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5 Ways to Prepare for Your Family Session

Happy holiday season! Hallmark is running it's Christmas movies, you're bringing all of your dirty clothes home to do laundry, and mom is texting you about when you will be home. That's right! It's time for you to assemble the family Christmas card!

Put simply, Christmas Pictures can be difficult. Why? I've compiled a list of a FEW of the Malizia difficulties throughout the years.

Ages 4-10: Mom- "Mauvette gave you bangs?!"

Ages 5-11: Kids- "Do we really have to wear matching turtle necks again, Mom..."

Ages 6-12: "We always take them here, can we take it somewhere else?"

"Anthony, smile with your teeth!"

Ages 8-14: Mom- "Fine, wear whatever you want, just be ready in 30 minutes."

Ages 10-16: Awful teeth, bad sideburns, Joe's spiking his hair...

Ages 12-18: Mom- "Samantha, can you please put your hair down?" Catherine- "Mom, make sure you don't get my air cast in the picture!"

Ages 13-19: At this point, our mom is done dealing with us, we're getting them done at the mall. Maria- "Manta! You have to actually smile! Quit fake smiling!"

Samantha- "I can't actually smile! I'm not happy!"

Maria- "Try saying "yes" before each picture."

Ages 14-20: Joe's in college, we aren't doing a Christmas card anymore. Fine, over Thanksgiving break, but we are getting them done.

Ages 21-27: Mom- "We are taking our picture over the 4th of July, since we'll all be in town!

*4 months later* Mauvette- "Wait, no....I hate all of those pictures."

Mom- "Send your pictures"

Samantha- "Mauvette, send one that's not so dark, where it's not so pixelated, where your face isn't covered by other people!"

Mom- "Maria, I can't use one of you on a bachelorette trip..."

Ages 22-28: Mom- "Joe is starting his own family, we're done doing Christmas cards." *2 months later* Mom- "Your father wants to do a Christmas Card. We're using the one from the cruise last year."

Ages 23-29: Well, everyone needs to meet Micah. He looks too young in the cruise picture though... send a picture in ASAP!

Ages 24-30: Mom- "Hurry up! They have work in the morning, and have a 3/4/7 hour trip home!"

Everyone- "Maria, we told you we were taking this! We even told you to bring clothes! YOU DIDN'T bring a toothbrush OR CLOTHES?!"

Maria- "I didn't want to carry a full backpack on the bus. I wanted to wear Marvie's clothes anyway."

We have been trying to end the Malizia Family Christmas card for about 7 years! The reality is, that's not looking likely anytime soon. Don't get me wrong, I love when we can get together and get a picture with all, now 10 (and a half- WHOOP, WHOOP!), of us! I treasure those cards and rare moments. But if your family is like our's, maybe you could use a few tips to prepare for your family picture!



If you have a baby, plan the shoot for after his or her nap! If all of your adult, children are just getting into town, plan it soon after everyone arrives! Get that picture when spirits are high, while everyone is happy to see each other!

TIP: Make sure you all have eaten. Hanger (hungry + anger) is real.


If you’re not comfortable, you won’t feel your absolute best. The way you feel in the moment will impact the way you look at your photos! So, be ready in comfortable clothes and tell everyone to be ready a half hour before your session. Consider making a day out of a family photo session! Plan a trip to the park or their favorite restaurant after the session! Anything that motivates them and gets them excited for the day! EVEN IF your kids are older. I love a good family dinner :)

TIP: If your family has a hard time being on time to things, hiring a photographer or scheduling a session in a studio could be the extra push they need to actually be ready by a certain point. This can also help kids behave better since they're in front of a stranger and not their parents.


We love photographing in natural light which means lots of outdoor photos! If your photo session is in the fall or spring in Pennsylvania there’s a 50/50 chance you have sunshine and warmer weather. Plan an outfit that you can wear if you’re blessed with nicer weather but have a cute vest, jacket or scarf combo if it is chilly!

TIP: Avoid wearing your brightly colored or heavily patterned ski jacket. Or be ready to take it off in between locations.


Pick a color palette that you love or one to match the season. Or find one statement piece like a colorful sweater, vest, or scarf, and pull colors from that to match everyone else’s outfits. Don’t be afraid to mix patterns! If you’re really struggling another good method is to shop for everyone at the same store – usually colors will go nicely together! Still struggling? Check out Pinterest!

The Novacks coordinated their outfits after their mom. Judith sent a picture of her scarf to the family group message and told everyone to "match this".

TIP: Match level of formality. Make sure the family knows to dress formally, casually, in pajamas, etc.