How To Have A Stress-Free Family Photo Shoot

Family Photo at a Firehouse

We recently hired our clients, Cola & Soley Media, to take our family portrait – our first one as a family of three. It was a great experience flipping roles as client and customer with these talented photographers. I am thrilled with how the photos came out!

Wilton Family Photo 2016

My husband isn’t exactly fond of being photographed, so I knew that I needed to make our photo session as stress-free as possible. Here is how I managed to do that —

  1. Don’t drive yourself (or your family) crazy with coordinated outfits. I’ve been in extended family portraits where everyone had to wear solid white. It led to last-minute crazed stain removals, eye rolling over the one person who couldn’t follow the all white rule and just HAD to have some color thrown into their outfit (okay, okay, that was me!), and other drama. And then not everyone’s skin tone looks good in pure white and it can cause the photos to feel overexposed or washed out. So for my family, I made a simple guideline – a color theme and jeans. The jeans were whatever was comfortable, and everyone has a pair already anyways. And then I thought the shirts should have red or blue in them. That was it. I chose a red onesie for the baby, with a backup of a grey onesie. See, I didn’t even follow the red rule with the backup shirt. Because it isn’t a big deal! Grey looks good on him and would flow with any color.
  2. Consider the time and location before you schedule the shoot. Our photographers knew the end of the day would hold the best lighting. So, we worked backwards from sunset to figure out what time to start. We worked together to choose two shooting locations. They wanted beauty, and I wanted convenience. Driving around the city with a screaming baby and road raging driving would not a happy day make. So, we chose two locations that were close to him. I also knew that I could nurse the baby in between the two locations, and told the photographers ahead of time that we would need a break for feeding.
  3. Don’t Nit-Pick. Nobody wants to be fussed over and told what to do non-stop for four hours. So don’t stress over minute details like where someone’s pinky is positioned or if a drop of baby drool landed on your shoulder. Most of the details you’re freaking out over won’t even be in any of the photo viewers’ radars. Plus, your photographers will take enough snaps that they will edit out disaster pics and present you with the best shots, and then you’ll have plenty to choose from as your favorites from that batch.
  4. Remember that you are capturing a moment in your life. This ties in with the last tip. Maybe your baby is a 4 month old that decided to fuss the day of your photo. Don’t push him! Take a break, or let him sleep during some photos. Maybe you have a teenager with an attitude. Let her roll her eyes in some photos. Maybe your husband can’t get comfortable in front of the camera. Try to make him laugh instead of putting on a forced smile. You’ll look back on these photos year from now and have a great time remembering where you all were at that point in your lives. That’s more important than having some perfectly posed *ahem* not true to life * image to share with your Facebook followers.

And here’s the not-so-perfect images that are completely perfect to me. They make me smile and I know we will have so much fun looking at them for years and years to come.

Tired Baby Yawning Photo
“Mom, I’m tired!”
My arms were exhausted and I had to thank my husband for being so sweet all day!
My arms were exhausted and I had to thank my husband for being so sweet all day!
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Fini Boutique


Fini is an amazing one-stop shop in New Orleans…you can find a cute outfit, get a spray tan, get waxed, and have your makeup done all in one place. Hence the name – one stop and you’re “Fini”! 

But what the boutique was missing was an updated website that could be viewed on any device and looked as cool and modern as the clothes they sell. The shop owners were also missing out on ecommerce sales. So, Hippie Island Media redesigned the site and added an online store. We also had a super fun time photographing the clothes for their initial launch! 

If you’re in New Orleans, be sure to check out their Lakeview location to get pampered and styled. If you’re not nearby, you can still shop their clothes and accessories at

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My friends and I have a miniature obsession with the word “gal”. We love to refer to each other as gals, galpals, and similar variations on the word. If someone is your best friend, they are “a real gal.” If your boyfriend or any man gets along well with your friends, he’s a gal too.

Our gal group is growing older and we all lead busy lives. Some of us have moved far away from home and don’t get to spend much time with the others. So I decided to start a project that we could all work on that would give us insight into each other’s lives and let us share things we’re into with one another. Thus, was born. It is still a work in progress, but it is a fun place for us to tell our tales and share our thoughts and current fascinations. The site also has a really cool forum that I hope people will start to use in time to set up their own community of gals to chat with.

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