Welcome to my blog! This is where I’ll post news about Julie Kubal Photography including sneak peeks of recent photo shoots, information about special deals for clients, and photo-related musings. Feel free to leave comments and shoot me questions.
Notice something different??
It’s true. This is not my usual blog post, because I’m hoping to provide new kinds of useful content and this is just the first of many new articles that I will be rolling out in the upcoming months.
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As a mom, I know that getting everyone dressed and out the door can be the struggle of a lifetime, even on a normal day. So when it comes time to take family portraits it can be a scramble to find and choose the right ensembles to get everyone looking just right.
To avoid the nerve-wracking stress of deciding what to wear for your family portrait, I recommend planning one week in advance. This gives you plenty of time to wash, iron, and purchase the pieces you’ll use. When every family member is wearing an outfit that him or her feel great, suddenly the smiles comes a little more naturally, shoulders loosen up, and everything comes together in a way you never thought possible.
Thankfully, after working with hundreds of families over the years, I’ve picked up on a few simple tips for dressing your crew. Keep them in mind when you’re preparing for this year’s family portraits!
5 Styling Tips for Family Portraits:
Tip #1 – Do a little scheming.
Choosing a color palette to coordinate your family is an excellent way to keep a cohesive look, while resisting the urge to be too matchy-matchy. Find color scheme inspiration on Pinterest or Design Seeds and then translate your palette into everyone’s wardrobe. Try to include some bold colors on top and some on the bottom, which will help the photo achieve a sense of balance. Also consider echoing tones through bold necklaces, shoes, shorts, and barrettes.
Tip # 2 – Aim for 3D.
Layers and accessories add dimension to family portraits, but also give you the flexibility to incorporate a variety of color tones and fabric textures. Aim to have everyone’s outfit incorporate a minimum of 3 elements, which could be a skirt-cardigan-belt, or a jean-shirt-vest combo, for example. An ensemble made of 3 elements always looks just a little bit more complete, while allowing each family member to have their own slightly unique look.
Tip # 3 – Strike out beyond the Sunday best.
Looking dapper is great, but if your kids (or you!) are terrified of wrinkles in newly pressed pants, chances are their (and your) discomfort will ring through in the photos. If your children have a favorite piece of clothing, jewelry, or family heirloom consider working that touch of uniqueness into the photo. Looking back years from now, remembering their favorite pair of pink converse will be sweeter than even the slickest suit and tie. If you have a special piece in mind, make it the priority and coordinate other colors around it.
Tip #4 – Know where your family portraits will hang out.
Making your photo session worth the investment means getting your images out of some forgotten computer file, and onto the wall where they can be enjoyed and admired. If your family portraits are destined for the wall or mantel, consider what how your outfits will work with the interior decorating. If walls are cream, mocha, or beige, consider some vibrant lively tones to make the images truly pop.
Tip #5 – Do a trial run & bring a backup.
Once you’ve narrowed down your looks, lay them out on the floor and snap a picture to see how you like the overall effect of your handiwork. You might notice that you’ve accidentally put everyone in solid colors, or that all the kids are wearing the same navy blue pants. Don’t panic. Just rearrange, adjust accessories, or send me a snapshot of your clothes so I can help! Either way, always come with at least one backup to the family portrait session – just in case you fall out of love with fuchsia at the last minute.
About the Author:
Julie Kubal is a child and family photographer serving Washington D.C., Maryland, and Northern Virginia. She is passionate about creating warm and meaningful artwork through modern portraits and lifestyle photography at a location of your choice.
Ada and I first crossed paths when she participated in my Snap Happy Workshop several months back, so when her husband Terry’s birthday rolled around she came to me with a creative way to mark the occasion with a family portrait session in nearby Rock Creek Park.
But in order for the family portrait to earn a place on the mantel, everyone needed to look their best. Choosing the perfect outfit for a portrait session can be a challenge for anyone, but I find that moms in particular bear the brunt of the pressure. After all, not only does she have to find a flattering ensemble for herself, but she also has to dress and press the rest of the family. If Ada was feeling the pressure however, she did an excellent job of keeping her cool. Prior to the shoot she consulted with me about clothing choices by sending me some quick snapshots taken on her cell phone. Two points for cleverness? I’d say so.
Ada’s preparation proved to be well worth the effort. She chose a cohesive color palette that encompassed everyone: from the plaid pattern in Avi’s shorts, to Maya’s sunhat, to the necklace & earring set mom wore so well. Not to mention that the vibrant colors that Ada selected played beautifully against the lush green backdrop of the scenic Peirce Mill in Rock Creek Park.
