Fall Family Photos Tips and Examples
photo by: Heather levenShare a few happy today, Autumn Photos via my first 'mom and me' photo shoot. I also share five tips for your own family photos - DIY or professional subcontracting.In addition, the something my photographer told me it changed my mindset about family photos…. Life updateI can't believe I haven't updated you […]

kathy patalsky fall photos
photo by: Heather leven

Share a few happy today, Autumn Photos via my first 'mom and me' photo shoot. I also share five tips for your own family photos - DIY or professional subcontracting.

In addition, the something my photographer told me it changed my mindset about family photos….

Life update

I can't believe I haven't updated you on little Rosalie for a few months. Rosalie is 11 weeks old now. Round the corner to three months - oh my.

So much to share, but writing articles is a luxury these days. I'm currently holding a sleeping Miss Rosalie on my lap as I type this. Time is running out, the eyelids are heavy and my zombie mode is abundant. Hello postpartum life.

Photoshoot day, with baby ...

Our very first mom and me photoshoot .. outside our home.

Professional shoot

Although I tinker with most of our family photos these days, I've been fortunate enough to Get out of the house last week and have some pictures taken - socially distant in a very empty park - by my friend Heather.

Heather Leven is a talented photographer with a budding photography business here in Southern California! Check it: Heather leven

Prepare..

9h, Rosalie was busy on the changing table, while I ran a curling iron through my barely brushed hair, robe still on and makeup half done. A few messy curls later and I slapped the extra shine lipstick on, applied another coat of blush, and brushed some of that glittery highlighter onto my cheeks too - to get the most shine possible. Another layer of concealer, because mom's dark circles are real.

I put on jeans - this felt weird! And (panting) autumn boots, also weird to wear real shoes and not my daily life Rothy. And a warm burgundy long-sleeved shirt from Barefoot Dreams.

I pulled something cute on my baby, a fluffy sweater Peek kids. (Cutest brand!)

Then walk out with Rosalie in my arms, a diaper bag over my shoulder and a mask over my face. Oh 2020.

And success! I got to the shoot and some pretty pictures arrived.

kathy rosalie autumn photo
photo by: Heather leven

Fall photos with Rosalie

The photos below were taken by Heather Leven. If you are in SoCal and want to take a shoot, you can find his contact details on his website. Or follow her on Instagram.

kathy rosalie bw
photo by: Heather leven

Rosalie tolerated her glamorous shoot, haha. But really, she just wanted to see all those cute fall trees! ..

happy tree looking at baby
photo by: Heather leven

In love with this little face ...

mom rosalie fall
photo by: Heather leven

I like it blurry Thank you sweater by Peek kids. Cute brand!

photo by: Heather leven

But let's talk about a baby photoshoot. Don't expect them to care or even smile, haha. More than below ..

fall photo mom baby
photo by: Heather leven

The only thing Heather told me about family photos ...

About halfway through the photoshoot I was feeling sad because Rosalie wasn't giving her cute new smile!

She's kissed the smile a lot and even the quiet sweet laughs in recent weeks, but she was a shy little girl on set. She was more interested in scanning the trees and staring intently at Heather's bright red dress than smiling.

But my photographer Heather had a few words of wisdom about it ...

kathy patalsky fall photos
photo by: Heather leven

Heather reminded me that when you look back at these photos they will have captured this stage of life!

This precious window of life - for Rosalie, the window where she has no idea what a photoshoot is and just wants to frown and look skeptically at the nice lady pointing a black box at her. And how sweet !?

After Heather says that, and looking at these photos, I love them even more. Zero smile and all. LOL! ...

What is it, mom? I am so confused.

photo by: Heather leven

Always looking for a reason to wear my vegan Bhava boots!

photo by: Heather leven

Shy girl

It was sweet to see Rosalie shy for once! I was super shy as a kid so I always wonder if she'll get it too, even though her personality is so brave and daring and sassy at home!

photo by: Heather leven

Little smile ... And it's done! ...

happy rosalie fall photoshoot
photo by: Heather leven

And it's a Miss Rose wrap! I came home to eat + nap!

rosalie face
photo by: Heather leven

Hanging fall family photos - 5 tips

1 - Outsource!

My best advice is to find a local photographer and outsource these photos. There is a phrase called "Mini-sessions" that many photographers use to describe those quick shots that are cheaper than a full-fledged photo shoot.

Mini Sessions are perfect for a family photo to use on greeting cards or to hang that annual family snapshot.

Where can I find local photographers? Ask around you. Check out mom groups on Facebook. Search Instagram for local location tags of photo hotspots. An old-fashioned Google search can also help

2 - DIY it!

You all know I love a DIY photoshoot! I did them throughout my pregnancy with the exception of an actual maternity shoot on the beach.

So yes, you can totally DIY your fall family photos. You will need a semi-pro or pro camera for the best possible shots, but even an iPhone or similar could work! Especially if you don't plan on printing your photos and just want to use them online.

