Monday, 2 April 2018

How to fake professional photos in 5 easy steps...

I love photos and I love professional photographers but I feel like there's a limited annual budget I can spend on photography, which is particularly hard at this stage of life because the kids can completely change in a couple of short months and I am wanting to document that.

In an effort to cut costs (and time commitments) I typically do professional photos once a year, unless there's an event such as Noelle's birth. Newborn photos obviously top the special event category and we had to capture those moments with a professional, I like the stress free option of having someone else pose and fluff us for that kind of thing. 

When I am paying a photographer (find us floating around Caitlyn Colford Photography) I usually book for late summer/early fall so those photos can be sent out in Christmas cards if need be.

Otherwise, it's all me, all the time and ALL iPhone.

family photo shoots, 5 easy steps to professional photos

This is where blogging has changed me as a photog, I now see photo props whenever I buy home decor and I see Instagram photos whenever I shop for clothing.

But the #1 thing that's going to get your photos looking more professional is the location, that's my top tip!


This is a hard one I won't lie to you, I live in Nova Scotia (Canada!) and we struggle with stable weather. Lucky for my photos this year has been freaky (thanks global warming) and I've embraced the outdoor photography as much as possible, even our Christmas photos were outside!

family photo shoots, 5 easy steps to professional photos

It may seem hard to get outside because you think you need a cornfield or some beautiful old abandoned church but you. do. not.
I almost never leave our property:
A. because I am lazy
B. because nice settings can be easily faked

Find a front step, tree, bush, large patch of grass, lug some rocking chairs outside, a huge blanket, whatever you think looks clean-ish and neutral, that's your base.

Another tip: I like is to use this location over and over again.

We always take photos on our front step but it's not me being boring (although it is so easy, I cant say that doesn't factor in) it is intentional.

I love that season to season, year to year, I can really see how much the kids have grown because that space always stays the same, the porch is the same but the kids are taking up more real estate!

family photo shoots, 5 easy steps to professional photos


Even though your lighting is great you're still going to want to tweak things just a smidge to really polish the photo.

See photo below and photo above ^
The photo above is 100% iPhone and looks great because of the natural lighting but the photo below is edited with VSCO and looks just a tad better in my opinion (well its a photobomb lol but the exposure, cropping and sharpness looks upgraded).

If you haven't seen my post on how to edit photos then click here.


This is going to be personal preference (this whole blog post is personal preference!) but I love a natural looking photo shoot.

When we hired Caitlyn to do our newborn photos I was thrilled because she came to us and did a completely 'everyday' style shoot. Mind you, we were dressed fancy for the first time since welcoming Noelle but it still managed to feel genuine and raw.

That's why I keep shooting through the setup, re-adjustments, scoldings (LOL), this is me telling Elliott to get it together so we can get this done!

Can you tell I am saying:
The Easter bunny was so good to you because you listen to mommy & daddy, now will you listen and take some nice photos or will the bunny be back to collect his loot?

Can you tell from this photo? ^


You don't need to buy new but you know I always do because I love a matchy matchy look. (sorry not sorry! haha)
If you don't love the direct matching just pick clothes that compliment each other, it doesn't have to be complicated, I usually lean towards neutral clothes and bold accessories (lipstick, earrings, necklace, one or two of these that show off my style).

White, navy, grey, brown, blush, mint, pale blues, creams are all coordinating without overpowering. Pick a couple that suit your family and mix and match outfits until you're complimenting.

One more tip: If one person is sockless, everyone should be sockless!

This is something I noticed from previous photos, I was always barefoot because I never, never, ever wear socks but Nick would have on heavy black wools and it looked so odd! Now I make everyone free the toes before we shoot, I think it looks cute.

family photo shoots, 5 easy steps to professional photos


This one is easy for me because I use what I have and I typically decorate for the holiday/season so it's really easy for us to pop out to the front step and already have a backdrop, but there have been many times that I have lugged the inside out to stage the scene.

If you're photographing to capture a holiday use some holiday decor, give your kids Christmas ornaments to hold or drop easter eggs around their feet. I find this helps the kids stay engaged as well,  my kids need something to entertain them while we shuffle everyone into place.

Remember layers are your friend, blankets, banners, burlap, I love all these things in excess!
They're still neutral and fall into the background but add dimension.

If its the summer maybe a picnic basket, fall + pumpkins = no brainer!, florals for spring, honestly I am debating a fruit display with watermelons and pineapples come June... stay tuned.

family photo shoots, 5 easy steps to professional photos

And that's how I get the photos without the price tag.
I hope this helps and if you have any other tips & tricks send them my way!

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