What to Wear for Family Photos

A question I get asked frequently is what I recommend people wear for their family photos. There really isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer here, but here are a few things to consider.

Consider the weather. If you will be taking photos outdoors then dress according to the weather as much as possible. If you are doing family photos in the summer then dresses and khaki shorts are a great “dressy” solution without worrying about dress pants and suit coats in the heat. Or if it’s fall and you hoped to wear sweaters with jeans, but then a cold front comes through and it is freezing – then bundle up! Wear coats and scarves. It will still makes for super cute photos and your kiddos won’t look completely miserable. Also, if the weather suddenly changes (i.e.  you expected it to be pleasant spring weather and suddenly there is a cold snap), don’t be afraid to talk to your photographer about rescheduling for a more pleasant day.

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Consider your location. If you are doing spring photos with lots of blossoms in the backdrop then you might want to wear pastels to complement the scenery. If you are taking photos on the beach, you might consider either really bold colors that will pop against the white sand & blue water or you might want to go with a more neutral color palate to soften the photos. Pinterest is a great resource for this. Just type in “Beach Family Photos” or “Fall Family Photos” or “Rustic Family Photos” or whatever style of session you are doing and you will see a plethora of ideas!

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Consider if you want a trendy look or a classic look. My regular clients have updated family photos taken every season, every six months, or at least once a year. But other clients have photos taken only every couple of years or even every five years. If the family photo you are going to take today will be displayed on the wall for the next five years, you might want to think twice before wearing something super trendy. There’s nothing wrong with wearing trendy clothes, but it certainly makes photos look more dated to a specific time frame which may not be ideal if you only take photos every 5 years.

  • Classic Look Suggestion: A little black dress next to a suit is going to look great. Put kids in their Sunday best neutrals and bada-bing, bada-boom – you have magic.
  • Trendy Look Suggestion: Currently I see a lot of chunky cardigans, furry vests, buffalo plaid, florals, and chambray. But a year from now this will be totally different. For the most updated colors of the season, check out the Pantone colors by Googling “Pantone Spring 2017” (or if you are reading this in the fall of 2018 then you can do the same search, but with the updated season and year). And of course you can search “family photos” on Pinterest and you will have an array of choices at your fingertips.
  • Fun Outfits Suggestion: I love when families want to do a fun outfit together. Typically we’ll take photos in their “normal” clothes and then everyone will change for one or two fun photos. These can revolve around a school, sports team, movie, etc!

Alabama inspired photo

Be comfortable in what you wear. This can happen to any member of the family, but I see it most frequently with women and teen girls. You don’t want to wear something that you are constantly tugging on. If you are tucking your bra straps in with every shift in position or tugging your skirt down or shirt up, you are going to look uncomfortable in the photos. This happens a lot to men with shirt sleeves that they’ve three quartered, but won’t stay that way. From my side it’s not terribly inconvenient to have you adjust your clothing before each shot, but my clients tend to be less at ease if I’m frequently having them adjust clothing.

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Wear colors that complement each other. You don’t have to be super matchy-matchy, but do shoot for colors that complement each other well. Again, Pinterest is a great resource for this. Try searching: “Family Photo Color Scheme.”

Family Photo neutrals and blues

A word of caution about pattern mixing. Having several different patterns being worn by different people in your family photo can be really distracting. For example, if we have stripes, polka dots, paisley, and plaid all in the same picture then all the attention will be on the clothes instead of the people wearing them. Patterns certainly can add some interest to family photos so they are fine to wear as long as it’s only a couple of people wearing them.

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Final Thoughts. If you aren’t confident in your outfit choices, talk to your photographer! Send her or him photos of what you are thinking of wearing and ask for opinions. I do this for clients all the time. I want my clients to feel confident that our session together is going to turn out awesome so I don’t want them doubting whether or not they picked out good color combinations for photos. And feel free to check out my Pinterest board: What to Wear for some of my current favorite ideas.

When was the last time you did family photos? How did you choose what to wear?
Love Rach

 

 

 

My Favorite Volumizing Mascaras

I have really long eyelashes, but they aren’t super full. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that they are “thin” because they aren’t sparse by any means. They look rather normal most of the time. However, when I wear mascara my normal looking lashes suddenly clump together and begin to look a bit on the thin side. So I’ve spent the past couple of years trying out different mascaras to find the PERFECT one (for me anyway, haha). If you are looking for mascaras that volumize well then this post is for you! 🙂

Four things to note:

1. Elle from ElleSees is like my beauty guru so she definitely helped me a ton in my search over the past couple of years!

2. I don’t wear waterproof mascara so I only tried ones that weren’t waterproof.

3. I always get the “black” or “blackest black” when choosing color.

4. This picking a favorite mascara process took so long because I don’t wear mascara often (about once a week) and because I didn’t want to spend a lot of $$ on something that I didn’t know if I would love or not all at once.

