So, today I'll touch on Rule #1 from yesterday's post. Remember Rule #1? The flexible vision part? OK, so from what I can tell by your recent comments, some of you have that much. However, I will also assume that many of you are like me and still haven't thought enough about it to have your decisions made. So, I'll start rattling off some ideas that might help out if you need it.
As far as clothing goes, I think casual is best only to save yourself the stress of worrying that your kids will mess up their holiday finest. However, if you don't really care if the clothes get dirty then "formal" clothing is still fair game and doesn't have to be ruled out. Here's some of my philosophies on the clothing part and be warned, I may contradict myself all over the place. If I'm going to give you a slew of ideas then I have to offer a few different sides of the story, so cut me some slack if I get all confusing. Here goes...
Everyday wear- Although using what your kids wear everyday makes sense because it's what you've got a ton of, it may not be as fun for you to shoot pix of your kids looking like they do everyday. If you're bored with the normal wardrobe then give yourself permission to go find something that strikes your fancy. Chances are if you are loving what the kids are wearing, you will also love taking pictures of them in the clothes. And you can go cheap here. Seriously. I just stopped over at The Children's Place and hit the sale jackpot. Pants for $4.99 and stuff. Yay! That's pretty cheap guys. Now, if you decide on clothes your kids hate, you might have a heck of a time getting them to smile. When your kids are old enough to have an opinion about what they wear, take it from me, make your life easier and take their wishes into consideration. Fighting over the clothing is NOT worth it. Compromising is totally worth the extra effort! Really, it is. Or if you're really feeling free and easy, letting them take the lead might be fun too. A princess dress and red cowboy boots can work pretty well for an off-beat festive card! At least I think so.
Twinsies- It seems when it comes to Holiday Photos people like to have their kids match. I know this to be true because I've been shooting family portraits for over 10 years. It's some bizarre sickness that comes over us once we become mothers of more than one child. We get what I like to call Twin Fever. I don't understand it, it's strange and usually pretty unnecessary but I WILL NOT judge you if that's your thing. I've done it too so I won't act like a SanctiMommy over here. Remember The Children's Place outing? Yes, I got my girls coordinating sweaters. I did. I'll admit it. See. I've got a slight case of the fever myself. However, notice, I used the word coordinating, not matching. See my kids are 5.5 years apart so the twins thing has never even been possible. BUT, at stores like Gymboree (which is one of my favs), you can find coordinating prints, colors, styles that look awesome together but don't perfectly match. It's not the matching thing that bugs me as a look, it's just that coordinating outfits usually photograph better than matching outfits. Which reminds me, I have got to post a photo of my girls last year in their groovy coordinating coats. OK, I'll do that soon. Oh, and the rule for family portraits goes the same way...coordinating outfits/colors/styles/etc. work wonderfully. Pick 2 to 4 colors and run with them!
Dress-Up- I do want to touch on "formal wear" briefly because if you've got it in you, and the kids don't object (when they're young, they don't seem to care too much) it can be really sweet to have a fancy outfit in an unexpected place...like the beach or the park. As you know, I have girls so I'm really talkin' dresses. OMG. There is nothing cuter than a dressy dress with bare feet in the sand or grass. It's a weakness of mine. I guess seeing that I'm in sunny California, I'm lucky because I can do that almost all year long. It's really really cute. I never worry about the kids getting dirty in the clothes we use for pictures because to me, the picture matter more than the clothes. A photographer's mind works in strange ways.
Themes- This is where the real fun comes in. If you want to do something creative, funny, unique, heart-warming, etc, this part is for you. Here's a list of ideas of themes. If you've used these before or have already seen them, forgive me for my inability to reinvent the wheel. Warm Fuzzies (coats, hats, mittens, scarves are always fitting for the season), Jammies (like Kelly shared) is a goodie and one I have yet to do...note to self, jammies might be fun this year..., Young kids in the bath is good and then hey, no clothes needed so that's cool (but as Stacy mentioned too much skin might freak people out which I think totally sucks but whatever...I feel your pain Stacy...my husband isn't always that into my vision either), dress-up time where they can be anything from an angel to a pirate to anything else they (or you) can dream up. There's so much fantasy and magic around the holidays, why the heck not. And the clever sentiments you can add to these kinds of photos are endless. There are many other themes as well, I'm sure...anybody want to share some?
Now, before I sign off, I will remind you that you can very easily opt to forgo all of this stuff if you choose a photo you already have. It's not such a bad idea. I did it one year (a trip to Mexico) and believe you me, IT ROCKED! And I used Shutterfly that year too. Easy-peasy, lemon squeezy. More on that later. I know I keep teasing you about examples of my own Christmas Card past and I WILL share but there's so much other stuff to talk about. Tomorrow I will post about locations ideas. Until then, happy clothes hunting!