5 Ways To Make Your Next Family Photo Session Great! + A HUGE Giveaway


Me: “Fix your hair! Smile bigger. Girls! Stop messing around! Sit up straight! PLEASE!”


This is the way pictures typically go for us. Mama, can you relate? Getting pictures as a family of 5 can be daunting. Okay, in my husband’s words, it can be down right miserable. After each photo session we have sworn we were never going to do a sit down session again. Recently, I had an a-ha moment. I feel it is so important to capture the moments that might have otherwise been forgotten. So, we will always get family photos. I realized that there are a few key things we could change to make the experience enjoyable and not such a dreaded event. I think we often think that because the result is so terrific(the pictures), that struggling through a 1 to 4 hour session is okay. But, it doesn’t have to be a struggle. Here are some things you can do to make it fun!


1. Let Go of Perfect - I’ve found the best pictures are not ones where everyone is looking perfect. The best shots are candid. I love pictures of kids when they are serious or crying or picking a flower or standing behind a tree. I love them even more when they are a little rough around the edges. Imperfect pictures are the best because they are able capture their individual personality. So, let go of that pearly white shot where your children are looking perfect. When you are able to let go of that, the stress is immediately lifted off your shoulders. 


2. Do it at your house - Are you tired of going to a studio? Do you have a newborn? Maybe you have multiple children and the idea of traveling 30 minutes to take shots in front of some flowers sounds exhausting. Why not have them at your house? You don’t need a mansion with a perfect background. The more rustic your home is, the better actually. Next time, ask your photographer if they will come to your house. We were able to capture our family, as is. I loved it. 


3. Use Pinterest - I have a whole board devoted to headshots and family shots. You can share the board with your photographer so they can get ideas and understand your vision and just what you are looking for in a session. We do this when get our hair done. So, why don’t we do it with pictures? Get on board ladies and check out the Pinterest button below!


4. Set the time limit - Every family is different. Some families have a long window before everyone starts to fall apart. Our family has about 30 minutes, if we are lucky. Let the photographer know upfront that time is limited. Typically, your photographer can get some great shots regardless of that time limit. Trust me. Again, if you can let go of the perfect and set a time limit, you’ll be surprised on how great your pictures turn out!


5. Choose the RIGHT photographer -  Find an efficient and talented photographer. When I am looking for the right person I think who is efficient. Kids only last so long. You need to make sure you have a photographer who can rapid fire take pictures of your kiddos before a meltdown comes up! You also want a photographer who believes in all of the points above. A person who can capture the perfectly imperfect pictures. A photographer who is flexible on location to take your pics is important! A person who is creative and open to your ideas is so fun!


So, you are probably wondering where a photographer like this is at. Well, now is the fun part. It is giveaway time. My friends and fellow Mamas,  I have this amazing photographer who is teaming up with me to give you all of this and more. She is the photographer who came to my house and captured our family as we are. She is an award winning, local photographer who is so creative and innovative. Samantha Owenson is the Founder of Samantha Owenson Photography and is giving one lucky reader a chance to win a COMPLETE Family Package valued at over $450. Are you kidding me right now? No, I’m not. This is an AMAZING opportunity for you to get the photos you’ve been dreaming about. Not only are you eligible to enter for the family session, but there is EVEN more. We teamed up with some a few other local companies to give you just what you need for your next session! Here are the details on what is in included and how to enter the Instagram Giveaway...

Head over to Instagram and click on our profile... @catchthismama and you will see the following information...

One fortunate person will win…1 Iowa (HOME) mug from @william_and_noelle valued at $10 , 3 handmade infant headbands from @ann_marie_co valued at $21, 1 handmade adult poppy print mini skirt from @gretchenbohling valued at $125 , 1 #ownyourmomlife t-shirt from @catchthismama valued at $27, and 1 FREE family session valued at over $450 by @sowenson. That is a value of $633

To Enter: 

  1. Follow Me
  2. Like this photo AND tag a friend in the comments for your entry (one tag per comment)
  3. Go to @william_and_noelle and repeat steps 1 and 2 …. Your entry is complete after you have gone through the loop and returned back to my feed. 


You must be following all of us and tag at least one friend to be eligible to win at the close of the giveaway. You must also be willing to travel to the Des Moines metro to receive the free photo session. The giveaway closes at 11:59 pm CST on Wednesday, June 7th. The winner will be selected and contacted within 1 day of the close of the giveaway. You have 24 hours to claim your prize. This is in no way sponsor or endorsed by Instagram. Continental USA only. Prizes are non-transferable. 

Good luck Mama. You deserve this!

With Love and Gratitude,


A Minimalist's Guide to What a New Baby Really Needs

GUEST POST BY: Mandy Forlenza Sticos from SimpleBabyBlog.com


Buying 'must haves' for a newborn can be overwhelming.  There is a fine line between what a baby will really need and buying items that will just create another pile of "stuff".  For those interested in keeping it simple, we've compiled a list of what a new baby really needs... minimalist style.  



Ergo Baby Swaddle  This swaddle is super soft and with a large pocket for legs, it grows with the baby.  The arm pockets are a must for babies that are known to Houdini out of regular swaddles!

Giggle Organic Mitts  In the early weeks, it is a struggle to keep mittens on those tiny hands. Even the infamous elastic mittens seem to stretch and slide off. These Giggle mitts with a soft band will stay on and keep baby scratch free!

Under The Nile Blankets  These blankets are the perfect size for covering little legs in the car seat, stroller and for throwing in the diaper bag 'just in case' without taking up a ton of room. The extremely soft organic Egyptian cotton is a good blanket for tummy time as well!




Green Sprouts Brush and Comb Set  We love this set because the brush is super soft and perfect for a newborn.  Made from durable wood, the set is small enough to let little hands use on their own as your little one grows.

Natursutten Pacifier  Made out of 100% natural rubber, these pacifiers are soft and pliable.  We find these a great alternative to any hard plastic pacifier; after all it will spend hours at a time in the baby's mouth!

Keekaroo Peanut Changing Pad   This ergonomic shaped changing pad is comfortable, stylish and most importantly; easy to keep clean!  Gone are the days of washing changing pad covers endlessly, simply wipe clean.  We think it's a must have!


Wimmer Ferguson Sights and Sounds The perfect toy for your little one to gaze upon while in the car seat or stroller.  A velcro closure easily keeps it in place and is evenuseful for keeping them busy by attaching to the crib, bassinet or activity gym.  Bonus points for the teether which brings this toy way into the 6 month range of use!

Wee Gallery Art Baby Cards  Newborns love black and white.  These simple and cards are a wonderful way to introduce imagery to your newborn.  Simply leave one card on the side of the bassinet during awake time and watch then stare with delight.  They easily grow with baby and can be used as a teaching tool later on.

Kids Preferred Soft Book  This book will last for your little one's entire first year.  With a small baby safe mirror, and stimulating soft paged graphics it's a great stimulating tool for the first few months.  Later, the crinkle pages and squeaky noises will keep them smiling!



For more on Mandy's minimalist style, check out her site simplebabyblog.com