What to Wear for Family Photos – Jenna Martin Family Photographer

For many families, the task of decided what to wear on the day of family portraits is the most stressful part. Should we match each other? Should we match our background? Do we have to get dressed up? Don’t worry. Before you freak out over the difference between denim and navy blue, lets go over a few ground rules. 

1.) Know your location.

Knowing your location is essential to determining your clothing options. Are you headed downtown for family photos or are you planning  day at the beach? Will you be among in the bold oranges, reds and yellows of fall or the soft pastels of spring? Your location should give you a starting off point for which color palette to choose.

2.) Choose your color palette. 

A great place to go for color inspiration is design-seeds.com. This is a site that breaks down the color palette of everyday moments into a list of usable colors. Now that you know your location, you’ll want to pick something that works with it. If you’ll be taking pictures on the beach, for example, you might want to go with a more muted or neutral palette, whereas if you’re shooting in an outdoor orchard in the fall you might want to use richer, bolder colors. The point isn’t to blend in with the background, but to compliment it.

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3.) Choose your neutrals. 

Each of these color palettes have a neutral tone running through the middle. Usually, it’s your closest color to something in a gray spectrum or a brown spectrum. This should make up the bulk of your outfit. Think dark, denim jeans, khakis or a gray dress.

Added tip: For the most part, try to keep your shoes in this category as well. This will help draw attention to your faces instead of your feet.

4.) Add in your colors. There are two ways to do this: 1.) As your main colors in large doses and 2.) As your accent colors. For main colors think your shirts, coats, vests or skirts, while your accent colors are your bright pops throughout your wardrobe. In the spring palette above of pale pinks and blues, bright green acts as the accent color. This should be used in small doses through accessories or layers. Think headbands, scarves, belts, ties or even shoes (if you so desire to break rule #3).

5.) Mix it up. You know the fastest way to tell if a photo is from the 90’s? Everyone is wearing black turtlenecks. Don’t be afraid of patterns, textures and layers. Patterns add personality and textures and layers add interest. Think shirts under jackets with scarves and dresses under cardigans wrapped with a belt. These clothing options add more visual detail,, personality and impact to your photos.

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Photo Credit: shannamichellephotography

6.) Don’t worry about the clothes getting dirty. I call family photo sessions an hour or two of “no rules.” You’ll probably be sitting on the ground at one point or another or your kid wants to pick up a slimy bug, so just roll with it! Trust me, you’ll love the photo I snap of your daughter’s cringing face as your son holds up a caterpillar for her to see. I’ll try and save the dirty stuff till the end, but the ones of your kids playing in a mud puddle or rolling down a hill are sure to be your favorites in the end.

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7.) Let your personalities shine. Each person in your family has a personality all their own, so let them express it! As long as you stick to same general color palette and mood, it will still form a cohesive picture. If your daughter has a bohemian/hipster style, for example, let her stick to her style, just keep the color tones similar and let her choose a hat or scarf in the accent color.

In that same thread, you want your outfits to reflect your personality as a family. If you’re a down-to-earth, outdoorsy, casual family that enjoys camping every weekend, dressing up in formal wear for your family portraits is only going to result in stiff, awkward looking photos. You want to feel comfortable and natural during your family portrait session, not contrived and boring. Besides, I do not photograph contrived and boring people ;).

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For more clothing suggestions and options for family photos, follow me on Pinterest! I’ve got a whole board dedicated to just this thing :).

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River Rocks and a Missing Sandal – Jenna Martin Family Photographer

Nick was another winner of my Father’s Day shoot, and I was just as thrilled as ever. There’s always a special feeling when I do a photoshoot for free, but when it’s for someone that really deserves it, it’s just a whole other level. For this we took a quick trip to the river and waded around in the water (ever walk around on slippery rocks while holding a couple thousand dollars worth of NOT waterproof gear?) and took a few pics.

Oh and that lonely little purple sandal? Its mate went floating down the river…that’s what happens when you’re playing in the water though!