So after a ridiculous amount of research and trying out mascaras, these were my favorites:

Rimmel ScandalEyes Flex  ($5.49)
L’Oreal Voluminous
($5.89)
Tarte Gifted Amazonian Clay ($21)
Too Faced Better Than Sex ($23)
Younique 3D Fiber Moodstruck ($29)

Want to know the craziest thing? Despite those higher end, more expensive mascaras… my absolute favorites were the two cheap ones. After trying all these mascaras (and many others as well that just didn’t make this list of ones I liked), I landed on my top two favorites: L’Oreal Voluminous and the Rimmel ScandalEyes Flex. All of the others listed here were good too, but I wouldn’t repurchase any of them.

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The L’Oreal Voluminous has a very natural look to it. It adds plenty of volume to my lashes without clumping and I love that. The Rimmel Scandal Eyes Flex also adds volume without clumping, but it also adds extra length for an even more dramatic look. And neither of these are flaky which I really appreciate! So just depending on the look I’m going for decides which mascara I wear. 🙂

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I would be remiss if I didn’t add in that during all this searching, I discovered the Sephora Lift Off Lash Comb which is awesome for my long lashes! It helps separate them both before and after putting on mascara. I love it! And I have to tell you guys about how great the Clinque Lash Building Primer is as well. I tried it as a base coat with every mascara that I tried out and it made all of them look even more dramatic. I actually don’t use it often because my eyelashes are already pretty long and this makes them stand out even more underneath the mascara (also sometimes I’m lazy and don’t want to use more than one product haha). But I do like to use it for special occasions.

Do you wear mascara? If so, what’s your favorite and why?

Love Rach

My favorite ways to eat Toast

You know what I’ve eaten a lot of during this pregnancy? Toast. Sometimes just plain and sometimes with a topping. But it has been a go-to snack for me over the past few months since I first got sick with Baby Girl. I have three favorite go-to toast toppings that I rotate through so today I’m going to share those with you guys!

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Cheese toast. I grew up eating this stuff and have always loved it. Though I’ve probably eaten it more over the past 6 months than I have in the past 12 years, haha! If you’ve never made cheese toast before – it’s super simple. Butter one side of a slice of bread and then lay a slice of cheese down on top (Colby Jack is my favorite). Then broil it in the oven for about a minute or until the cheese starts to bubble (watch it closely! It can burn easily).

Cinnamon Toast

Cinnamon Toast. Another childhood favorite. Lightly toast a piece of bread, butter it, then  sprinkle on a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. Or in my case, cinnamon and Stevia. I love the aroma of cinnamon and butter together so this is another major winner!

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If there is an attractive way to photograph peanut butter toast, I don’t know what it is. 😉 But it sure is delicious. And simple. Creamy peanut butter spread on a piece of warm toast. This was a great way for me to get protein in early in pregnancy when I just couldn’t handle the smell of most of my go-to protein sources.

What is your favorite way to eat toast?
Love Rach

How I Organize and Store Photos

Being a photographer, people often ask me how I organize and back up my photos. I never thought much of my photo organizing until I found myself being asked over and over again and realized that maybe not everyone has a system that works for them already. So since I’m asked frequently, I thought I’d do a post complete with photos that I can direct people to. I know this may not be everyone’s jam so feel free to skip to the end where I talk about backing up photos. 🙂

Organizing My Photos:

How to Organize Photos

So when you open “My Pictures” on my laptop this is what you see. I have all of my photos broken up by year (and yes, I have a ton of old family photos on my computer from before I was born thanks to being the unofficial keeper of the family photos). And then I have a separate folder for Christopher’s family photos (including ones of his parents growing up and extended family because once again – I have become the keeper of family photos, haha!). I have a separate folder for my photography business and a separate folder for anything else that just doesn’t have a specific place (for example, the “Other” folder includes photos of recipes I’ve made,  gifts I’m working on, and my all time favorite: the folder entitled “photos that make me laugh” which include tons of embarrassing photos of my family that I’m not allowed to share anywhere else, ha!).

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So let’s click into the “2008-Present” folder. Here you will find folders for every year since Christopher and I got married in 2008. Simple enough… let’s open up 2016 (since it’s the most recent completed year).

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I chose to break up each year into three main sections, but you could easily  have a folder per month or even one per season. This method stems from how I organized photos in college and graduate school because I would have 3 folders: Spring Semester, Summer, and Fall Semester. That just kind of stuck even after I wasn’t in school anymore. If I didn’t already have this system in place, I probably would have done this by season. So let’s open up the September – December folder and see what we find!

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When you open up the September – December folder, you’ll realize quickly that my albums are in alphabetical order instead of chronological order (so notice that Christmas comes before Thanksgiving). You could definitely put a date at the beginning of each album so they stay in chronological order, but since several of my folders aren’t just from one particular day or week (i.e. “Oreo,” “Nannying,” “Friends,” etc) I chose not to go that route. And you will notice that every photo has a home. If I don’t have a place for a photo then it goes in the “Misc” folder.

