Orchard Family Photos with AllenAim Photography: Advice and Tips For Your Family Shots

April 23, 2012

About a month ago Molly came home from pre-school with a teacher request. They were doing a collage and needed a family photo. I thought about that and realized we didn't have a single one. Not even one of all of us without Henri let alone with him.
So I thought, now that Henri is a few months old, it would be the perfect time to have some done. I found a photographer close to us. Amy Renea of AllenAim Photography. I liked her style and loved that she too was a blogger. Perfect!

And here's what she did for us! See her very affordable rates below. Also, see family photo tips near end of post.
Amy was just amazing. First off, we have four kids under 7. Getting them to stay in one place while photos are being taken is certainly no simple feat but Amy was such a pro. She was calm and didn't show the least amount of stress under the pressure. And I have to admit I felt a little overwhelmed at times but Amy got us through it!
Plus, it was really windy that day! We were lucky that it wasn't too cold and quite sunny but the wind was an issue especially with the 3' balloons. I loved the idea of having these balloons with the gold streamers. I even went as far as to buy and MAKE the streamer tassels. But preparing for the day proved harder than I had anticipated and I didn't get the change to attach them to the balloons. But I still think they turned out lovely.
I also had a very specific idea of what I wanted us to wear. I didn't want us to be matchy matchy but I wanted us to be color coordinated. I liked a lot of the crewcuts clothes but didn't want to spend the money to buy them. So I made a few select pieces and went thrift store shopping for the rest. I did buy Eloise's and Henri's outfits at Baby Gap but I got them at 75% off so I feel good about it. The only thing I couldn't find in time were orange rain boots for Lily but I think we pulled it off regardless;)
I made Lily's skirt, Molly's skirt and Molly's shirt, my dress and all our headbands. Even though I was pressed for time I was really pleased with the way they all came out. Especially the girl's skirts. Molly's was gold with doubled sequin trim. Lily's was was white with seam binding pompoms. Very crewcuty;) without the $$$$ price tag. I made Molly's shirt from my old birdseed shirt pattern and it only took me about 30 minutes to complete.
I contacted a local orchard and asked if we could use their grounds for photos. At first I was real nervous about calling. I don't know why, I mean what's the worst they could have said? But I spoke to a nice woman who told me that people take photos on their grounds all the time. They had a few rules but mostly common knowledge things like don't climb the trees or farm equipment (I think I can live with that). 
So if you too are taking photos I definitely recommend calling around to businesses that you think might have pictureworthy backdrops. They might get requests all the time and don't have any problem accommodating you. It's way better than trespassing;)
Prepping for this photoshoot was a job in itself! I made Pinterest boards of props, wardrobe, settings and poses that I liked. If you are planning a photo shoot as well I recommend doing the same. Pinterest is a great place for family photo inspiration.
And share your ideas with your photographer! He or she is usually interested in what you are looking for. They want to please the client but do give them room for their creative eye! Many times your photographer will have a great idea that you would never think of!
Amy brought this great afghan blanket that had these gorgeous deep colors. I would have never thought to bring an afghan but I found myself most excited to see how those turned out! 
If you live in the Central Pennsylvania region and are looking to hire a wedding, couple, newborn, maternity or family photographer, DEFINITELY give Amy a call. Her rates are VERY affordable. Her family sessions starts at only $85 which includes at least 40 high resolution photos on CD, 30-45 minutes of shooting and 4-10 hours of post editing I've priced other photographers and that's pretty great especially considering how wonderful the photos turned out!

