Jubilee Family Photography » Located in Gilbert, AZ

Category Archives: Family Portraits

Congratulations!  Today is the day I do you a solid and make family pictures a little bit easier.  The other day a friend of mine said to me, “I love the look of coordinated clothes in family pictures and I would love to be able to do that, but I don’t know where to start.”  This can be a major source of stress for clients and I get it.  Okay, no I don’t.  I secretly LOVE finding coordinating clothes for my family to wear for family portraits.  To me it’s like a fun clothing version of Master Chef.  “Take these three colors and find coordinating outfits for your whole family in 30 minutes!  Ready: GO!”  I would kill it in that competition.  Hopefully, by the end of this blog post you will have the tools you need to kill it on Master Wardrobe Coordinator Season 1 (Working title.), too.  Here are my four simple steps for finding your perfect portrait wardrobe:

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Step 1: Pick a Style  (Consider the setting.  Consider the season.  Consider the reason.)

Have you ever seen a couple out on a date and it’s clear (based on their wardrobe) that one of them had no idea where they were going on their date?  That person usually looks super annoyed and out of place.  The same thing can happen with your family portraits if everyone in your group isn’t wearing the same style of clothing.  For example, if you’re wearing an evening gown, your daughter will look like a slob in shorts and a t-shirt.  If you’re not sure what style to choose, consider the setting.  Would casual clothing be appropriate in your portrait location?  Consider the season.  Is it sweater weather or sweating weather?  Consider the reason for your portraits.  Do you want them hanging on the wall?  Will your style clash with the decor?  Will the portraits be used for Christmas cards?  Answering these questions will help you narrow down your options very quickly.

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Step 2: Pick a Color Scheme

There are several ways to decide a color scheme.  Again I would encourage you to consider the setting, season, and reason.  What colors are popular right now?  What colors might everyone already have in their wardrobe?  It may work best to just pick three colors and go from there.  Or maybe you have an outfit in mind for yourself and you want everyone else to match it.  There are a lot of helpful tools on Pinterest (including my What To Wear For Family Portraits board) and sometimes inspiration can strike when you just type in some colors you like.  If you have a large group, sometimes it’s a good idea to just stick with a wide range of colors like jewel tones, pastels, or primary colors.  One thing to avoid is everyone wearing the exact same outfit.  (For instance, red t-shirts and blue jeans.)  A matchy-matchy wardrobe will create more of a corporate retreat or summer camp look than a family portrait look.

Family photographed by Jubilee Family Photography in Topsail Island, NCPINIMAGE

3. Pull From What You Have and Fill in the Blanks

Once you have decided on a style and color scheme, raid your closets for anything that fits your criteria.  You may be surprised by what you already have.  Take a close look and figure out what’s missing.  Then the best part: go shopping!  Shopping is much easier when you know exactly what you’re looking for.  It’s a good idea to start this process a couple of weeks out from your portrait session so you have time to have items shipped to you.

Family photographed in Gilbert, AZ by jubilee family photography.PINIMAGE

4. Lay Everything Out Together

I like to lay everyone’s wardrobe out on the floor or my bed and see how it looks together.  Sometimes I end up switching things up because it just doesn’t quite mesh.  Don’t forget the shoes!   Take a picture and send it to others who will be in the family portrait (such as extended family or older children no longer in your home).  Have them do the same, if they want.  It’s helpful and reassuring to know that you’re not going to clash with the rest of the group.  At the very least, send it to your photographer so she can start visualizing your session.

Family photographed by Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.PINIMAGE

Ta-done!  You did it!  Just for fun, I dare you to go try these four steps right now.  I’ll bet you could have the perfect wardrobe picked out in less than a half hour.

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Are you ready for a few more tips?  Because I have them.  Tips guaranteed to have you and your family looking your best.

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Tip#1: Avoid all logos and words and try to keep prints at a minimum.  Usually a 3 to 1 ratio of those wearing solids to those wearing prints is a good rule of thumb.  Otherwise, the photo could look too messy.  I like to have at least one person in the group wear a print that includes all of the colors in the color scheme.

Family Photo by Jubilee Family Photography.PINIMAGE

Tip #2: Grown men look most masculine in fitted pants and close-toed shoes.  Shorts and flip flops are really only appropriate for beach portraits.  Women tend to look more elongated and have better posture in heels.  (Consider the location and whether or not you will be able to walk comfortably in heels.)

