My mom wanted to get a professional family photo of our big group this year, knowing that we would all be together over Christmas and it would be the perfect time to capture our crew of eight people. Well, 'perfect' except that end of December means frigid weather and wind, but I still wanted these pictures to be outside in natural light versus cramming us into our house and struggling to find the prettiest lighting. I figured we could bundle up and you could at least see our eyes if it was as cold as it could have been.
Our tried and true family photographer, Andrea, is no longer doing photoshoots so I started searching around online. Then Katie messaged me on Instagram, saying she follows me and is trying to build her photography business in Milwaukee after living in Denver, CO for a few years. Um, perfect! We set the date for the week after Christmas and hoped for the very best with weather. The week before it was literally zero degrees and unbearable outside, but for our selected date it warmed up to forty degrees. Still cold, but at least tolerable.
When I found out I was pregnant, we almost pushed off the big family photos for another year because these pictures will be outdated, missing a family member. But then my mom and I talked about it, and our family will always be changing. Might as well capture the current moment now, and then possibly make it a tradition each year!
I also asked Tony, Lois, Jon and Brittany to come to the shoot since Nate and I selfishly wanted pictures with both sides of our (amazing) family. It's rare that all twelve of us are in the same location and it only happens at Christmas time each year. My parents came from Colorado, my brother from Missouri, and Jon and Brittany from Oregon---we are so lucky to have them travel to us for the holidays!
If you know our family in real life, you know how mind-blowingly involved they are with us. They are the most caring, the most supportive, the most loving extended family we could ever imagine. It's kind of ridiculous, actually, and we appreciate each and every one of these people more than they know. Which is why these pictures mean so much to us.
We were cold but we ran back into our house several times to warm up and shove jelly beans at the kids (and adults). And we are so happy with the results! I'll try to show only my ultimate faves, since Katie gave us over one hundred images and I really do like all of them;)
Gang's all here!
Amazing grandparents, set number one:
Amazing grandparents, set number two:
Our family of five, soon to be six!
Katie suggested one of just Nate and I, which I love and always forget to request. Married almost ten years, and boy we've come a long way!
And just our kiddos, who stole the show as always:
These children take my breath away, seriously.
We did several arrangements with our families, then grabbed the balloons I had picked up at Party City for our baby announcement. I couldn't decide how to go about this photoshoot but after scouring Pinterest, I remembered that mylar number balloons are my favorite. I was hoping for gold but one of the numbers was sold out, so I went with silver. I didn't see any other families on Pinterest holding up a 1, 2, 3, and 4----most said 'BABY' or else they were used for a child's birthday. I also knew that I wanted to shoot in front of the red brick wall at school. I just love that brick wall so much and have always wanted to do a real shoot there. I knew it would be cold and the balloons would add to the moving parts issue, along with getting three cold kids to smile and look happy? Could be a disaster but I wanted to go for it anyway. I found a chalkboard that we have, and I painted the edges gray to hide the worn primary colors that good old Melissa and Doug provided us many years ago. And I envisioned our family of five standing next to each other with the balloons doing most of the work. I'm beyond pleased with how they turned out!
All in all, this photoshoot was so fun and I think the pictures are exactly what we wanted. Big thanks to Katie of Katie Derus Photography for making this work so seamlessly. If you are in the Milwaukee area, she has my vote for your next family pictures. Now how am I going to decide which prints to order? This is the toughest part!