Her wedding rates are also very affordable! See all her prices here.
And did I mention Amy is also a blogger? Well, she is! And from my experience bloggers (like Amy) have excellent taste and the friendliest of personalities. Visit her blog A Nest for All Seasons. It's a great read;) Amy talks about food, photography, gardening and all her great crafty ideas!
Also follow her Pinterest boards to get a good idea of all the things that inspire Amy.
So to recap....
-Plan, plan, plan! Don't show up on the day of the shoot and expect the photographer to do all the work. Make inspiration boards. Pinterest is a great place to organize your shoot.
-If you need to special order clothes do so at least two weeks before your shoot day (I learned this the hard way with the boots).
-If you're going to make clothes or accessories give yourself plenty of time before the shoot. The last thing you want is to rush all day and then not have time to do your hair and arrive flustered and exhausted. (again, something I learned the hard way;)
-Be ambitious about your setting. Make phone calls, find an ideal spot. You'll be so happy you did!
-If you have props that are impermanent be sure to time them with your photos. IE don't buy big balloons early in the morning if your shoot is at sunset. You'll end up with broken or deflated balloons. Same thing holds true with food.
-If you have a friend, maybe bring him or her to help out behind the scenes. I sort of wished my mother was there to take Henri when I was posing with Lily and Molly. And extra pair of hands is never a nuisance when little kids are involved.
-Bring food! Can you believe how much this little tip helped me? Eloise was being totally uncooperative. Crying is difficult to pull off in family photos;) I happened to have some extra lollipops in my bag (in pink no less!) and she instantly calmed down and took some great photos. As long as you don't mind having a lolly in the photo it's a lifesaver! Just remember to bring enough for everyone, otherwise you might have even more tears than when you first began:P
-If you're doing your shoot outdoors in the spring bring a fancy scarf. It was in the 60s when we did our shoot. The girls were okay for the first 30 minutes but near the end they were complaining about the cold. I brought two fancy scarves that matches their outfits. Unfortunately, as most things go, Lily and Molly both wanted the same one. Some things are just never enough:P Since Molly didn't have leggins I let her have it and she wasn't complaining about the chill anymore. You can also bring a trendy jacket but then you have to make sure it looks good for the photos and maybe you don't want to spend more money. If you have something cute, BRING IT!
-Pick props that the kids can interact with. I bought some orange and gold hula hoops at the dollar store and they worked great because it got the kids moving and looking more natural.
-When choosing a photographer MAKE SURE you choose one who is going to give you your photos on a CD. They're your photos you should have the right to view them and print them. And be aware of ALL the costs up front. Some photographers (not Amy) charge a separate fee for the session and another for the photos. You don't want to discover that you now have to pay twice as much for the photos you already posed for.
Hope you enjoyed our little walk with my family:)

21 {comments}:

Erin said... Best Blogger Tips

Beautiful family photos!

Rebekah said... Best Blogger Tips

Absolutely beautiful, Kathleen!

Crazy Wonderful said... Best Blogger Tips

Your photos turned out AMAZING!!! Great tips too, thanks for sharing :)

{darlene} @ fieldstonehill said... Best Blogger Tips

just gorgeous!

ARK said... Best Blogger Tips

You are gorgeous girl!!! MWAH!!!

Leigh Anne said... Best Blogger Tips

Thx for all the tips! And LOVELY photos!

LGreenWriter said... Best Blogger Tips

You all look so relaxed and happy! : ) Glad you found such a talented photographer.

Eric and Carrie said... Best Blogger Tips

Beautiful family, beautiful photos. I especially love the one with all of you walking, holding onto the balloons. Took my breath away!

Emily said... Best Blogger Tips

Gorgeous family and photos!! I love the way your outfits coordinate! Great tips too- especially interactive props and bribes. :) I will be pinning this post to my family pictures board. :)

D-lyn said... Best Blogger Tips

Love it

Carla said... Best Blogger Tips

Absolutely beautiful!

Jenny said... Best Blogger Tips

Where do you find your big balloons??? I can't find any near me. I live near Charlotte, NC now.

Cheilita said... Best Blogger Tips

ooo. she did your family justice. super gorgeous!

Grosgrain said... Best Blogger Tips

@JennySurprisingly I got them at Party City! I know, so generic. I called them ahead of time to make sure they had them. But I looked it up for you and there are a couple Party Cities in your area. I'd call them and see if they have some. They'll also inflate them. But word of caution, when I went the girl that blew up the first balloon had never done one before and she only filled it halfway and said it didn't float. I wasn't the one picking them up so I had to relay to her though someone else that she didn't inflate them enough. It was confusing. I think perhaps they don't have that many people buying them.

Also, if they don't have them at a Party City near you, you can buy them online and have Party City blow them up for $3 a piece. Get some here: http://www.bulkballoons.com/store/c/915-36-inch-Jewel-Tone-Latex-Balloons.html
for only $2.59 a piece. The icon images don't look like 3' balloons but as long as they say "3'" or "36 inch" they'll come out round.

ritasmeeta said... Best Blogger Tips

Wow, just wanted to say that the photos are sooo lovely! You and the photographer did such a great job pulling the shoot together - great tips! :)

Emy said... Best Blogger Tips

Beautiful family and beautiful photos! I live in the Baltimore area and have been searching for a family photographer. I'll be contacting Amy soon! Thank you for sharing!

Kim said... Best Blogger Tips

The 7th image down, it looks like you husbands hand extends from photo to the other. :)

Grosgrain said... Best Blogger Tips

@KimHa ha! Yeah, you're right;)

Suzanne said... Best Blogger Tips

Wow. What an amazing photo shoot. I'm inspired!

Chandra Merod said... Best Blogger Tips

Wow! Very nice pic's and you got many of them. We did a family shoot and got only a few picks from them. Your family is so large and so cute!

Wani said... Best Blogger Tips

Gorgeous pix!! Love the outfits and the balloons!

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