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Family photos hold a special place in my heart, especially the ones I try to take each year on our family vacation. The pictures help me to create cute little photo books as timeless reminders of all the fun (and craziness) we experience on these vacations. While matching outfits may seem appealing and a must to some people, it’s the genuine moments and the emotions captured that truly matter. With two teenagers, I’ve finally let go of the idea of us all having outfits that match or at least blend together.

Finding clothes that both my kids will wear, and then finding something for my husband and myself that blends with their outfits was causing me way too much stress. As the photographer of my own family photos, working the remote trigger and setting up the camera was enough to deal with on its own without having to worry about finding the perfect outfits. So, for the last two years, my crew has showed up for family photos in shorts, t-shirts, and baseball caps (usually barefoot)!

And do you know what? These have been the least stressful family photos I have ever taken of my crew! And much to my surprise, I kinda like them. They are much more representative of what we look like typically. But don’t worry, when it’s holiday picture time for our Christmas card this year, I feel certain I will put a bit more effort into finding something a little more put together for our photos. Maybe…

But for now, gone are the days when matching outfits were a prerequisite for my family photos. Instead, I’ve decided to celebrate the individual personalities and personal “styles” of my kids. The family photos from this trip reflect the true essence of my family, from the hats and shirts that don’t match to the legs covered in sand and bare feet in the pictures. Well…I guess it doesn’t really reflect my daughter’s true style, but there’s no way we could all dress to even come close to her normal standards!

If you have time or want to put forth more effort than we did, maybe think about setting up a cute little umbrella and some fun chairs? Or have a few colorful beach towels. You can do anything! For my crew, we just used the beautiful sand dunes as our backdrop.

The beach is almost always windy, and we all know the wind can play both friend and foe during a beach photoshoot. Embrace the breeze and let it create natural movements in your clothing and hair, adding an element of life and playfulness to your images. Or find yourself a cute, fun hat to wear. That’s what my daughter and I did. Baseball caps meant we didn’t have to worry about our hair! Just be sure to keep an eye on the weather forecast and plan your photoshoot accordingly, taking advantage of golden hours or overcast skies for beautiful lighting.

If you have little ones, maybe an activity to keep them engaged like building sandcastles, splashing in the waves, or strolling along the shoreline. Candid shots of laughter, playfulness, and shared experiences make great family photographs, but when you’re taking your own family photos using a remote trigger, it can be kind of tricky.

So for this year’s pictures we went for plain, boring family photos. No props or fancy set ups. We were also trying to beat the rain. The forecast was rain every evening, so we jumped at a break in the afternoon storms, posed ourselves quickly, got a few photos, and made it inside just before the storm hit.

Ultimately, the most significant aspect of these family photos is the love and happiness they represent, regardless of matching outfits or picture-perfect conditions. We did not have matching outfits, or a beautiful setting sun in the background, but I have plenty of pictures to document our wonderful trip to Kiawah!

Remember…it’s not about the perfect outfits or the perfect hair. It’s about capturing a memory from your trip or a particular season of life! And that is exactly what I did with my crew. If I can help you out with family photos, you can find me over at Paula Mason Photography. I know there’s not a beach nearby, but how about one of our local lakes? I’m game if you are…

Until next time…

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