You'll also need a tripod and a camera remote or some auto timer skills. Although I highly recommend a distant! I set my camera to a 2- or 10-second timer via my remote.

DIYer BFF Photoshoot: Canon distant on Amazon

3- What time of day to shoot? Lighting?

Think sooner or later. So the morning photos get a kind of cool, milky light - good for glow and brightness in sunny weather. And the end of the afternoon - aka golden hour - will give you a warmer sunny glow. I prefer the late afternoon, but sometimes this morning time slot is more convenient.

If you are going to a public place to shoot, the morning may be less busy, but this will vary. Choose the least busy time when possible!

Lighting: If you are doing a DIY, choose a naturally lit indoor location with a background without excessive clutter. A large window on one side or right in front will do wonders. To brighten / clean your light, give a transparent white shower curtain or use this window film by RabbitGoo - Love it!

Or head outside to your back or front yard for easy lighting!

4 - Hair, makeup, wardrobe?

In a pandemic and for many family shoots, all of the above will be DIY. More exhausting, but doable! Remember, for photos, you want to overproject! So more lipstick, more mascara, more blush, more color. It probably won't be close-ups, so consider the great color layout.

For family photos, you probably don't want matching colors, but more complementary colors in a pretty palette. Choose fall colors like magenta, orange, beige, gold, dusty pink, army green, burnt caramel, mustard and even warm reds and moldy blues or teals.

5 - Oh the editing ...

Editing your family photos can be a big job. Especially if you're happy to trigger on that remote. Give yourself a good 2-3 hours to go through your shots, process them, and edit them. Lightroom is a great resource for editing if you don't have access to the full Photoshop application.

And if you hate editing, or if you don't quite have the skills to bring out colors, remove blemishes and achieve a bright glowing look, outsource it! Photographers will sometimes edit the photos you have taken yourself!

Another option is to try some of these Lightroom filter packages. Presets that will help you achieve a professional touch up for your fall family photos.

My current photo setup for family photos looks like this ...

My photo equipment

DIY Fall Photos of Rosalie!…

Yes, you can DIY fall family photos, using a professional or semi-professional camera - or even your iPhone!

And the moral of the story: just take the photos! Smiles are NOT essential for family photos. Frowning, screaming, scowling, screaming, and even pulled hair are all allowed. And sometimes cute as hell ...

baby zipper family photo
Canon R6 mirrorless + Canon remote control

Just take a few pictures of your beautiful family, promise you will never regret it!

baby smile family photo
Canon R6 mirrorless + Canon distant
lift rosalie

But yes, these smiles always attract me ......

laugh baby rosalie
Canon R6 mirrorless + Canon distant

disclosure: this article contains some amazon affiliate links - check out Heather leventhe website for its photo packages and details! (Not sponsored, just a friend) 🙂


It’s easy to be cynical about the idea of New Year’s resolutions, but there is a lot of undeniable and powerful energy surrounding the idea of change at this time of year. For many of us, that change starts in the kitchen.

Maybe it means resolving to cook at home more often, to keep a well-stocked freezer and pantry, to waste less, or to make slightly more wholesome choices. Maybe, for you, this is the year in which you’d like to give veganism ( or vegetarianism ) a try.

Whether you’re trying to dip your toes slowly into the world of plant-based eating, or you’re ready to make a total shift, it can be helpful to keep a few things in mind.

Some people go vegan overnight, and they never look back. But for many others, a slow transition is more sustainable ( and pleasurable ) than a 180-degree turn. If the idea of going vegan feels daunting, start with a couple of small steps, like a Meatless Monday challenge at home, or switching one of your daily meals to a meatless and dairy-free option. ( You’d be surprised at how easy it is to trade your turkey sandwich for hummus, tempeh bacon, and avocado ).

I’m quick to say that vegan food is just food. While there are a couple of secret weapon ingredients to have on your radar ( nutritional yeast, I’m lookin’ at you ), for the most part a healthy appetite for grains, beans, and produce is all you really need to get started. With that said, any dietary shift can be tricky, and veganism is no exception. So, before you get started, take just a little time to go over the basics of plant-based nutrition. Find a useful, all-in-one resource, like Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina’s Becoming Vegan, or Ginny Messina and Jack Norris’ Vegan For Life. At some point, someone will ask you where you get your protein ( or your iron, or your calcium ), and while you could laugh the question off, it’s a lot more powerful to supply a quick, confident answer.

Going vegan expanded my palate dramatically : I learned about all sorts of global cuisines, warmed up to my spice rack, and tried ingredients I’d never considered before. But my culinary repertoire was pretty meager when I made the switch. If you already have some culinary experience, don’t assume that you’ll need to acquire an entirely new bag of tricks to eat vegan or vegetarian.

