I dreamed of the day I could wrangle the whole family for professional pictures... ya know the non-iphone pics that would actually include myself and/or my husband WITH BOTH kids?! So when I teamed up with the phenomenal motherhood & lifestyle Charleston photographer Laura Ryan for a family beach portrait session, I was beyond excited.
Lets be honest here, I was also, beyond nervous. I mean I could've been asked to walk a runway in Paris (which would never happen, but you get the point) and been less anxious than I was about taking professional family photos with two toddlers. All I could picture was sand eating, sand throwing & ocean soaked kids.
BUT that's where Laura stepped in & walked me through the entire process from beginning to end. She talked me through every detail of when, where, how to dress, and assured me that crazy kids are totally fine, and some of the best pictures come from the craziest of moments.
Now dressing myself is one thing, but putting together a non-cheesy,color coordinated, cohesive look for the entire family, is a whole other ball game. I had ideas of what I thought we might wear, but Laura seriously helped steer me in the direction of not what would just "look" good, but what would photograph most beautifully. She even has a "what to wear inspiration guide" that helped me navigate putting together a look for the family.
As I went through the process of deciding what we would wear, I sent her different ideas and she was more than happy to let me know if she thought the outfit, different colors, patterns etc. would work/photograph well. For instance, I initially thought I would just wear casual torn jeans and a top, and she let me know that typically long, flowy dresses photograph much better and more beautifully. And dang, I'm glad she told me that, because that's what brought me to my decision to wear the dress that I did. Looking at the pictures now, I am SO glad I had Laura's honest, professional opinion and advice, because the style and feel of these pictures are everything I could've dreamed of and more.
FUN FACT: The dress I wore is a vintage find from the 1940's that my mom got online years ago. I wore this for my talent in my high-school pageant, and it had been hanging in my closet since...and it was just perfect! That being said, never underestimate the beauty of vintage & consignment, friends!
Also, Coco & Benji's outfits were super affordable finds from Amazon, and I found flowers to match the color of my dress and hot glued them to a bow for Coco's hair piece!
With the family wardrobe all sorted out, picture day was upon us. Charlie & I were still a little worried that one, or both, of the kids were going to lose their you know what....but as soon as Laura greeted us, we knew that everything would be A-OK. She was incredible with the kids. She made up games for them to play ,played music so they could dance and was great at getting them involved. It a "team effort" and Laura was all in!
I never even thought about the fact that family portraits would involve photos of just Charlie & I, so I was surprised when she said "ok, now just the two of you." This is where her suggestion of bringing a beach stroller or wagon, was a game changer! However,the moment Benji started to fuss- without hesitation, Laura picked him up and continued to shoot with him in her arms. #heartmelt
Even in the wildest moments, Laura still somehow managed to capture the most precious portraits. The kids still ate sand, threw sand, and ended up ocean soaked...but Laura was right, those are the memories I cherish the most.
Now here are some things I learned about doing a family photo session:
1.Don't sweat the craziness of it all-sure the kids eat some sand, run away, scream etc. but those candid, crazy moments are seriously best!
2. Consult your photographer about what will photograph best, then find a color palette you love and incorporate it in simple ways! Less was more when it came down to choosing a cohesive family look.
3. Communication is key! Make sure you have a photographer, like Laura, who is open, honest and willing to address any concerns or questions you have.
Right now, Laura is offering 10% off especially to ya'll, book with her by November 15 and your session can take place anywhere between January- June! With the holidays around the corner, this would be such an amazing gift too. Just be sure to mention this post, so she knows to apply the discount!