We asked a dozen successful amateur and pro portraitists for tips on better family photos. Our interviews turned up a surprising number of common strategies for succeeding with this classic subject. Here’s how they suggest you capture your family’s personality in pictures. *Keep It Real*Small reminders of daily life are more precious than posed images. The family pictures that will mean the most to you (and others) will be the most candid. Try to capture family members interacting with each other and the world around them. Keep from directing or posing people—it may vex your subjects and reduce your chances for good photos. (Above Photo) Pro Sue Barr chose a Coney Island location for this family portrait. It lent color to the background and coaxed lively expressions from the kids.Sue Barr
I tried to read this article but gave up quickly. The first tip alone contains at least four or five instances of the wrong word -- or wrong form of a word -- being used. We're photographers, not writers, but there's no excuse for such lousy basic communication skills. Even if you don't wish to hold your contributors to a standard, you surely make enough money from this site to have someone take a low-level proofing run through the articles before posting publicly. Please?
I know that many readers feel that they don’t have the time for shooting in RAW (due to extra processing) but a wedding is one time that it can be particularly useful as it gives so much more flexibility to manipulate shots after taking them. Weddings can present photographers with tricky lighting which result in the need to manipulate exposure and white balance after the fact – RAW will help with this considerably.
Zam Photography provides photography services for (weddings, seniors, family, children, fashion, and events). Zam Photography serves the Houston area. Zam Photography of Kingwood, Texas provides wedding photography photographs. Zam Photography of Kingwood, Texas provides Newborn photography and specializes in newborn posed photography. Zam Photography of Kingwood, Texas provides children photography. Zam Photography of Kingwood, Texas provides family photography. Zam Photography of Kingwood, Texas provides engagement and couples photography. Zam Photography of Kingwood, Texas provides senior photography sessions.  Zam Photography of Kingwood, Texas provides fashion photography sessions. Zam Photography provides photography in Kingwood and the greater Houston area.Even if it’s a few emails, a phone call, or an in person meeting at a coffee shop, have a consultation with the family at some point before the shoot. Address things like what the family will wear (use a service like Pinterest to create a board for the family to look at for suggestions on how they might dress), what time of day would be the best for them, and what they’re looking to get out of the shoot (i.e., candids, headshots, or a holiday card).

The objective of a lifestyle newborn photoshoot is to capture more candid shots of the infant in their own environment, and, usually, include the parents in the shots, as well. These shoots are typically a bit quicker because—as long as the lighting is good—there’s less set-up and deliberate styling. You can anticipate maybe two to three hours in the client’s space for these lifestyle newborn photoshoots.
Each Additional Grouping – $25  Turn your family portrait session into a complete pictorial session if you have separate groups to photograph. For example, include one group of the whole family, another group of just the grandparents, others with each adult child’s family, and maybe one with just the grandkids. Construct as many groupings as you like.
Please, parents… leave the “cheese” at home. Cheese is for crackers. So many times I have found parents who stand behind the photographer and scream, “Say cheese to the lady kids!” Yelling and demanding young children to look at the camera to smile will only stress your children out (not to mention the photographer) and will result in strained, unnatural and often unflattering photographs. Step back, and allow the photographer to naturally interact and talk with your children. This will result in natural, gorgeous smiles. Help the photographer capture the true essence of your child’s personality by talking with and coaxing out those smiles naturally and easily.
Adding a tripod to your kit isn’t the most practical of wedding photography tips but hear me out. I’m not suggesting you go around the whole wedding using this. However, if you want to get creative later on at night with flash then a tripod is a necessity. You’ll be able to capture all manner of ambient light and even the stars in the night sky. Use a slow shutter speed and at the same time light the couple with your flash.

