Is it Halloween yet…Purrrfect

Guess who’s favorite time of year this is…The conversation on costumes started over a month ago, phew! We have talked it to death and finally took the plunge this week. A black cat. She might be the cutest, most charismatic black cat I’ve ever seen (she gets into “role” really well, lol). I think if she could wear a different costume to school every day this month, she would happily oblige. She’s a thinker and questions things I would never expect a four year old to even contemplate. Oh my little complex cat, I can’t get enough of your unique spirit. Don’t. ever. change.

tallulah lane as seen in martha stewart living…

About a month ago, I was contacted by one of the editors from Martha Stewart Living, Taylor Combs. I was beyond excited when she asked me to contribute as “a child portrait expert” on their upcoming post about preparing for school portrait day. The post was published earlier this week and it was such an honor to see Tallulah Lane Photography featured on Living’s Blog!

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October 1, 2012

HOW TO TAKE AN ADORABLE SCHOOL PHOTO

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The editors of Martha Stewart Living in their school photos.

 

We all remember school yearbook pictures from our childhood: the good, bad, and the Holly Hobbie-meets-Pippi Longstocking hairstyles (see the blasts from our editors’ pasts, above). And since our own kids’ school pictures are just around the corner, we turned to photographer (and child portrait expert) Karen Forsyth of Tallulah Lane Photography for a few tips.

Should you let her wear a princess outfit or try to coax her toward trendy Breton stripes? How do you encourage the sweetest toothless grin? Find out.

Stick to Classics (with a Twist)
Says Forsyth: “If they aren’t comfortable, then nobody’s comfortable and the yearbook photo is in serious jeopardy of even having a shot (no pun intended). Kids want to express themselves and they should. Parents want a great photo. So, how about a compromise? A soft-wash plaid shirt for boys can be new and edgy in a hip color scheme like blue and vivid orange (and here, sleeve rolling is cool). For girls a sweet romper, dress, or outfit with a simple design and a modern print works well. I always find fun, comfortable and reasonably priced options in the Tea Collection or Peek.”

Color is Key
Choose bright hues to light up little faces. Adds Forsyth: “It’s okay to use pattern, stripes, or plaids mixed with solids. Just make sure they compliment each other.”

  
A pulled-back hairstyle keeps the focus on the face. Photo by Karen Forsyth

 

Hair “Do’s” are a Don’t
As a general rule of thumb, try not to draw too much attention to your child’s hairstyle — remember, says Forsyth, “it’s about the sweet changes of their faces from year to year.” To wit, she advises staying away from drastic changes right before the school photo (“for boys, if he’s sporting a ‘Beiber do’ and you decide to go for the crew cut, wait”). She recommends tailored braids or loose top knots for girls with long hair; shorter hairstyles like a bob or pixie look sweet with a simple barrette or clip.

Mixing plaids and solids can work for school shots. Photo by Karen Forsyth

 

Stay Calm
Just like grown-ups, kids feel (and look) better after a great night’s sleep. “Keep the stress low surrounding photo day,” says Forsyth. “Select and decide on what to wear the night before … Don’t wait until the sun peeks over the horizon to hit the panic button. Things can go from serene to chaotic quickly, at least in my household.”

 

Practice Makes Adorable
The last thing you want to do is make your child self-conscious. But as long as you keep it relaxed, practicing his or her expressions can be fun. “A fun activity for the breakfast table may be to ask your child to show you his/her school photo face to lighten the mood,” says Forsyth. “Silly, Crazy, Fun. A genuine expression will come from this conversation, I promise. It always ends in a giggle!”

Photo by Karen Forsyth

 

Don’t Overthink It
Says Forsyth: “The bottom line is to have fun and enjoy seeing your child grow over the years. Yes, trends will always be changing and we can do our best to strive for the perfect photo, but isn’t the metamorphosis half the fun when looking back at the past? Embrace it for what it is and cherish these years. Actually, what made some of my school photos seem dated, now makes them cool. Yes, wayfarers, neons, and ankle boots are back!”

Happy 2012-2013 school year!

Karen Forsyth, owner of Tallulah Lane Photography, is a photojournalistic family photographer. Karen currently resides in the Northern Chicago area with her husband Michael and their three spunky daughters.

Tom & Erica + 5

Last year, I photographed this family at their orchard, in Northern Indiana (which is an experience in itself, definitely a wonderful trip for the whole family). I was so excited when Erica called and said she had seen a recent session of mine at this location and they wanted to come up to Chicago for this year’s shoot. It’s always so great to see them! They are hands down the coolest family of seven, I know. They brought us some awesome treats from the orchard, donuts, caramel apples (with the works) and I showed up with orange soda and vintage candy favorites from our local specialty foods store. I think it’s safe to say that all of our kids were on a sugar high that night, lol. Ultimately, the light and the evening was gorgeous! Thanks for making the trip guys. It turned out beautifully!