Fall Family Photos

It’s fall.  Time for football, chili, hayrides, and family photos.  So, you’ve decided on a photographer, and found a date that works for your family’s busy schedule.

Great, but now you keep asking yourself questions: What will everyone wear? How will I get the kids to behave? No need to panic. Here are 10 tips for getting the most out of your family photo shoot this fall.

  1. Begin with the end in mind.  Are you planning to hang a 30 x 40 canvas in your living room, or hoping to send out a festive holiday card?  Think about what look and feel you want the photos to have.  This will help you decide where you’ll want to take pictures, and the most important question: What should we wear?

  2. Moms: Choose your outfit first!  If you don’t like what you're wearing, you won’t like your pictures - no matter how cute your kids are!  And if you can swing it, get your hair and makeup professionally done.  When you are feeling pretty and confident, it will reflect on the rest of the family.

  3. Dads:  The more you engage, the quicker it will be over.  I promise. 

  4. Color Pallet: For family pictures, it helps to have complementary colors, so picking a color scheme you like works best.  I recommend starting with 2-3 neutral colors ( tan, gray, denim, navy, white or black). Then add in 1 or 2 brighter colors ( pink, red, yellow, orange, turquoise or purple).

  5. Think Texture And Layers:  It adds dimension to have some texture and layering in your outfits.  For boys, that’s usually a couple of shirts – maybe a plain tee under a cool checked shirt, sweater of jacket.  Girls are easy!  Layer with a skirt, shirt, sweater, tights and maybe a hair accessory.  A striped scarf over a plain shirt is a great layering piece without adding too much. Scarves, necklaces, hats, hair bows, and socks can also bring a lot to your images.  It’s that finishing touch that brings everything together.  This is also where you can add your brighter colors. 

  6. Be well rested and well fed: Don’t schedule your photo session around a nap or another activity.  And make sure to give everyone a snack before the photo shoot.  (Not gonna lie - I won’t judge if you decide to have a glass of wine before you come).

  7. Be sure to leave plenty of time to get ready:  Everyone is running around before a photo shoot.  Someone is always inevitably grouchy about their outfit, or irritated because they’d rather be somewhere else.  Make sure you have time for showers, dressing, and grooming.  When a family shows up rushed and grumpy, it sets the tone for a stressful shoot.

  8. Have fun with your family:  Have fun. Laugh.  Joke.  Play.   Doing these things will allow the photographer to capture the real emotion of your family.  And it's the perfect time to create a fun family memory. 

  9. Let the photographer do the work:  Sit back and relax.  Share your visions with the photographer, but let her run the show.  She’ll have the best answers for lighting, posing and coaxing a smile or two out of everyone.

  10. Enjoy the Experience: Don’t just focus on the final product; enjoy the experience.  Yes, photo shoots can be stressful, especially for the mommies, but instead of worrying if the resulting photos will be perfect, embrace that life ISN'T perfect and just have fun.  Great photos are reflective of your life exactly at the time they're taken.  If your oldest won't stop running around, or the baby won't stop drooling, or the dog won't sit still - that's OK because that chaos is your life, and your life is beautiful.  Enjoy the shoot as a time to fully embrace how crazy, fun, and wonderful family life can be.  

And, then, after you’ve survived your shoot, thank the photographer for her time and go have a drink! Cheers.


Cathryn Farley is a homegrown Kansas City native.  She attended Blue Springs High School, graduated from William Jewell College with a major in psychology and completed her masters in marketing from Webster University. 

Cathryn realized that she had an eye for design and an interest for marketing. In 2006, she started her own commercial photography business.  She has worked with companies for the past 10 years helping them achieve a cohesive visual message.  

As an entrepreneur, Cathryn wanted to bring TSG to Kansas City to promote other small businesses and build on the tribe of small business owners in her hometown. As a photographer, she appreciates the beautiful visual imagery, branding, marketing, social media and promotion that goes into The Scout Guide.  She can’t wait to share Kansas City with people around the country, while also introducing KC locals to parts of the City maybe they’ve never seen before.

When she’s not working, Cathryn spends the majority of her free time with her husband Kyle, and 3 amazing children. She also loves to scope out local activities, take yoga classes, read, travel,  and enjoy a glass of wine (or two).