Hello to you and your beautiful family!  Thank you so much for placing your retainer and trusting us to capture the people who are most valuable to you.  We have put together helpful tips on clothing choices and anything else you might want to know about how to make your photo experience successful :)

First and foremost, relax :)  The more relaxed you are, the more relaxed your children will be for the photo shoot. Please sure the kids have recently eaten (they don't have to be full, but we don't want them hungry either as it could make them less patient with strangers taking their photos over and over again.  But rest assured, we are parents of 9 children and understand the difficulties of coordinating any amount of children to do anything, so we are very patient.  

We also truly believe that laughing makes the best smiles, so we are full of silly jokes to help put your children at ease and encourage them to have fun, which creates those genuine, happy smiles and natural positive expressions you love seeing on their faces.  If you know of some things that make your child laugh, please don't hesitate to let us know. We also encourage you to play and interact with them during the shoot, because kids are most happy and comfortable when parents are happy and comfortable!

We can't wait to work with your family, and please feel free to email kyle@hartsocks.com if you have any questions at all!

For all of your clothing questions please read this next section, and we hope it will help you :)

1. Start with a patterned shirt/dress.  I usually like to pick this item for one of my boys, usually with stripes or plaid. For our daughters, I might buy her a floral dress with a bunch of pretty colors.  Try to pick an item that has at least three different colors in it so you can dress other family members in those colors.  This tip also works great for a starting point to decorate a room in your house!

2. Shop your closets first.  Most of us don’t have the extra cash to go buy new outfits for the whole family.  Once you have the inspiration item, look through your kids’ and spouse’s closets to find clothing that will coordinate with the colors in that main item.  For example, my husband already has quite a variety of collared shirts and neutral slacks, so I don’t normally need to buy anything new for him.

3. Pick colors you want in your home.  If you are going to pay a professional to take photographs for you, you probably want to hang some in your house, right?  Don’t dress your family in traditional red and green Christmas colors if you prefer to decorate with blues and yellows.  Your family photo will look out of place. Of course, this rule doesn't apply if you are just taking pictures to send as a Christmas card.

4. Use Polyvore to get the big picture.  Today was the first day I ever tried using Polyvore myself, and it was really easy!  You have to make an account, of course, but it was really fun putting some outfit ideas together.  Just click on “Create”, then “Set.”  You can search by store, color, item, just about anything.  I quickly made two examples shown below.  If you prefer the non-tech way, be sure to lay out all your outfits together, take a picture, and ensure that all the pieces jive with one another.

5. Work in the neutrals.  You don’t want to just use the colors in your inspirational piece.  Your neutrals may be gray, navy, black, cognac, or beige; but don’t use all of them! If you have three of one gender in your family (like mine), you wouldn't want to put them all in different pants.  Just like your accent colors, try to repeat your neutrals and don’t use more then 2 or 3.

6. Layer, layer, layer.  Once you get the basic clothing items established, layer in the interest!  Think scarves, vests, bows for little girls, jewelry.  Don’t forget to paint your nails!  It’s a little detail that could add the finishing touch to a great photograph.