Now that it’s November, I know a lot of you ladies are thinking about family photoshoots and Christmas cards. I’m so excited to bring you my first photoshoot giveaway opportunity with Bleudog Fotography today, someone I’ve been working with for years.
Shawna is the warm, spunky, wonderful lady behind Bleudog Fotography — a wildly talented local Orange County natural light photographer. We met for coffee when I was pregnant with Vienna in 2014, having only chatted via Instagram previously, and instantly hit it off. She has an eye for capturing beauty in everything and is a grandma herself, so she’s amazing with children and specializes in birthing sessions, newborns, and families! She always makes us feel really comfortable around the camera, which is what sets her apart as a family photographer.
Shawna and I have teamed up to offer my SoCal readers an opportunity to win a FREE Christmas mini session anywhere in Orange County or San Diego County. A mini session is 45 minutes, and you get all the images plus 4 edited photos (worth $450) — plenty of images to get this year’s Christmas card done and even outfit the house with some new prints!
To enter the photoshoot giveaway,
- Visit Bleudog Fotography’s website,
- Give @bleudogfotography and @irinabond a follow on Instagram,
- Subscribe to my blog, and
- Leave a comment below with your funniest/worst family photoshoot stories.
The lucky winner will be chosen in 2 weeks (November 19, 2018), and the voucher will expire May 1, 2019.
Speaking of Christmas cards, I’m ordering mine from Minted again this year. I love their holiday cards because they’re designed by independent artists around the globe and have really special luxe features to their cards, envelopes, and stamps. They also have a FREE styling service (text your photo to 415-301-CARD), but my favorite new feature this year has to be their FIND IT FAST™ option where you upload your family portrait, and it self-populates in the previews for all the designs! Seriously genius.
If you’d like to take advantage of Minted’s 15% off code right now JOY18, head to their site here. It ends tomorrow, but keep a lookout for at least one more promotion around Black Friday/Cyber Monday. They usually have a sale around then too if you don’t have your photos ready yet right now.
Here are some of my contenders for this year’s card:
Which one is your favorite?
Now onto my Christmas family photoshoot tips.
Most of us dread this yearly shoot, especially when there’s small children involved that don’t exactly follow directions and husbands that are not fans of the camera, haha.
- Make sure you have everyone’s outfits ready to go long before the shoot. Lay out or hang everything all at once to make sure it goes together nicely and that you didn’t forget any essential wardrobe piece for anyone.
- Schedule haircuts a few weeks before the shoot.
- Start the process of getting ready at least a couple hours before you need to leave. There’s nothing worse than rushing and not having enough time to do someone’s hair, your lashes, etc.
- Wear Spanx and bring any touchup makeup you might need as well as a hairbrush.
- Feed everyone a snack before the shoot, but not a full meal so you’re neither starving nor bloated.
- Come dressed and pretty much ready to shoot, right out of the car.
- Bring non-messy snacks, bribing candy, and water.
- Bring emergency photoshoot outfit changes for the kids and a Tide stick, just in case.
- Bring comfier clothes for afterwards, and go to dinner so you can relax a little after all the work of getting everyone ready and the actual shoot.
- Don’t stress about things being absolutely perfect — just strive for excellence. Part of the beauty of a yearly family shoot is that you can capture how your family has grown throughout the years and the current stage that you’re in.
- Remember that shooting multiple people with different personalities and interests all at once in a short timeframe is a huge task in itself. Trust the process, and let the photographer guide you.
I asked Shawna of Bleudog Fotography for some of her own tips as well from a photographer’s perspective:
- Dress classic and timeless. You want this photograph to last. Think, “In 20 years, will this dress be fashionable?” Don’t wear lots of jewelry or trendy accessories. Keep colors muted and neutral.
- Be as natural in your movements as possible. Remember the camera is on you at all times. Think to yourself, “Am I in a good position to be photographed?” Even if you aren’t posing (which I’m not really a fan of anyway), do you have a pleasant look on your face? Is your back to the camera?
- Do you know your good side? YOU MUST KNOW YOUR GOOD SIDE! Take selfies before your shoot so you can see what side is best and what angle is best. This is not vain — this is smart, good self-love. Everyone wants a good picture, and you pay a lot of money for good photography. Make sure you are prepared for the photographer when you shoot. You’ll be glad you did!
- You have to be “on” the whole time. There’s no time to be shy. Even if you’re naturally shy, get over it for the hour that you’re with your photographer!
- Shoulders down, relaxed hands, graceful movements…slow. Don’t be in a hurry. I try and make shoots not stressful and relaxed. Let the kids run, walk around. I will follow them. It’s hard, I know, but the stress translates in the photo. Family photography is not for the faint of heart, but they’ll end up beautiful if you follow my tips!
I do sell the Lightroom preset I use on almost all my photos here if you’re interested. Be sure to purchase and download on a computer, even if you only want the mobile pack.
I know I’ll also get a lot of questions on my dress. It’s by Adrianna Papell and a piece that I’ve been looking at for years for previous shoots. I’m so glad I finally got to wear her! It’s definitely a timeless dress and super appropriate for moms while still being effortlessly sexy. You can find it on the Adrianna Papell site here as well as on the Nordstrom site here.
Photos by Bleudog Fotography