won't cooperate very well! BLAH!) LOVE y'alls pics though!! They all look great!!

  10. Great tips!! I love all of your cards, you have such beautiful taste!

  11. Love the trip down memory lane with your cards...and you gave me the push I needed to start our process!! xo, biana -BlovedBoston