Styled Family Shoot

It started as a Pinterest conversation.  Meghan and I swapped inspirational images last summer in preparation for their annual family photo session  and – somehow – our inspiration became reality. We dreamed and schemed for months, we planned and hoped (and stressed) in the final weeks, and somewhere along the way the reality was so much more perfect than any of the dreams.

A styled family shoot is not for everyone.  Honing the vision, gathering the props, creating the set is a time-and-work intensive project.  Between three of us, we logged a conservative 15 man hours in two days and then took the photos and tore down the set.

Creating a styled family shoot requires hard work . . . but creates astonishing results.

How to create a styled family photo shoot

1. Inspiration.

Inspiration comes in many forms.  For Jason & Meghan, the greenhouse family photos was a natural progression of their life.  Their home, their family, their work revolves around the growing of plants in a greenhouse and the growing of children in the living room.  Blending the two seemed almost too obvious as the set took shape.   You might also find inspiration through Pinterest or in home decor or in a favorite art piece or in a family tradition.
2. Idea.

Turning an inspiration into an idea can be overwhelming.  You wouldn’t believe the number of emails, messages, texts, images, shopping trips that Meghan and I had to sort through in order to sift out the chaff. But rejected all but the best ideas, we created a plan to act upon.

Who would shoot? Me! Where would we shoot? The empty greenhouse! What date will we shoot? Put it on the calendar! What do we need? Make a shopping list! What will everyone wear? Lay out the outfits!

Concocting details and writing out plans isn’t necessarily the fun part (except for those of us who actually enjoy making lists!) but it’s the necessary part before the fun.
3. The Implementation

For us, implementing the ideas meant a craft-and-lights party on Saturday morning before the Sunday photo shoot. We made the mason jar chandelier, my husband strung over 1000 lights and tested the generator (an electrician in the family is handy!), we brought the bench out of the shed, we gathered all the towels and blankets in preparation for Sunday, we plotted for the fog machine (fog machine?! yes!).

As Sunday’s sunset fell into dusk and on into twilight and darkness, our little corner was incandescent with love, laughter, candles, and a thousand Christmas lights.

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