The holidays are here and that means the obligatory family christmas cards are coming! Now I know that dragging your entire family out in matching sweaters to take some cheesy pictures to slap on a card sounds like a jolly old time, but taking family photos really can be fun! So here's 5 tips to make sure that your portraits are everything you imagine them to be! 1. Make sure you pick a great photographer! Now yes this one seems like a no brainer, but making sure you love your photographer is crucial to making sure your pictures turn out! You want to feel comfortable with them, so you can act natural in your photos. You also want to make sure that their style fits your vision. So look through their portfolio and get a feel for their overall vibe. We go back to the same photographer over and over because we adore her style, her eye for detail, and we feel like we can truly be ourselves around her and that shows in the photos. (PS if you are in the Las Vegas Area, check out Bethany Paige Photography! She is fanatastic!!) 2. Pick outfits that fit your everyday style! Most people dress nice for photos, and I agree that you should dress up more than your normal top-knot and leggings self. But in my opinion if you don't like to wear dresses, you shouldn't try to for pictures. You are just going to look uncomfortable in your photos. Better to choose a nice pair of jeans and a beautiful blouse. Just be yourself. If you wouldn't choose it for yourself to wear for at least a half day, then it's probably not a great choice for photos 3.Don't forget the props! Now I am not saying bring a circus of things, but a cute little wood sign or a garland can go a long way with bringing you diversity in your shots. So grab a personalized last name sign, or a Christmas sign for the kiddos to hold. If you have very little ones, bringing their favorite stuffed animal can also be a cute addition to photos (and a way to keep them happy during the session.) We took my daughters Phoebe Fawn and it definitely kept her from full meltdown mode. 4. Don't forget the couple shot! So for those of you with kiddos you know that they rule the world. Parents will bend over backwards to get good photos of their kids because you want to capture and hold on to every single moment of their fast moving childhood. We worry about them so much that we forget that it is the love we have with our spouse that created them. So give those kiddos an iPad for a couple minutes and gaze into the eyes of that love of yours and get some photos of you two together that is more up to date than you wedding photos ;) 5. Go with the flow It is inevitable that something will go wrong...for us I forgot our prop signs, my daughter Libby wouldn't wear her shoes or touch the dirt at all, and she hated how windy it was and basically had a meltdown overtime the wind gusted. We thought we were going to have to reschedule. So instead we kept the shoes off, we held our baby and we played some games with her. We tickled her and we laughed and we did everything we do normally at home as Bethany shot away. And those photos were absolute gold. The true emotions of happiness are so much more beautiful to capture in that photo than a cheesy smile facing the camera would have been. So don't let the weather or your kiddos meltdown, or that accessory you left at home get you down. Focus on the positive and tickle that kiddo till they smile. Because your family is beautiful and those natural moments will be what you love the most. So pick out those coordinating outfits and pinterest your heart out with all the pose ideas and shots you like! But remember that it is all about capturing your family feels right now. So don't be afraid to giggle, or make jokes, or have a good time while you are taking photos ;) Because the real life ones always turn out the cutest and most treasured. And when you get those amazing portrait photos back, check out the shop for a gorgeous holiday card design! and use code FALALA for 10% off your holiday card order!