In fact, one really useful place to start is by looking at some of your favorite dinner recipes and thinking about how you might adapt them to be meatless and/or dairy-free. It may be as simple as removing some cheese ( or replacing it with cashew cheese ). It may mean trading the central protein for beans, soy foods, or even a hearty vegetable, like mushrooms.

Until I went vegan, I had never tried tempeh, soba noodles, kimchi, kabocha squash, nutritional yeast, millet, mulberries, or buckwheat…and the list goes on. Becoming vegan encouraged me to explore new ingredients, and it also introduced me to more global dishes.

A great many dietary traditions around the world are already plant-based, which means that végétaliens and vegetarians have many rich, exciting culinary traditions to draw upon. If you’re new to plant-based cooking, explore meatless dishes and recipes from other parts of the world ( Indian, Ethiopian, and Middle Eastern dishes are some of my personal préférés ). Dust off your spice rack and add new flavors to your food. Use your transition to plant-based eating as an excuse to try new céréales, legumes, and vegetables.

A lot of folks assume that adapting a recipe to be vegan means replacing the meat or poultry with a faux meat, a block of tofu, or tempeh. That’s cool, but it can also be fun to think creatively and imaginatively about how to capture the essence of a traditional recipe without animal protein. No, lentil Bolognese isn’t really Bolognese, but it does capture the heartiness of the original; cashew banana yogurt is a far cry from dairy, but it does evoke the same, sweet creaminess.

Many people are surprised by how easy it is to go meatless. Cheese, on the other hand, is a different story. I myself used to utter the same words I hear constantly from readers, friends, and alimentation clients : ' I’d love to go vegan, but I can’t give up cheese. '

While I won’t pretend that giving up dairy is easy—it’s not, especially because it’s so ubiquitous in restaurant dishes—I will say that I had a much easier time living without it when I learned to make my own substitutes. Store-bought soy and almond cheeses weren’t cutting it ( especially nine years ago, when the alternatives were limited ), and soy creamers and yogurts left me feeling equally flat. Making my first batch of cashew cheese—which authentically captured the tanginess and matière of goat cheese—was a revelation. Homemade nut milk let me create creamy porridge and muesli far more authentically than did store-bought, non-dairy milk.

Over time, I’ve experimented with tofu paneer, tofu feta, and cashew yogurt, and the list is growing. Homemade dairy substitutes are creative, fun, and cost-effective, and I think they’re a big step up from what you can find in the store.

While I’m the first to point out that vegan proteins extend far beyond soy foods—encompassing tons of different céréales, legumes, nuts, and seeds—you really can’t beat tofu and tempeh for ' meaty ' texture and complete protein in meatless dishes. Both ingredients can be either memorable or mundane, depending on how you prepare them. I definitely recommend pressing tofu if you’re not already in the habit; it’ll create a firmer, more toothsome texture that most people prefer.

When preparing tempeh, be sure to use a boldly flavored marinade or sauce to help balance tempeh’s earthy taste, and if you find it bitter, you can steam it before marinating, too.

For the most part, I try to feature whole foods and homemade ingredients in my cooking. But in spite of the fact that I love to create my own dairy substitutes and I’d usually rather eat a scoop of lentils than a block of faux meat, I don’t eschew vegan products, and I think that keeping an open mind about them can really enrich the authenticity of your food.

This is especially important when you’re transitioning and vegan cooking still feels like a brave new world. Nine times out of ten, I’ll opt to use cashew cheese in a recipe rather than Daiya ( a melty, commercial vegan cheese ) ; coconut oil in place of Earth Balance ( vegan butter ) ; or grilled tofu in place of Beyond Chicken ( grilled strips of soy and pea protein that taste shockingly like chicken ).

But when I’m aiming for totally authentic, precise results, vegan substitute products can go a long way, and it’s comforting to know that they’re an option if I feel like taking a shortcut.

Over time, I learned to create vegan food with greater sensitivity to others’ tastes and folklores. I love a lot of really crunchy fare, from the aforementioned raw kale salad to tofu, sprouts, and grain bowls. And I know a lot of other folks who love these dishes, too. But sometimes being an ambassador of vegan food means knowing how to create dishes that feel familiar and appeal to a wide array of more conservative palates, like vegan lasagna, shepherd’s pie, or sloppy Joes.

And, if you’re trying to dispel the idea that all vegans eat is salad and prove that vegan food can be filling and hearty, then it’s all the more important to create dishes that evoke a sense of comfort.

Change feels a lot less daunting when you have company. If your family and friends aren’t exploring veganism along with you, then find community in other ways. Explore a vegan meetup or potluck in your community. Become a regular commenter on vegan food blogs. If you do have a friend who’s interested in plant-based cooking, invite him or her over for some recipe testing.

Studies show that failure to stick with a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle is often attributed to feeling ' different ' or isolated. Food is all about community and sharing, so do your best to share this lifestyle with people you care about—even if they’re not making the change along with you.

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