We had our family photos taken last weekend, which I find to be a special sort of hell. Coming up with five outfits that coordinate (but don't match) is a tall order, but far worse are in-the-moment stressors: bribing the kids with candy, cajoling them to smile, trying to get them to just, for love of god, stand still! The whole thing requires time, energy, and money. Even with the best photographer, I find it to be uniquely taxing. All of that melts away, of course, when the pictures arrive. I treasure the work of a skilled professional who can capture the spirit of my kiddos.
'Tis the season for family shoots, so I wanted to share one tip for your next photo session: Take a shot without your kids. Really! Get the group pics out of the way first, then give your littles ones a chance to run around and get their wiggles out. While they do, ask your photographer to take a picture of you by yourself or with your partner if you have one. You are dressed and ready, why not capture it? It takes two minutes, if that!
A fantastic Bay Area photographer, Lindsay Wiser, had us do this the first time we shot with her many years ago; Matt and I have made sure to snap one every time since. I find them so sweet. There’s always a twinkle in our eyes because it feels a little funny to pose together. A nervous laugh, in picture form! But really, how much time and attention do we, as parents, spend on our children? A lot. It's nice to have a reminder that the grown-ups are there, too. If you're still cringing at this idea, think of your kids. Like I said about the selfies, I wish I had more photos of my mom.
But mostly: What tips do you have for surviving a family photo session? How do you get your kids to smile and what's your strategy for picking out clothes? Please hit “Join the discussion” and add them to the comments on this post. Let's help each other out!
PS: Here’s another suggestion, thanks to the SMT Instagram community. I’m told by several photographers that the best treat to bribe kids to smile — a treat that is not messy or sticky or colorful (so as not to tint their little lips) — is a pack of Smarties. They are discreet and easy to eat. So smart! Will definitely pack those next time.
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Five Things To Check Out This Week
PRE-ORDER: I got a sneak peek of Kate Baer’s new book, I Hope This Finds You Well, ahead of its release next week and I can assure you this is one you need on your shelves. Her erasure poetry is a welcome and empowering reframing of the damaging online discourse. Order it at your local bookstore if you can — and buy two copies, one for you and one for a friend. (Bookshop, Amazon)
READ: The headline says it all: “Toxic Positivity Is Very Real, and Very Annoying.” Elizabeth Bernstein, my former Wall Street Journal colleague and all-around wonderful human, explains how damaging it is to force cheerfulness. (WSJ)
SHOP: If you’re looking for a holiday fashion splurge for your kids, I’m absolutely in love with Amaia London. The classic British children’s brand (a favorite of Kate’s!) was kind enough to gift my daughter a dress from their new collection. I love the sweet collar, plus the smocking and the ruffle sleeves. Eyeing their red velvet styles for Christmas Eve. (Amaia London)
READ: Absolutely obsessed with Tracee Ellis Ross on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar and the accompanying profile by Kaitlyn Greenidge. (Harper’s Bazaar)
Happy Election Day, friends! I hope you voted if you are eligible. There are closely-watched gubernatorial races today in Virginia and New Jersey and mayoral races in several cities, including Atlanta, Boston, and Minneapolis.
I’ll see you back in your inboxes on Friday with a full recap of Spencer, the new movie staring Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana. It hits theaters this weekend but I'm hosting an advance screening tomorrow in Los Angeles. Can't wait to meet so many of YOU! My sincere thanks to Instagram and Neon for making this possible.