Standing at the front during the Ceremony can be a great place to capture intimate images of the couple exchanging vows, rings, kisses etc. Keep your movements to a minimum so you don’t attract more attention than the couple getting married. This angle gives you a unique perspective on the Ceremony. At the same time, it allows you to capture the emotional reactions of the wedding guests.
I also suggest my bride to get their manicure and pedicure done according to the colors that they are going to be wearing for the session. Remember that they are scoring a brand new engagement ring and chances are you are going to be photographing it. So, giving a fair warning to your clients about it will save you a lot of work in post-processing and will also save you some great detail shots.
DO be clear about what you're offering. "Make sure the couple knows that you're shooting as a favor and that you can't guarantee results," says New York City-based wedding pro Cappy Hotchkiss. "I've seen many friendships end over this." Limit expectations, and "don't get roped into doing a ton of large family groups. Explain that you will capture groups as they occur," adds the photographer. If it's going to take you months to deliver the photos, let the couple know in advance.
Family photography goes beyond mere traditional gestures. The pictures aren’t just decoration for the entrance table, these are your personal links to times and special moments in your life. The essence of this type of photography spans many themes: something to remember when your children were still kids, to commemorate their graduation, or to celebrate a complete gathering. Family pictures are highly meaningful.
Wow Annie thank you thank you so much for the “what to wear” guide!! I just cant stop reading it! you have made my day and made me see colour marchers in a whole new way! you have covered everything!..(i only wish the places you linked to were available in New Zealand..But im sure i can find beautiful clothes over here 2!:) And the cool examples at the bottom of the page!!! YAY love to see little outfits you have put together im so going to take this post with me the next time i get to the shops!:) You are truly AMAZING in everything you do and thank you again for shearing your Amaziness with the world <3
Hi there fellow San Diegan and fellow Charger fan ;-), I don’t think there’s anything I can say that hasn’t been said already. Wonderful tips and insight especially for newbies like myself. I can’t even call myself a photographer considering I’m still getting to learn my camera. But I will say that after reading your post, it definitely seems more doable and less scary. Not saying that it will be easy. I’m hoping to get together with a photographer and go on a “ride along” so to speak and maybe get some hands on experience before I venture out on my own. I literally came across your post about an hour ago and I’m looking forward to reading and learning more!
Aside from being flexible, be safe.  The most important thing on this list is to research newborn photography safety before you start. Many traditional poses are actually composites with spotters and safeguards in place so the baby is out of harm’s way.  Lastly, don’t give up.  I remember the first time I went snowboarding when I got back before I could open my mouth, my friend said I need to do it 5 more times before I decide to give up, that the learning curve is steep and that it gets easier.  The same is true for newborn photography.  My first session left me feeling very defeated, but I’m glad I got back up and did it again (and again and again)…and hopefully, this list removes some of your growing pains.
The beaches are a great location for family photo sessions. Families arrive to get away from the cold winters up north during the holidays. Grandparents who live on the beaches of Fort Myers, Marco Island and Sanibel Island are happy when the grandchildren arrive. I have photographed family photo sessions for over twenty five years in Florida. The beautiful beaches and abundant light in Florida provide for natural portrait photography.
How do I choose a family photographer? Ask everyone else how they did with theirs! One of the best ways to find a great photographer is by asking someone who has great family photos already! Word of mouth is a great place to start to find your family photographer. If you don’t have anyone to directly refer you, go ahead and reference reviews during your research to see if people had a pleasant experience with this family photographer. ***When you’re looking at reviews it’s important to understand that there are some truly great photographers out there who don’t have a huge pile of reviews merely because they aren’t asking clients to write reviews, so take this one with a grain of salt!*** With that being said, it should absolutely send up a red flag if the photographer has multiple awful reviews written about them – and I’m talking about more then just one or two. I’m talking about loads of reviews saying the same thing over and over about the service provided. We live in a world where people who receive bad service feel compelled to take to the internet and tell the world as a way of preventing other consumers from going through the same pain. So, keep an eye out for this warning sign and if you come across someone who has lots of people saying they had a bad experience or felt swindled. This can be a big problem with those photographers who have a price that seems too good to be true. Heed the warning and move on to someone who has a better stamp of approval.
Newborn photography can come with many surprises, especially if you aren’t a parent.  I’ve compiled a list of newborn photography tips that have helped me tremendously and I am sure will be helpful for anyone interested in learning more about newborn photography.  Of course, every photographer will have a different way or style of doing things but these are just some of the top things I’ve learned through the years as a newborn photographer.

