Friday, October 11, 2013

Card Prep Week - A recap

By now you should have the perfect card ready to mail out for the holidays. But just in case you are still unsure, here are our top tips for getting it just right...

1. Be you. Pick a style of clothing that is comfortable for you. Real smiles aren't going to happen if you are worried about something fitting, a color being flattering, or your kids melting down because Johnny hates ties and Jane doesn't want to wear a headband. You know what you/your family/your pets like - so just be you. Because we think you are pretty great.

Merry Momma Cindy here... Okay, friends...confession time. I don't really love a horse. I actually got bucked off of one at a birthday party. (Last year, like when I was in my thirties. A child's birthday party. Horses don't really love me either. Clearly.) the Merry Munsons would never have a horse in our photos and that's okay. Just like it is okay for the Fords to have a horse in their photo! BE YOU!

2. Do what you can afford. It would be lovely if everyone that took family pictures purchased their clothes from Persnickety/JCrew/Nordstrom with Tori Burch shoes for Mom and Joyfolie on the feet of our littles. But. That ain't gonna happen. AND THAT'S OK. Do what makes sense for you and your family. That includes picking a photographer, gathering props, using a designer, and printing. Don't go all crazy.

{This entire outfit is from Old Navy and is less than $100 and the Merry Mommas LOVE IT and know it would be DARLING in a Christmas card photo!}

3. Get organized. Don't wait to the last minute - this really just creates more stress than you may already be feeling. If you need a couple of hours to go shopping, gather props, make accessories, etc... then take the time - even if you need to get a babysitter - take the time! And give yourself EXTRA time if you are ordering clothes online because you may need to send something back if it doesn't fit.

4. Be prepared. For anything! Be flexible with the weather - be ready to change things up a bit if needed. Have an alternate plan just in case "the PERFECT field" is mowed down. (And work with your photog on the front end). But, also be prepared with hair brushes, bobby pins, snacks, and bribes (yes, bribes. Y'all - it's one 2-hour period. Give the kid a coke for smiling. They will survive) because you want a great finished product.

See! Kids love cookies!

5. Be reasonable. Photographers are AMAZING. They can do so much these days with photoshop. BUT, that doesn't mean that they should HAVE to. Be reasonable in your requests. Remember that you aren't their only client, so don't go asking them to put highlights in your hair simply because you didn't have time. (You think we are joking...)

6.  Use Props (or Not). We love a prop. We think they add some dimension and interest to a picture, but that doesn't mean that you HAVE to have them. If you choose to use a prop, make sure that it fits well with your look. And again, be prepared that it may not work out. If picture day ends up being windy and you want to hold a banner, then be ready to either not use it or figure out a way to keep it from blowing up in your sweet faces!

A tent! A beautiful quilt! Fun trinkets! These props are good!

7. Use layers and textures. We really can't stress this enough. We mentioned it on our Wednesday post, but this may be our biggest "fashion" tip. Shake things up - don't be matchy matchy - use classic colors and styles to create a timeless photo. Add a scarf, or a vest, or a fun pair of leggings under those boots. If you are worried about making sure all the color combos mesh well, then order clothes from one retailer. Their fabric dye colors generally match, so it takes the stress away from making sure everything looks good together.  Limited budget - we love Old Navy for the family, a little more to play with - check out Next Direct and if you are the kind of people that make us jealous, then we love JCrew!

This family NAILED the layered look!

8. Treat this as a treat. Seriously - take the time to pamper yourself and your family. Use this as a time to be thankful for the blessings in your life. To lift each other up. To preserve your memories. Hubbies may roll their eyes, but in the end they will be just as happy and thankful that you are taking the time as a family to make this happen as you are that all the kids looked at the camera and smiled!

9. Have fun! Y'all. This IS fun!! Be goofy, act silly, jump up and down to make your kids smile. Just ENJOY it. And then when it's all done, go out for ice cream!

10. SHARE THE MERRY! Seriously, we expect our inbox to be FLOODED with submissions post holidays. We can't wait to see what is in store!

And because we love and appreciate our readers and want this time to be as stress-free as possible - here is the {ultimate} recap of the week...

PS - And maybe we can even help you share YOUR MERRY!  Stay tuned...MONDAY is going to be HUGE!

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