Backing Up My Photos: 

1. At the beginning of every month I move ALL the photos that I took on my phone and camera over to my computer. Sometimes I’ve already moved a few photos over for blogging or social media purposes, but at least once a month I make sure to move everything.

2. After moving all the photos over to my laptop I sort through them all and keep my favorites. Yes, Oreo is cute, but I don’t need 118 photos of him laying in the same position on the couch. 😉

3. I then back up all my new photos on my external hard drive. Everything that is on my computer: music, documents, and photos are all already on the External Hard Drive so each month I only have to add the new stuff. It takes some time initially to back everything up on a new external hard drive, but if you keep up with it regularly (in my case, monthly), it only takes a few minutes to stay updated. If you don’t already have your photos backed up on an external hard drive, I really recommend it. For the past year I’ve been using the 1 Terabyte My Passport Ultra External Hard Drive and have really liked it. I also use Dropbox as a way to triple store really special photos, but not everything is on there.

So tell me, how do you organize and store your photos?
Love Rach

Maternity Photos: 21 Weeks

As anyone who follows me on Instagram knows, I post nearly weekly photos of the growing baby bump. But those photos are usually taken in approximately 2 minutes. No setting up the tripod and getting out a remote and doing fun poses. Just a super quick photo that Christopher takes of me before church on Sunday morning. Which means that while we are getting great weekly photos of Baby Girl’s growth, Christopher isn’t in most of the photos. So this past weekend I asked my sister, Abby, if she would be willing to take a few photos of us together. I’m so very glad I did! We are planning to take actual maternity photos later on as well, but I love that we have these mid-way point ones! Here are a few of my favorites:

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Love Rach

Marty’s Healthy Muffins

Usually when I talk about family recipes, I’m talking about ones from my side of the family simply because I learned most of what I know about cooking from my mom, my mom’s parents, and years of trial and error. But every now and then I’ll realize there is something missing in my repertoire thanks to my mother-in-law.

rach and marty

For example, she taught me to stop being afraid to cook fish. And she also introduced me to Jiffy cornbread. Which isn’t a family recipe or anything, but I always thought that I didn’t like cornbread until I tried Jiffy. Mmm!

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And over the past few months she has been making the most delicious muffins every time we visit. Even when I was feeling especially sick, Baby Girl has loved these health-ified muffins so we’ve been making them at home as well.

Marty's Healthy Muffins (3)

Marty’s Healthy Muffins

Ingredients:

3 very ripe bananas, mashed
1 tbsp Stevia
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oats
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup blueberries OR 60% Cocoa Chocolate Chips

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium mixing bowl mash bananas and mix in Stevia. Add beaten egg, vanilla, and applesauce and mix together.

2. In a separate small mixing bowl, whisk together flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

3. Add dry ingredients to banana mixture and mix until just combined. Pour into prepared muffin tins (either use non-stick spray or muffin liners).

4. Bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown on top. Makes a dozen delicious muffins.

Marty's Healthy Muffins (1)Made with chocolate chips!

Marty's Healthy Muffins (2)Made with blueberries!

Marty's Healthy Muffins (4)Covered in butter and served with a glass of unsweetened almond milk – my fav!

The first time Marty made these for us at Christmas, I literally ate 8 of the 12 muffins she made over just a couple of days. Baby Girl had not been impressed with many of the foods I had been trying to feed her so this was a huge win for me (I had been losing weight at that point). Since then I’ve continued to love these and so has Christopher! They are moist and sweet without being laden with sugar and butter (well, except for the butter that I slather on the muffin just before eating, ha!). Served with a glass of almond milk, they have become my favorite snack when we visit my mother-in-law!

Love Rach

Family Weekend Highlights

We spent this past weekend with my family so I thought I’d share a couple of highlights with you guys.

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We picked this particular weekend to get together because it was the weekend that Beauty & the Beast was released! It was SO good! Just absolutely loved it! And yes, I cried. It was just so beautiful! Worthy of a few happy tears. The Tale As Old As Time dance scene… gorgeous! {side note: the guys went to see the Batman Lego movie and really enjoyed it as well}

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This weekend also included a little dress up. 😉 This is my niece, Makenzie, in her mom’s wedding dress. You can see more of her photos here!

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Speaking of Makenzie… her relationship with Christopher is one of the sweetest things. I love how much she loves him! Really all our nieces and nephews adore him, but then he’s awesome. So it just makes sense. 😉 So excited to see him with our little girl this summer!

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This weekend also included lots of baby related things! Lots of family hand-me-downs were given (so many sweet outfits!) and we even went shopping for Baby Girl! This little girl has so many outfits and she hasn’t even been born yet, haha! It’s no understatement to say that my family is excited! And then my sister, Abby, took photos for us on Sunday afternoon before we all left. Wanna see??? Here’s one of my favorites!

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Ah, I just love this. I love the genuine smiles (because Christopher was making me laugh) and just how you can so easily see the excitement of our faces! So so sweet. I am so very thankful!

Love Rach