My Home Life


'Tis the season of family portraits and holiday cards. Though I'm a sucker for planned family photo sessions, this is my first year where I didn't book one. Instead, my friend Amy came over to take some photos of us just being a family in our home. I did use this occasion to wear a pretty dress, but other than that these photos were genuinely how you'll see us every day. She photographed Elle and I playing outside as we waited for Ryan to come home from work.

She photographed me making dinner for our family and sitting down to eat it.


While capturing all of those every day moments she also captured the tears, boogers and laughs. I'm so in love with these photos because one day I'll get to show Elle how life was really like back when she was one.


If you're interested in doing similar family sessions like this, please contact Ventola Photography.


Photos by Amy Hanen of Ventola Photography

Tips for Holiday Pictures

Yesterday we had our family portrait session with our friend Mike Olbinski (a peek above), and it reminded me that many families this time of year struggle with picking out their outfits for pictures. Afterall, these images tend to be the annual family update that Grandma and Grandpa SO look forward to every year. You want to be sure everyone looks their best, right? So, a couple things to keep in mind...

1. Pick a color scheme that uses a minimum of three colors and at most five. This will ensure there is enough variety that you aren't matching and yet keep everything cohesive. Keep in mind the location of your shoot. Pick colors that will stand out against white snow, green grass or brick buildings. (Image above by Mike Olbinski. Styled by AVE Styles)

2. Layer your looks so you can have more variety in your photos. For example, add a caridgan or vest that you can take on and off. Sometimes you just don't know how things will photograph. Maybe the dress you chose doesn't make your arms look the best. Dun da da dunnnn!! Cardigan will save the day!

3. A bit camera shy? Use props to keep your mind off the camera. It can be as simple as a cup of coffee sitting at table with your family. If you're a bit more festive, you could bring a garland or Christmas lights and wrap yourself up in them. The picture above was from a fun party Melissa Jill hosted a ways back. The garland was a blast to play with.

4. Keep your Christmas card design in mind. I love ordering from Tiny Prints every year. That have so many cute designs to choose from. But you'll want to make sure the colors for your clothes complement the colors in your card. It will make everything look EVEN better in the presentation.

5. Get your hair done or makeup done...or both! I'm not so great at doing my hair. So, I made sure to schedule a hair cut and style two days prior to the shoot. Not great at makeup? Head to the makeup counter and get it done. You probably have to buy some fun stocking stuffers or gifts for some gals in your life. If they make you buy product that is the perfect way to kill two birds with one stone.

Emenecker Familiy Portraits

I recently had the privilege of helping the Emenecker family pick out their outfits for their family portrait session with Melissa Jill Photography.

This adorable family of three invited me to their home to select clothing from their closet.

Little Miss Kailey is one of the cutest kids on the planet. I actually met her the day of her birthday, and she was sooo excited to wear her birthday dress and shoes to her party. haha! This girl LOVES clothes and accessories. She even added a little pizazz to her own outfit with her pink necklace.

We started with Kailey's outfit because she had a rainbow of colors to choose from. We chose one of her favorite shirts and her cute little gray skinny jeans. This set the color palette for the shoot - gray, pink and black

We then moved on to Terri's outfit picking jeans to keep with the tone, one of her favorite cardigans and a cute pink shirt. Terri is a lover of accessories, and did a great job of picking out a coordinating necklace.

Ryan had a great selection of dress shirts. He wore a black button up for their last portrait session, so I didn't want to do the same thing again. I also didn't want to choose a gray button up because it would have been too much gray standing next to Teri, and pink isn't Ryan's color. So, we stayed with black by adding a v-neck sweater and a pop a gray with a button-up underneath.

Melissa Jill did a fabulous job capturing this family's joy, as well as finding a coordinating location for their outfits!!! You can see more photos from their portrait session here.