Mid springtime in Washington D.C. is an idyllic time to shoot a family portrait outdoors as nature does most of the work of providing the perfect backdrop. Generally in these few final hours before sunset, the sky glows with a kind of peach colored light that adds a special warmth to every shot. Yet, no matter how much we willed it to be otherwise, the weather had other plans for us.
Slowly but surely gray clouds cloaked the sky and the rumbling tones of thunderstorms loomed in the distance. It can be a risky business partnering with Mother Nature on a photo shoot, but she kept herself in check long enough for us to capture some beautiful images of Avi and Maya with mom and dad.
Finding the perfect gift for a husband and father can be a very difficult. After having spent an afternoon in the park with this beautiful family, I would say that Ada (and the kids) hit a home run and gave dad the perfect birthday present – the making of a memory.
Tags: birthday photoshoot, child photographer, dad birthday gift, family photographer, family photoshoot, family portrait, Julie Kubal, kids portrait, washington D.C. photographer, Washington D.C. portraits
This tiny person just turned one yesterday! I cannot wait to see her in a couple of weeks to help mark the occasion with some photos. I wonder how much she’s grown since I last saw her in back in February. Happy birthday sweet girl!
Sumona and I first met when she signed up for my Snap Happy Class several months ago. During the one-day workshop together, we reviewed some practical techniques that she could apply to her everyday photography. Since then she’s been working to spruce up the snapshots that she captures of her growing family. Even though she’s finding her stride behind the camera, there still comes a time when it’s best to nestle up against your family on the front stoop and let someone else worry about the lighting, angles, and composition. So when Sumona told me she wanted to capture some new family portraits with everyone together, I was more than happy to spend an afternoon at her Georgetown home.
Sumona and her husband Christopher were naturals, scooping their girls up into warm embraces and holding still just long enough for me to click and capture a piece of their world. That is the beauty of shooting family portraits right at home. The poses arise organically and the smiles portray nothing but love and warmth.
Not to mention that we couldn’t have been graced with a more perfect day. It was one of those luscious spring evenings when the sun itself seems to collaborate in the shoot by dousing us in gorgeous golden light. And while those precious short hours are a photographer’s dream, they also present a challenge when it comes to working with young children whose bedtime is fast approaching.
After a little song and dance behind the camera, everyone stayed cued in to the end of the shoot. Little Usha, age 1, was content to jingle and jangle away at a keychain – save for a few tired gazes, and big sister Uma, age 5, stayed engaged long enough for me to capture her deep brown eyes and tender smile.
As I sat down to edit this collection, flipping through every image impressed upon me just how wonderfully natural this family is in each other’s arms. The strong bond between them is just as evident in the pixels as it was in the moment.
It was a pleasure to share these few golden hours with Sumona, Christopher, and to take part in a personal moment during our family portrait session together.
Thinking of June today on her fourth birthday and remembering this joyful photo of her playing on her backyard swing. Happy birthday June!
Another one of my favorite little girls who I’ve photographed over the years is having a birthday today. Wishing Sophia a very happy birthday!
Below is fun progression of images showing how she’s growing up from just before her first birthday, then at age two, and then at age three. What I love about these pictures is the glint of excitement and mischief you can see in her eyes, even from when she was a baby. Can’t wait to see her again this year!
Vivienne – A Retrospective in Photos from Birth to Age Four
Almost four years ago, I first photographed Vivienne when she was just a week old. I’ve been back seven(!) more times since then and have watched her grow from a sleepy newborn into a beautiful, vivacious little girl. I love looking back at all of the images from our photo sessions together and seeing the transformation. And I’m looking forward to capturing great memories for her and her family for many years to come. Happy birthday to Vivienne!
The youngest Yankee fan of all time, Conor is now two! This is one of my favorite newborn photos of all time. Happy birthday Conor!
He was just over two months old in these photos. Now this little guy is 4 years old and a big brother to two younger siblings! I remember that he promptly fell asleep just after I arrived to do the session and I ended up capturing some very peaceful images of his parents holding him lovingly as he slumbered. When he awoke, we were rewarded with adorable smiles, intense eyes, and a glimpse of his budding personality. Happy birthday Leif!
Tags: blue eyes
I first met this little guy and his mama almost 6 years ago at the Breastfeeding Center when we were both new moms. The family ended up being one of my very first clients when I was just starting my child photography business after transitioning from photojournalism. I was so thrilled mom and dad entrusted me to photograph their new baby boy. It seems like just yesterday!
Happy 6th birthday Liam!