Jubilee Family Photography » Located in Gilbert, AZ

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I’ve moved around a lot and I’ve found the first three things I have to find right away when I move to a new town are: Target, tacos, and a hair salon.  (Tacos are probably first.)  I struck gold when I found my hair stylist, Marilo, at Salon Lola here in Gilbert.  She’s so smart and talented and has never berated me for having gross hair.  One day she called and asked if I could take some pictures of her and her sweet bulldogs for their Christmas card.  I was so excited/scared about this session!  Marilo is beautiful and smart and also happens to be from Spain which automatically makes her exotic, as well.  She LOVES her dogs more than anything in the world.  I love capturing my clients with their pets, but I was worried about the fact that there were three dogs in the session.  It turns out, I had nothing to worry about.  Lola, Norman, and Pierre were more cooperative than most toddlers I know.  Plus, Marilo brought her dog sitter to help.  (Thank, goodness!)  We met at the Freestone Park carousel and then walked around the park a bit.  I love the variety in Freestone Park!  By the end, I wanted to adopt every one of them!  It warms my cold, cold heart whenever I see how much people love their pets.  Thanks for letting me capture this puppy love, Marilo!

Woman and dogs photographed by Melissa Maxwell of Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.Woman and dogs photographed in Gilbert, AZ by Melissa Maxwell of Jubilee Family Photography.Woman and dogs photographed by Melissa Maxwell of Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.Woman and dogs photographed by Melissa Maxwell of Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.Dog photographed by Melissa Maxwell of Gilbert, AZWoman and bulldogs photographed in Gilbert, AZ by Melissa Maxwell of Jubilee Family Photography.Woman and dogs photographed by Melissa Maxwell of Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.Dog photographed by Melissa Maxwell of Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.Woman and dogs photographed by Melissa Maxwell of Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.Woman and dogs photographed in Gilbert, AZ by Melissa Maxwell of Jubilee Family Photography.Woman photographed by Melissa Maxwell of Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ>Woman and dog photographed in Gilbert, AZ by Melissa Maxwell of Jubilee Family Photography.Woman and bulldog photographed by Melissa Maxwell of Gilbert, AZ.Woman and dog photographed by Melissa Maxwell of Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.

 

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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:

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.

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, NC

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.Sisters in orange grove in Mesa, AZ.Couple in orange grove photographed by Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.Sisters in Orange Grove in Mesa, AZ.Mother and daughters in citrus grove in Mesa, AZ.Family in orange grove photographed in Gilbert, AS by Jubilee Family PhotographyOne year old in orange grove photographed by Jubilee Family Photography in Mesa, AZ.Baby boy and mother in orange grove photographed by Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.

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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

  • Maddison - These are beautiful photos! What are the major cross streets of these orange groves? I am obsessed!ReplyCancel

    • melissa@jubileefamilyphotography.com - Thanks, Maddison! Greenfield and McKellips are the cross streets here.ReplyCancel

I’m so excited to share this next location with you because unlike my previous favorite locations, this one is a secret.  It’s so secret, I can’t even tell you where it is.  I can’t tell you, because I like secrets and also because it’s private property and that’s just bad manners.  Some friends of mine own a pistachio grove and they use the land for bonfires and parties and cub scout meets and such.  It’s like the Room of Requirement.  They have graciously agreed to let me shoot portrait sessions in their lot, provided it’s not filled with cub scouts or on fire.

This is the perfect location if you are looking for something “rustic”.  There’s a large wood pile, a treehouse, random bales of hay in beautifully lit corners, and it’s all lined with pistachio trees.  One word of warning, the lot is irrigated once a month and, therefore, filled with water.  Timing is everything.  Also, it’s pretty barren in the dead of winter so if you want full trees I suggest any other season.

Family in pistachio grove photographed by Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.Young girl photographed by Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.Child photographed by Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.Family in pistachio grove photographed by Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.Couple photographed by Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.Family photographed in Gilbert, AZ by Jubilee Family Photography.Family photographed by Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.Large family by wood pile photographed by Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.Father and sons on wood pile photographed by Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.Child photographed by Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.Boys in rustic setting photographed by Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZHappy child photographed by Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.Family photographed by Jubilee Family Photography in Gilbert, AZ.

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Over the years I’ve been surprised at how often I get asked this question.  If I had to guess, I’d say someone asks me . . . every time.  Every single time.  At first it just made me laugh, but then my husband suggested that if everyone was asking it, then maybe it wasn’t a stupid question.  Fair enough.  So . . . here it is . . . the question someone asks me at every single photo shoot:

“What do I do with my hands?!”

This question is funny to me because (so far) 100% of my clients were born with hands.  So it’s not like they woke up with hands on the day of the photo shoot and thought, “Oh no!  What am I going to do with THESE?!”  But I get it.  I’ve often thought the same thing when I’ve had my picture taken.  So if you’re a photographer who gets this question or if you are wondering what to do with your hands when you’re having your picture taken, here are a few tips.

family_in_mustard_and_green

Let’s use this this beautiful family as an example.  I arranged them under the trellis and figured we were set, until someone asked “What do I do with my hands?”  I told them to do whatever felt natural.  They did and I think it looks good, but one of the most important things to convey in family portraits is connection.  I try to make sure that every person in the group is connecting to someone else in the group.  Here they’re bunched very close together, so that wasn’t hard to do.

teenage_siblings_in_mustard_and_green.

Just some examples of what to do with your hands here: one hand in your pocket, one hand on your neighbor’s shoulder, arm around your neighbor, holding hands, etc.  (Note: I would avoid both thumbs in your pockets.  Not sure if I told him to do that, or not.)

This is probably my favorite shot of this family.  I feel like there’s a lot of connection happening here and it’s because I told every single person what to do with their hands.  It was really cold that day, so they were eager to stand close, but most of the time people aren’t going to hold hands and cuddle up on their own.  People need to be told what to do with their hands so they don’t feel dumb for holding hands with their siblings.  Also, try to give everyone something different to do with their hands so it looks natural.

When you compare the previous photo with this one, hopefully you can see a difference.  This family looks great, but I definitely could have done a better job of creating connections by telling them what to do with their hands.

Blond_mother_and_daughters.mother_and_daughters_in_sweaters

Our body language is the only way we speak in photos.  The only way people will know if you’re uncomfortable in a photo is if you show them you’re uncomfortable.  Connecting to the people next to you automatically makes it look like you feel relaxed.  I’ll bet you wouldn’t have known that these ladies were freezing if I hadn’t told you.  (Well, freezing for Southern Arizona.  I mean, they’re still in their shirtsleeves, so clearly they’re not freezing.)

couple_kissing_under_trellis_arch

Newlyweds rarely need to be told what to do with their hands.  Good work, you two!  Tip: One thing to avoid when holding hands as a couple is interlacing fingers.  Don’t know why, but it looks weird on camera.

young_blond_girl_with_braces

One note about hands for women: keeping your hands open and loose makes you look more relaxed and feminine so avoid fists.   (I’ll talk more about what to do with your hands when you’re the only one in the picture in a later post.)

Family_with_teenagers_in_mustard_and_green.

This family was so fun and clearly love each other very much so it wasn’t hard to get them to get close, but some families may need an extra nudge.  I like to suggest a group hug.  Especially when it’s Arizona freezing.

Hope this was helpful!

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