[GIVEAWAY] I’m excited to announce that I’m collaborating with @cansoninfinity to give away a print of one of my newborn photos, as well as a pack of my favourite Canson® Infinity Rag Photographique! To enter, simply follow @cansoninfinity, like this post, and leave a comment below letting me know that you’ve completed all of the steps. Entries close June 21st at 23:59 AEST, with the winner being picked the following week a random draw 😃
Meet a few photographers before hiring anyone. Any photographer should be willing to meet with you either in person or by phone before you commit to hiring them just like a contractor would be. (If they aren’t you might want to think twice about working with them because that shows they are not valuing the relationship and are more likely to think of you as a pay check.) Just like when you are choosing a pediatrician, or a pre school, when you hire a photographer you are hiring someone who will be intimately involved with your life. The only way to get beautiful, true images is to work with someone who you genuinely like and trust. True images only happen when you will feel comfortable being yourself around your photographer.
Most couples will be a little awkward about having their photos taken. However, this doesn’t have to be a bad thing. As long as your couple is laughing about how awkward it is you will get some great reaction shots. The beauty of photography is that the photo doesn’t know it was an awkward moment all it will see is laughter. Just play on it a little bit and get some great laughing shots. Make it more awkward if you want and get up close with a 24mm lens.
Choose practical clothing items. This is an important item to keep in mind for every family member but, especially when you are thinking about what to dress your little ones in. If your kids are not comfortable then you’re going to be in for a long photo shoot. Don’t make it more difficult on yourself or your photographer to get the perfect shot. Make sure that everyone is comfortable with their clothing to ensure all smiles.
Expressions Photography by Baby Face Portraits is devoted to serving families and businesses with exceptional and affordable portrait and photography services. Whatever the occasion or purpose, our staff of experienced and accomplished photographers will create for you the perfect portraits. Our studio is equipped with backgrounds, props, staging and lighting intended to create beautiful and imaginative portraits of newborns and toddlers, first birthday portraits, holiday portraits, family portraits, executive portraits and more.  Or, as many families and businesses prefer, we can come to you on location for a family Christmas session in your home,  maternity portraits, a birthday party, a child’s baptism or an executive team shoot.  We photograph at beaches, parks, and other locations. Regardless of where we photograph, Expressions Photography will create portraits you will appreciate and treasure for a lifetime.
Equipment is another factor in wedding photography cost. To get those glorious, high-definition photos, you need your pro to have top-of-the-line equipment. High-end professional cameras can run around $6,000 or even as high as $30,000 for the premium brands. Add the cost of lenses to that (an average of $1,000-$2,000 or more each) and you'll understand why a professional photographer's rates are higher than those of a hobbyist with a mid-priced camera.
"I recently did a photo shoot with James and he was great! I contacted him 4 days before I needed to have the photos done and he was responsive within 15 minutes. He is really flexible with times and locations. We went to a few cool locations downtown that I would have never thought of. Very nice young man who knows what he is doing. I would do another photo shoot in the future!"
Professionalism is seen in the details. Pay attention to how their presentation is, the care with their website, with their social networks, the attention that the person gives you. Does the photographer treat clients as just one more job? Or do every customer is important? Do you realize that they love what they do? Paying attention to these little details can help you choose or discard professionals.
A. Much like with a mogwai, making your photographer wait to eat until after midnight is a bad life decision. Wedding photography is a super active profession and by the time your reception starts we will have trekked several miles with very heavy equipment hanging off of us the whole time. So, we need to eat or else we risk passing out or getting sick from our blood sugar getting too low. A nice hot meal will get us back in action, refreshed and ready to rock the rest of the evening!
Morning and dusk are the best times to take photos for lighting, but not always the most convenient time.  The lighting right before dusk is my absolute favorite!  It is warm and beautiful but for children, sometimes it is the hardest time of the day.  Morning light is beautiful as well, but sometimes a bit cool, so be prepared to do a little editing.  The afternoon light is just too harsh so avoid it is possible.  If it is not possible, find shade to take your photos in to diminish the risk of harsh shadows.
Newborn photography is not all as it seems. That baby in a hammock? The little girl propping her head up in that froggy pose? And the little guy in a firefighter helmet? Those are all Photoshop tricks. Babies can’t hold their heads like that, and you should never place a baby inside a prop that may tip over or otherwise endanger the baby without taking proper precautions.
Good article! Something else to mention . . . if you're just starting out, I'd recommend picking up an used or refurb model. I bought a Canon 40D first without knowing what I was buying and payed over a grand (which was good for the time). I ended up buying a refurb Canon Rebel xti as a backup for less than $350, and to be honest, I shoot with it more! The 40D is the better camera and has much better build quality, but the xti gives it a run for it's money and is smaller / lighter. I could have saved the money for a full frame camera or a nice L lens. :)
Light can make or break any photograph, portraits are no different. The very derivative of the word photography is “drawing with light”. The biggest thing you want to make sure you do for portraits is get light into your subjects’ eyes. There are many ways to do that and that’s a whole huge topic but there are a few things you can do to set yourself up to start off with good light.
I don’t mind them most of the time – I think they show your baby as he or she is and there’s nothing wrong with that. However at times they can be a little distracting and for those special shots that you might like to give as gifts you might like to do a little photoshop retouching. Most post processing editing tools will have some sort of airbrush or retouching tool – learn to use it, even if it’s just to smooth over the main marks and you’ll be amazed by the results.
2.  Lots of photos of the specific type of session that you want to book.  Another thing you might want to consider is that although your wedding photographer may have done a fantastic job on your wedding photos, that doesn’t mean she’ll be any good at taking posed photos of your newborn baby.  It’s a totally different skill set!  Similarly, if you’re thinking about using your newborn photographer for family photos, you may want to check out her family sessions and make sure you like her style.  She probably won’t be having you all squish up into a bucket and pretend to sleep, so her family photo style could look quite a bit different from her newborn style. 🙂  If you have young kids, make sure they’ve got a lot of experience working with busy little ones.  If you’re looking for senior portraits, make sure they know how to pose teens in a flattering way.  These are all things that we as photographers study and we’ve all chosen to specialize in different areas.