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Like Father, Like Daughter – Jenna Martin Family Photographer

In case you didn’t already know, every May I give away a free Mother’s Day photoshoot and every June I give away a free Father’s Day photoshoot. Jeremy was one of the winners of the Father’s Day photoshoot this June. Now typically, the dad’s aren’t the ones super excited to get pictures done, but Jeremy was thrilled. He planned what Carly would wear, how her hair should be done and even what color to paint her nails. And how do I know these things? Because he asked! (cue: awwwww!!!)! As a photographer, there are few things more rewarding than a client that is excited to have me take their photograph, but when it’s a father exciting for family photos with his daughter, that’s just downright good parenting :).

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Props and Pumpernickels – Jenna Martin Wedding Photographer

Lora and Danny were my second engagement session I shot in San Francisco. They were also my first awakening to exactly how big San Francisco is. As soon as I realized where they were located, I found myself scrambling to find a ticket to the shoot. Thankfully, public transportation in California is insanely easier than what I thought it would be. So I jumped on a train for the first time in my life and headed down south of San Fran.

Lora and Danny picked me up at the train station and we headed to the first location. Right from the get-go I knew this was going to be the kind of photoshoot I love so much. They were so laid back and so genuinely exciting for engagement photos, I couldn’t wait to get started!

And folks, they had done their homework! They had three locations in mind, and we ended up hitting all three. Lora brought along the “Save the Date” poster, along with a few sentimental teddy bears and a pair of Groom and Bride baseball hats (which have of the most moving stories EVER behind them, read all about it on my Facebook page).

What was supposed to be an hour session ended up running quite a bit longer, which is always expected when you’re having fun!

Even this little guy wanted to be a part of the action :).

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These two were absolutely so cute for each other and I’m so glad I got the opportunity to photograph them! I have no doubt they will have an amazing wedding along with a long and happy marriage :).

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Retro Love in San Francisco – Jenna Martin Wedding Photographer

This being my first time in San Francisco, I absolutely fell in love with the city. The constant fog, the unbelievable abundance of artwork and the laid back vibe of the people made it obvious how a song titled “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” could become such a huge hit. To make it even better, the couple I was meeting requested some kind of street art background. We had one in mind, but upon driving through the city I found this insane painted wall. It was perfect.

And then I met Ashley and Jesus.

Those of you who know me probably know how obsessed I am with anything vintage or retro, so when Ashley stood before me with flawless skin, perfect cat-eye makeup and an adorable fiance, I was thrilled. Honestly, I couldn’t have planned it better myself. Wandering around San Fran with a couple of Braves fans easily made this one of my favorite shoots yet :).

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IMG_3849Ashley and Jesus thank so, so, SO MUCH for letting me take your engagement pictures! You guys were so much fun to hang out with and I’m so glad I got to meet you guys. Here’s to an amazing wedding and a long and happy marriage :)!

Walk in the Park – Jenna Martin Family Photographer

Sometimes I wonder if I just keep getting lucky with the families I get to photograph. Not only are David and Crystal engaged (congratulations!) but Cadence was a little ball of rough and tumble energy. I love spending time with families like this!

Bubbles at Sunrise – Jenna Martin Wedding Photographer

No matter what the reason, when the alarm goes off at 5:22 in the morning I instantly rethink just what the heck I’m doing. But as soon as I peeked out my bedroom window and saw the soft, dreamy light of morning barely across the landscape, I knew this morning was going to be something special.

I met Rachel and Jake at our location at 6:00, camera and bubble machine in hand. What followed was what any photographer could ask for: a beautiful morning, a couple so obviously in love they could’ve been playing characters in a Nicholas Sparks movie, and even a healthy cluster of baby birds to send us off on our day :).

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Geese and Giggles – Jenna Martin Family Photographer

As soon as I met Destiny and Devon I knew it was going to be a good shoot. Gorgeous weather, a bagful of bread, plenty of hungry birds and a mutual love of Bob Marley: what more could I ask for?

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