If you’re a local to the KC area, let me give the very best advice I’ve ever given on here…book Becca Blackburn for your next family photo session. Two years in a row we’ve worked with Becca, and two years in a row we’ve coordinated through bad weather, through grouchy kids, and through a “taby” (not quite a baby any longer, not quite a toddler yet) that just wasn’t feeing the photo session. And each time it is literal magic that she gives us back. You would have thought my children were darlings the whole session. You would have thought that I DIDN’T end up sweaty and needing a stiff drink after the session. She snags the pictures regardless. She’s a gem and I’m so thrilled with our life that she captured in this chaotic, sweet, perfect moment in time.
Rewind one year, two eye surgeries, and time spent in glasses and patches. Mya has not only grown, changed, and become the most perfect little Mya Girl, but look at the difference in her eyes. The literal hell that we went through from November of 2020 until until the spring of this year was so worth it.
Now let’s be real for a moment. Not only is the actual act of getting family photos one that causes an instant panic attack, but preparing the outfits can be just as cringe-worthy. You want to coordinate, but not be too matchy. You want it to look natural and like it just “worked” all on its own.
Last year, I started to coordinate outfit choices on the website PicMonkey. It’s a site that I use a lot for things on Growing Up Kemper, but it’s paid off multiple times outside of this blog, as well. As I find outfits that I love online, I add them to a blank collage to see how it looks as a whole. Do I like the way the colors look together? Do the patterns look too busy beside one another? Is there too much of one color? Does this even look good together? It’s the visual I always need before I order, order more, and then order some more again.
This year, our outfits came together like this:
Last year, I used this collage to help pull together more of a hunter green and navy look:
I also mocked up example collages if you were looking for a more neutral scheme or one with a maroon tone to it:
Now what to do with them?
I’ve been working on painting our master bedroom this past week and once I took everything down off the walls to paint, I realized the potential that was right in front of me for a beautiful gallery wall. And these family photos were going to be the absolute perfect photos to use for it.
But let’s be real…gallery walls can be so difficult to put up. You seem to second guess yourself the whole process that it’s going to look right in the end. I’ve found a trick that I just had to share with you today to help make the process much simpler and nearly fool-proof!
Take some of your leftover rolls of wrapping paper out and flip them over so it’s a blank workspace. I needed to tape two pieces together to fit the size I was looking for.
Begin laying out your frames on the wrapping paper and rearranging until you have it exactly the way you want it to look. I’ve even put out all my frames, walked away, and come back 30 minutes later to get a new set of eyes on it. Sometimes if you’re too focused on it, you miss things you may see later.
When you are happy with the layout, take a marker and roughly trace out your frames on the paper. I then lift each frame up and jot a quick note of what the pictures are (so I don’t second guess myself later), and make a dot where the nail needs to be to hang the frame.
Take all the frames and put them aside. It’s time to hang your paper on the wall where you want your photos to be. Use a level to ensure your paper is straight.
Using your dots as your guide, nail right through the paper into the wall. Once all nails are in, you are able to gently tear down your wrapping paper off the wall and your nails will remain in place. Your paper shouldn’t tear much and you will still be able to use it as your guide as you hang your photos on the wall.
I’ll share our final gallery wall along with our updated master bedroom in the coming week! That color (Kendall Charcoal by Benjamin Moore) has been a game changer in the best sort of way. Do you see how it warms as the day turns to night? I’m so in love.
Plus I’ve got Jackson’s bedroom remodel with a sneaky little surprise coming, too! It’s going to be a fun week on Growing Up Kemper!
Follow along on Instagram and Pinterest for some of my favorite people, places, things, and a whole lot of Christmas in between.
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