Timing of the shoot is very important. I often give my couples two options. The first option is to photograph very early in the morning, and the second is later in the afternoon. Both times, the light is soft and often diffused, so there is no harsh direct light to deal with. This way, I do not have to worry about finding a shade, which can be problematic in open nature parks. Educate your clients on the importance of choosing the right timing. You are the photographer and you should know best what light works for you.


Hi, I was reading your post and need the help of someone who knows what they are talking about . I just purchased the canon T6i which comes with a standard lens and I’m not really familiar with the photography world so my question is what would be a good relatively inexpensive lens to get for portrait photography ? If it matters , I’m just a mom wanting to take some great pictures of my son and don’t want to spend a lot . Thank you

So, those are our wedding day photography timeline tips, myths and F.A.Q.s! If you are one of our clients, then we are happy to review your responses to our questionnaires and we will give you customized feedback about your wedding day photography timeline. No matter who you are, we hope that this page was helpful and that your wedding elevates the meaning of the word “awesomeness” to a whole new level!!! :)


[…] I decided to use the techniques I had practised with during my test shoot with the doll, anbd bring them into the shoot I did with the real newborn, as well as looking online for any tips that could help me with getting the images perfect. I found a site which talked me through the different poses, the best way to move the newborn and then preparation before hand, I found the advice quite helpful: DIY newborn shoots […]
Being as I am just started out I figured it might be a good idea to get my feet wet in those editing programs before I take the big leap into Photoshop and pay it’s ungodly price!! (lol) anyhow, if you can think of a better site where I might get a little more practice editing pictures please let me know. And please let me know your honest opinion of the aforementioned websites.
Once you are ready after hair and makeup, we will meet up at your location of choice. Do you need to know how to pose? Nope, that’s what you have me for! I know tons of ways to position you based on your body type and what you are wearing. The slightest movement one way or another, can make the biggest difference on how you look on camera…I’ve studied it, and I can help you get those magazine style poses!
LIFESTYLE PHOTOS: this category may have other names, such as candid, natural, etc. They can be done in almost any environment and can be more or less directed (sometimes it is difficult to say if the situation was real or not). They seem unposed, unplanned, and often focusing on true connections and feelings. It is in the middle between the portrait photos and the documentary photos (next category).
8. Experiment with settings. We’re used to seeing photos of babies in cribs, in beds, the bath, etc. But how about asleep on dad’s chest, nestled inside of a box, or positioned atop a decorative rug? Unexpected settings can add visual interest to your shots. Of course, you want to be extra careful with creative settings too! Most of the amazing pro photos have a spotter’s hand in the shot to keep baby safe, and then is later photoshopped out of the photo. Don’t ever pose baby in a precarious position and then step back to take a photo.

