If you follow my @rachparcell account on Instagram, you know that I post lots of family porch photos for Sundays... I've done this so many times it's basically second-nature, so I want to share a few easy tips for you to create your own family portrait for any upcoming spring events. This can be super simple and inexpensive; it just needs a little prep, timing, and some cute outfits!
Tip #1: Check What Time of Day Your Porch has the Best Sun or Shade.
This is something I forget to do if I'm in a new location for photos: Check when the light is best and try to time it for a family group shot. (You definitely don't want any harsh shadows, so look for shade!)
At my house our front door faces west, so we find the best time to take photos is right before church in the morning. The kids are dressed up, the porch is shady, and we can snap the picture and go.
This is an easy front-yard shot from Emily's family! No decorations or complicated posing necessary, just some cute outfits and natural sunlight.
Tip #2: Dress Up the Family and Add Some Simple Décor.
I think the easiest way to upgrade your porch for a holiday is with a door wreath. You can snag something super chic and simple at the grocery store or from Amazon just in time for spring days. Other décor and prop ideas are stuffed animals for the kids, matching Easter outfits, baskets, and bunny ears.
Since we take regular photos before church, the kids are usually all dressed up and ready to go. Consider what time works best for your family to have everyone look their best, even if it's just a casual shot. I think coordinating with an event that you've already planned works best for timing and simplicity.
This gorgeous shot is from Jamie Moore. It involves a bit more with the props and flowers, but it shows how just a simple portrait with movement and action can look totally professional.
Tip #3: Use a Tripod and Timer, or Ask a Neighbor or Family Member to Take Photos.
This is usually the part that takes a little prep, because even if you can wrangle up the kids and get the sunlight just right, you might have forgotten you need someone to push an actual button. I recommend planning for a tripod shot or asking someone ahead of time to help. Drew usually takes our porch photos for us with my phone, so to include him in the shot I just ask a neighbor to help out.
We take 95% of our photos with an iPhone and they turn out great, but if you have access to a nicer camera, use that! You really don't need to have a professional camera or photographer to make a great image.
This photo from Lombard and Fifth was taken inside with natural light. The girls look so cute in their matching outfits, and just a few florals on the mantelpiece give it a bright and elevated vibe for spring.
Tip #4: Use a Few Simple Tricks to Pose Your Kids.
The best photo-op moments with your kids really don't need lots of posing. I always love to make the scene feel sweet and natural. Here are a few easy tricks to help them work the camera:
- Give them a quick tickle for more natural looking smiles.
- Encourage siblings to interact with each other for less posed photos.
- Give them stuffed animals or bubbles to play with.
- If you're taking photos in the backyard, ask the kids to race toward the camera as you or someone else snaps the picture.
- Say something like "Best smile gets a penny!" or offer them some kind of little treat as a reward.
This shot from Fatima Dedrickson shows how you can make a portrait feel elegant and natural without posing too much. Interacting with your little is the best way to capture authentic emotion and gesture.
Most importantly, don't stress yourself or your partner out, as that tends to amp up the kids and make them resist the whole process. And if things do start to go south, embrace those moments of imperfection, like...
Because hey, life isn't perfect. Happy Spring!