Take Your OwnFamily Photos!! Family Photo Tips

The crisp air, the leafy colors, the boots + coats, and the cutest cottage houses that make up the most charming town, Fall in Camden feels like where I was meant to be!!! Driving along the coast, by lakes and through the winding roads surrounded by red and yellow trees, I feel giddy.

Clay and I came to Maine a couple years ago before Curren was born and Ezra stayed with Grandma and Grandpa. We fell in love and I vowed I would return someday. ???? Where we live, Fall is pretty much non-existent, so this year, and hopefully every year from here on out, I’d like to spend it here.

We are here for five weeks… with the intention to just live: do the same things we’d be doing at home; grocery shopping, making dinner, working, nap times, but just being here, in a place we love for the season. Not a “vacation”, but a step away. We love adventure and photography so this place is heaven for us.

There are so many amazing photo opportunities. We are stopping for photos at every turn. I also really wanted to get some family photos this trip for the holidays, and after spending a few days here at the house, in this neighborhood and in the yard, it seemed right to take them right here, where we are spending these glorious fall days.

One of our favorite parts of this trip has been walking around our neighborhood and into the little one street town. We have definitely been wanting to capture it and have these photos for the memory books. And I love how these photos turned out.

For this shoot, we all wore the new line called Peyton & Parker exclusively at JCPenney. When I first saw the line in their lookbook I loved everything! From kids and babies, men and women… all the pieces coordinate so well making dressing for family photos easy peasy! They also sell really great home decor and holiday items that we included in the shoot and that I’m excited to have for the holidays. The stacked mugs are my favorite.

It’s definitely not always easy to get family photos and a lot of times it doesn’t go as planned. I wanted to share some tips on how we plan and do our family photos. It’s a question we get asked a lot… so hopefully, some of these tips will help you!


– Dress your family in coordinating colors! Make it interesting with a few simple patterns + some pops of color here and there. Stripes or buffalo plaid looks great in photos! JCPenney’s new exclusive line – Peyton & Parker made it so easy for me to dress our family in the cutest coordinating outfits without matching TOO much.


– Plan ahead! With little kids in tow, you never know what’s going to happen and their patience is usually pretty limited. So having a good plan, (and a bag of snacks) will make things go a lot smoother. So plan outfits, location, who will shoot it or maybe get a tripod, remote or self-timer, and have everything set up before you bring in your crew!


– Make sure everyone’s fed, and not tired. Right after nap time or meal time is our golden time slot. If everyone’s happy, that’ll make it a whole lot easier to get a good photo.


– Lighting is an important factor when shooting photos, especially portraits. Shoot when the sky is overcast, in the shade with even light, evening, or early morning. The harsh sun will create shadows and high contrast. Even, natural light is best!


– I love a blurry background + crisp foreground. It just makes your photos look cinematic and brings them to life. You need really great lighting for a low aperture and high shutter… but if you can get it, that’s key! Especially when working with wriggly kids! We usually shoot at a 2.8 on our 24-70mm lens because it’s easier to frame. But we also use a 50mm whenever we can because prime lenses (no zoom), creates crisper images and has a lower aperture.


– Take a BILLION photos. Whenever we ask someone else to take photos for us, they usually hand the camera back and say “I took a bunch! Like five!” FIVE?!!! I hope you mean 405?!! Hahaha The more you take the better the chances of getting the one that captures every member of your family perfectly! (Or close enough.) haha


– If you see a photo with all of us in the frame, most likely there was a tripod involved. We set up the tripod and bring along our remote too! I try to set it up discreetly, then play. I have a 2 second delay on my remote so I can snap away while everyone is playing without being noticed. It’s the best way to get real emotion in your photos!


– Last but not least, just have fun, for real! Taking family photos gets a bad rap. And that’s because it’s usually long and arduous… not fun at all. We always get the best photos when we are just playing with the kids, joking around, and having fun. Ezra actually really loves being in photos, it’s something we do a lot and we enjoy taking them together as a family.

Click here to see the full Peyton & Parker line exclusively at JCPenney! And THANK YOU so much to JCPenney for sponsoring this post!

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  1. Chloe says:

    Looove this! Would love to know what camera and lens you use! Your photos are all so gorgeous! We just had our first baby boy & I want to have tons of family photos of us all!

  2. Kristen says:

    These are so beautiful!! Thank you for the tips on how to take family photos! I’ve been thinking of trying it out this year for some holiday photos- we usually get better pics of our kids than a professional does! You’re giving me the bravery to just go for it 😉

  3. Cheryl says:

    Such beauty all around. I know you are working while you’re there, but you making working look so natural.

  4. Camelia says:

    Hi there, can I please ask what tripod and remote you use ? Thank you!

  5. Sophia says:

    Love these!
    What tripod do you recommend?

  6. Meagan says:

    Such a gorgeous family! These pictures are so beautiful! What tripod/remote do you use or recommend?

  7. Megan says:

    These photos are absolutely stunning, you get such beautiful shots of your family! And I know how you feel about having a pretty non-existent fall… we don’t get all the gorgeous changing leaves in Australia 🙁 but the sunny days makes up for that 😉

  8. Sarah says:

    Wow these are amazing!! So Inspiring with the fall colours I’m definitky checking out the website for cosy clothes. You’re lucky your fam is happy to take photos together and you and clay both like doing it!! Hard to find! Where do you edit your photos and do you use a preset or just edit them each individually?

    • Mary Lauren says:

      I have just been editing each individually lately, trying to figure out my own preset but I feel like they just turn out better without presets a lot of the time.

  9. Danni says:

    Wow I really love how you can capture it all in these family photos, cute moments, pretty details, and seasonal decor. Thanks for these tips and I will be trying them for our family photos.

    Danni // https://www.theactivehabitat.com/


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