I’m going to be taking photographs of my daughter giving birth to my granddaughter next month and I’m panicing. I don’t know a lot about lighting yet except for what I’ve read, I love outdoor photos as they always seem to come out great. I’m concerned about the birthing room lightening. What ISO would you put your camera lighting too? While she is in labor I can experiment, but I would like maybe a heads up with this. I love taking photography of my grandchildren and family and friends, but just started to really get serious about it. So much has happened and I planned on going to some classes for lighting, but do to wedding and shower and death of my Mom, I haven’t had time. If you could help I would appreciate. Please send me a message to my yahoo.com account. Signed Desperate thank you in advance Joyce


Once you’re through with the type of photos above, use a family member to get even more pictures of just the baby. You’ll notice that I almost always use my piece of black stretch velvet as a background when photographing baby and mom. I just really like the timeless look, and it makes for great black and white photos. In the following photos I asked the mom to wear a black shirt, then draped the black velvet either over them or behind them. Here are a few more fun poses using a family member:
Most photographers allow clients to purchase additional prints for themselves or their families. Many photographers now provide online sales either through galleries located on their own websites or through partnerships with other vendors. Those vendors typically host the images and provide the back end sales mechanism for the photographer; the photographer sets his or her own prices and the vendor takes a commission or charges a flat fee.
Just as you do not want the exposure to change from frame to frame, neither do you want the focus to be adjusted. Assuming you’ve taken #1 to heart and are using a tripod, you will not be moving. Likely if you’ve posed your group in a relatively static position, they will not be moving. Not much anyway. We are only concerned with moving closer to, or further away from the camera. So . . .
Some brides might ask whether it is ok to do a boudoir shoot of them on the morning of the wedding. This has to be something you feel comfortable doing and ideally something you have practised before. A boudoir shoot typically sees your model or in this case the bride photographed in their underwear. You can find out more about this kind of photography by seeing our post on nude photography which shares many characteristics with boudoir imagery. It also talks about how this type of photography can be used to promote body positivity and increase confidence in the person being photographed. Producing these types of images can also make for a great present for the groom.
If you and your fiancé are wearing understated autumnal colors, a fun accessory (think: a colorful scarf or bright hat) can add just enough visual interest to your fall engagement photo outfits. For instance, a pop of plaid is the perfect way to give off an autumnal vibe for more rustic or country engagement shoots. Just keep in mind that statement accessories shouldn't compete with your outfits, so if you're going with a bold pattern, keep the rest of your duds neutral. 
Posed/studio sessions – Typically must be done within the first 2 weeks of birth when the baby is very sleepy and “mold-able”.  The focus in this type of session is on shots of the baby looking perfect, usually in blankets, wraps, hats, & headbands.  The session can last up to 4 hours with feeding, potty breaks, and posing.  Editing this type of session also takes quite a bit of time as each image needs to go through Photoshop individually to get a polished end result.
Once your session is booked, we will have a phone consultation so that I can get to know you and your style, as well as your hopes and dreams for your shoot! I want your session to be as uniquely you as we can. We will discuss location - do you want dreamy backlit field images, or are you an uptown girl who likes to dress up in the city, want an editorial shoot? We’ll also talk about styling, outfit choices, accessories, hair and makeup, etc.to match your location choice.  You will then receive a beautiful Welcome Packet from me in the mail that covers everything you could ever think of. It even has a checklist for you for session day!
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People having fun on summer vacation. Father, mother and child against blue sea and skyFamily Relaxing In Garden With Pet DogHappy family father and children reading a book in tent at hom. Happy family father and children reading a book with a flashlight in a tent at homeFamily of noble deer in a snowy winter forest. Christmas fantasy image in blue and white color. Snowing. Underwater photo. Happy family snorkelling in tropical sea. Happy family - father, mother, child in snorkeling mask dive underwater with tropical fishes in coralBig family have a dinner with fresh cooked meal on open garden t. ErraceNewborn Baby and Family Concept, Parents Holding New Born Child. Newborn Baby and Family Concept, Parents Couple Holding New Born Child in Hands, Mother FatherHappy family. Young father playing silly with his daughter lifting her upClinking glasses of wine. Cheers after speech. Party at cafe or restaurant. Family celebration or anniversary. 