If I could only have one Christmas present, it would be a photo of my family. Ask me again next year and I'll say the same thing.
Like words, photos are one of the few ways to pause time for just a moment and capture exactly who we are as we are (and how we will never be again).
When we do photo shoots, I try my best to do some advance planning for our outfits so that we all coordinate. Matching perfectly isn't necessary, of course (nor is it even advisable) - but I've found it does help to have a general theme of sorts. This year, we opted for basic black - with neutrals & burgundy as secondary colors.
My girls all wore dresses from Bonnie Jean (courtesy of Bonnie Jean) and I was delighted by the quality and workmanship of each of the gowns.
Our 10-year-old wore the Jennifer Dress. This knee-length number is perfect for a tween - with simple rhinestone embellishments and a mesh skirt that makes spinning a necessity. Her shoes were simple ballet flats by CB Girls that I bought at Dillard's about a year ago.
Our 7-year-old wore the Brayonna Dress and it suited her adventurous spirit just right. The Faux Suede Fringe is fancy enough for special occasions, while also having a bit of a rustic outdoorsy flair. This dress also comes with a removable fringe necklace. On her feet, she wore the Amelia Boot by See Kai Run - regal in design, practical in comfort. She could easily scramble up trees in these snug winter boots.
Our 4-year-old wore the Erickah Dress with the accompanying Justina Jacket. The front zipper and rose detailing are elegant and pretty. She also wore See Kai Run shoes - the sleek and sweet Adeline Mary Janes.
For our 3-month-old baby boy, I scored a handsome little suit by Andrew Fezza from thredUP. The 4-piece outfit (button-up shirt, slacks, vest, and tie) was only $7.99! He wore super soft and snuggly booties by Zutano (which we love). We would have gone with bare toes instead (who doesn't love baby toes?), but the afternoon turned out to be on the chilly side.
As for Tim, he wore dark wash Lucky jeans (Nordstrom Rack) and a button-up shirt (Burlington Coat Factory). I went simple in dark wash bootcut James Jeans (thredUP again!), a black button-up cardigan by DownEast Basics that I have had FOREVER, and a plaid scarf with colors to match the baby's suit.
The five "tricks" I try to follow when dressing for photos are: (1) coordinate, but don't match, (2) layer, (3) make liberal use of accessories, (4) wear something that makes YOU feel beautiful, and (5) use props. This is the one year I slacked in the props department. It was enough to get us all dressed, plus the baby nursed, etc. In years past, we have pulled out our favorite books as props and that's become a tradition of sorts. We'll probably do some literary shots again next year, but I'm not picky.
As far as I'm concerned, I already have my Christmas Present. :)
* All photos by the incredibly talented Amber Lea of Amber Lea Photography. Highly recommended.