Family and dog photographed by Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.PINIMAGE

Tip #3: Consider your insecurities.  When I see a photo of myself, my eye immediately goes to those areas about which I am most insecure.  Everyone does it.  I know that even if the lighting is great and all of our wardrobe choices are fantastic, I’m not going to print a picture of me looking large and in charge.  So, when you’re choosing your portrait wardrobe, consider your insecurities.  Not a fan of your upper arms?  Avoid sleeveless or capped-sleeve tops that will draw attention to your arms.  Insecure about your belly?  A suit jacket is a nice way to hide your belly and class things up.

Family photographed in Litchfield Park by Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.PINIMAGE

Tip#4: Go neutral.  If the idea of finding the perfect colors to fit your wall at home, your grandmother’s mantel, your Christmas card, and your son’s graduation announcement is too overwhelming, go neutral.  This is an especially good idea if your setting is very colorful.

Family portrait by Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.PINIMAGE

Tip #5: Go black and white.  The easiest family portrait session we ever had was when we all wore our favorite sweaters and I made the photos black and white.  I stopped after step 1!  It was so freeing!

family_of_teenagers_in_mustard_and_green.PINIMAGE

The truth is that this is not a life or death decision.  Sure, it’s lasting and you’ll be creating memories, but hopefully those memories will be of the joy of being together and not the stress of agreeing on a color scheme.  With my four simple steps, I hope you’ll find it much easier than creating the perfect seven course meal from a mystery box of ingredients.  I believe in you!  Let the games begin!

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  • liz - love, love, loved these tips!! Thank you for taking the time to write them down! I especially loves the extra tips, so good!ReplyCancel

When my family and I moved to Arizona from St. Louis, MO, we drove into the state on Route 66.  We entered Northeastern Arizona and found ourselves in the mountains surrounded by pine trees and cabins.  We thought, “Wait–this is Arizona?”  Then we kept driving south where we were greeted by rolling hills covered in saguaro cacti.  We thought, “Wait-this is Arizona?”  Then we entered the Mesa/Gilbert area with its palm trees and citrus groves and thought, “WHAT IS ARIZONA?”  It turns out, Arizona is all the things.  Drive two hours in any direction and you’ll find a completely different landscape.  It’s intriguing and wonderful and one of the many reasons I heart AZ.

The Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch in Gilbert is one of my favorite locations for portraits because you will find many different Arizona landscapes in just one spot.  The cactus garden is a particularly popular spot.  (I even had my own family photos taken there last year.)  I had the pleasure of photographing one of my favorite families in the cactus garden recently.  This family was amazing!  They followed directions and looked great doing it.  That’s really all it takes for me to like you.

Family photographed at Riparian Preserve and Water Ranch in Gilbert, AZ.PINIMAGEFamily photographed in Gilbert, AZ by Jubilee Family PhotographyPINIMAGEFamily photographed in Gibert, AZ by Jubilee Family PhotographyPINIMAGEChildren photographed in Gilbert, AZ by Jubilee Family Photography.PINIMAGEFamily photographed by Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.PINIMAGECactus family photosPINIMAGECactus family photosPINIMAGEChildren photographed in Gilbert, AZ by Jubilee Family Photography.PINIMAGECouple photographed at Riparian Water Ranch in Gilbert, AZ.PINIMAGECactus family photosPINIMAGE

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You may have noticed that Jubilee Family Photography has had a bit of a facelift.  By that I mean I got a new logo and changed the colors of my fonts.  (WHOAH!)  While that may not seem like much to you, for me it’s like giving my website a fresh coat of paint.  I really love my new logo and working on it with Lis Wing at Wingmade was so much fun!  She’s such a talented designer and she worked so hard to make sure I got exactly what I wanted.  I first met Lis and her beautiful family during their family photo session in downtown Gilbert.  Theirs was one of my favorite photo shoots of all time.  Everyone looked great, the kids were amazing, and the location was a lot of fun.  We shot around downtown on a Saturday morning and managed to dodge all the friendly farmer’s market folk.  Take a close look at the bowties those boys are wearing.  They’re made of wood!  Apparently their grandpa is a master craftsman and fashion genius.  Not surprising that creative genes run in the family.  Be sure to check out Lis’ shop HERE.