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Multi-ethnic family spend time together sitting on couch in living room have fun play with little preschoolSmiling multi-generation family using mobile phone in living room. At homeHappy family mother and child girl paints eggs for Easter. At homeFamily lying on grass. Outdoors in spring parkTime for family always exists. Young parents playing with daughters at homeHappy loving family. Mother and her daughters children girls playing and huggingFamily New Home Moving Day House Concept. Happy family playing into new home. Father, mother and child having fun together. Moving house day and real estateConcept housing young family. Mother father and child in new h. Concept housing a young family. Mother father and child in new house with a roof at empty brickMulti Generation Family Giving Children Piggybacks OutdoorsFamily in iceland. Back view of family, father and son, enjoying beautiful view at iceberg lagoon in jokulsarlon national park in iceland, copy space on rightHappy family shopping. A happy family is shopping together in a mallPretty yong family in bed. Parents kissing their baby, top viewEnjoy family. Family enjoy playing singing togetherHappy family: mother, father, children son and daughter on sunset. Happy family: mother, father, children son and daughter on nature on sunsetHappy family mother and daughter read a book in evening. Happy family mother and daughter read a book in the evening at homeHappy family mother and baby son on autumn walk. Happy family mother and baby son playing and laughing on autumn walkMother and child daughter practicing yoga together at home. Sport and family concept. Mother and child daughter practicing yoga together in living room at homeYoung woman having fun with kids doing yoga. Family sport concep. T. Close upEvening family reading. father reads children . book before going to bed . Evening family reading. father reads children a book before going to bedAmerican soldier with family outdoors. Military service. American soldier with happy family outdoors. Military serviceHappy African-American family of four on beach. Happy African-American family with two children on beachFamily reading bedtime. Mom and child reading book with a flashlight under blanket. Family reading bedtime. Mom and child daughter reading a book with aFamily on Easter. Happy holiday! Mother and her daughter with painting eggs. Family preparing for Easter. Cute little child girl is wearing bunny earsHappy family father, mother and child daughter launch a kite on. Nature at sunsetHappy family father and daughter reading book in bed. Happy family father and child daughter reading book in bedLarge Family by Tree. A large family with two parents and eight children, some biological and some adopted, multi racial children by a cool treeFamily moving into their new home. Young happy family moving into their new homeFamily with red umbrella. Happy funny family with red umbrella under the autumn shower. Girl and her mother are enjoying rainfall. Kid and mom are playing on theExcited Family At New Home Sweet HomeMerry Christmas! happy family mother father and child with magic. Gift near treeHappy family mother and children on autumn walk. In parkFamily. Mother and daughter. Together. Family, mother and daughter on the river bank. The girl bends over and says something to her daughter. Girls in whiteHappy family. Young mother and father with baby boy, leafy green trees in backgroundKangaroo family on the beach. A family of kangaroos enjoying a beach sunset on the Australian coast, hopping in unison on the wet sand that shows theirFather`s day. Happy family daughter hugging dad and laughs. On holidayFamily walking through poppy field. Holding handsFamily reading bedtime. Pretty young mother reading a book to her daughter. Happy time at homeHappy family on a camping trip relaxing by their tentChristmas magic gift box and a happy family mother and baby. Christmas magic gift box and a women happy family mother and Child babyHappy family in kitchen. mother and children preparing dough, ba. Happy family in the kitchen. mother and children preparing the dough, bake cookies
Look at an engagement session as a practicing ground for the upcoming wedding. While meeting your clients for a consultation can give you loads of information about them, working with them directly before the wedding and learning their preferences might be very helpful for you while photographing the actual wedding. At the same time, engagement sessions give a great opportunity to your clients to understand how you work behind the camera, and give a chance to practice for their upcoming wedding as your subjects.

You can also design a digital photo book to commemorate special events. Photo book-creation sites allow you to put as little or as much effort and creativity into the process as you like -- offering numerous design choices for those who want a hands-on experience or prepackaged options if you're short on time or have a large number of images to include in a single project.


Annie, Thank you so much for this post. I found this delightful and amazingly informative post on Pinterest. I’d been on the for hours looking at how to style family portraits. I’m going insane, we have pictures tomorrow and I still don’t know what I’m wearing. I have my husband and the 4 kids (boys age 17, 16, & 11 and our girl age 10) clothes picked out but not myself. Deep breath….. I’m going to try again to find something conducive. Wish me luck
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