PINIMAGEChild photographed by Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.PINIMAGEChild photographed by Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZPINIMAGEChild photographed by Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.PINIMAGECouple photographed in downtown Gilbert, AZ by Jubilee Family Photography.PINIMAGEFamily photographed by Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.PINIMAGEFamily photographed in Gilbert, AZ by Jubilee Family Photography.PINIMAGEFamily photographed in downtown Gilbert by Jubilee Family Photography.PINIMAGEFamily photographed in Gilbert, AZ by jubilee family photography.PINIMAGEMother and daughter photographed in downtown Gilbert by Jubilee Family Photography.PINIMAGEFamily photographed in downtown Gilbert, AZ by Jubilee Family Photography.PINIMAGEPINIMAGE

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As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not from around here.  Not even close.  Arizona is like a whole other planet to me.  I remember when my husband and I came out to Phoenix to look for a home.  Our realtor took us to a house with a lemon tree in the backyard and I acted like we won the lottery.  “A LEMON TREE?!!  IN THE YARD?!!”  Our realtor suggested I take a lemon and I was shocked by her moxie.  “I couldn’t!”  I answered.  Little did I know that lemons literally grow on trees all over town and by the end of citrus season people are leaving buckets of lemons in front of their houses, begging people to take their citrus.  But even though I know that now, I’m still amazed and delighted when I see citrus trees all over town.  I even planted two in my yard last year.  Apparently they take years to produce any fruit, so by 2020 we should be able to make a pitcher of lemonade.

ANYWAY, one of my favorite places to do photo shoots is in the citrus groves around town.  I love that the orange, lemon, and grapefruit trees are all green and full of fruit in the dead of winter.  (Enjoy your snow, suckers.)  It’s a lovely yearly reminder of why we put up with the unbearably hot summers.

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I’ve already shared photos from a citrus session in my post Does It Matter Where You Print Your Photos , but wanted to share some additional citrus sessions because this is one of my favorite locations in town.  Please note that orange groves look best mid-December through March.  The oranges are still green even as late as early December.

Sisters in orange grove photographed by Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.PINIMAGESisters in orange grove in Mesa, AZ.PINIMAGECouple in orange grove photographed by Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.PINIMAGESisters in Orange Grove in Mesa, AZ.PINIMAGEMother and daughters in citrus grove in Mesa, AZ.PINIMAGEFamily in orange grove photographed in Gilbert, AS by Jubilee Family PhotographyPINIMAGEOne year old in orange grove photographed by Jubilee Family Photography in Mesa, AZ.PINIMAGEBaby boy and mother in orange grove photographed by Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.PINIMAGE

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  • Kelsey Rubalcava - Where is this grove? Love it!ReplyCancel

    • melissa@jubileefamilyphotography.com - It’s across the street from the Citrus Heights stand in Mesa, AZ.ReplyCancel

If you follow me on Instagram (and you totally should @jubileefamilyphotography) you have probably noticed I have a thing for black and white photography.  My love of black and white goes way back.  I received my first camera when I was ten years old.  It was a film camera.  That means I would take 24 exposures over the course of a few weeks and then take my film to the local drug store and wait a week to go pick up my photos and see how they turned out.  That also means I’m old enough to say things like, “Back in my day we had to wait weeks to find out how our photos turned out!  Get off my lawn!”  Somewhere along the way I started buying black and white film.  I was intrigued by the fact that some photos were improved with the black and white film and some were dulled.  I love that digital photography has taken the guess work out of the situation.  I can try something in black and white and if the image isn’t improved, I keep things colorful.  And I don’t have to wait weeks to find out if it looks awesome.  Huzzah for the digital age!

Family Photographed in Nichols Park by Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.PINIMAGE

I spent a delightful evening in Nichols Park with this fun family who just happen to look amazing in black and white.  Some of these images really came to life in black and white.  It made me all kinds of happy and the client loved them, too.  Win-win (win).

Young girl photographed by Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.PINIMAGEFather and Son photographed by Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.PINIMAGEFamily photographed in Nichols Park in Gilbert, AZ.PINIMAGEBlack white young girl photographed by Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.PINIMAGEPINIMAGEPINIMAGEYoung Boy Photographed by Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.PINIMAGEFamily photographed in black and white by Jubilee Family PhotographyPINIMAGE

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