Holiday season is in full swing and it's that time of year we all start frantically choosing outfits and asking for addresses! Stressed about family photos? We've rounded up our 5 best tips to ease your nerves before the big day. And don't forget, only one day left to enter our giveaway with Tiny Prints over on Instagram for a chance to win $100 shop credits to both Tiny Prints and Alice + Ames!

1.) What to wear. Don't match, coordinate!

Pick a color story for the whole family, pair it with a neutral base, and go wild from there. Stray from graphics and super-trendy prints, and consider which tones best complement your hair color and skin tone. Lastly remember that different patterns within your color combination, contrasting textures, and added accessories are strongly encouraged to keep things visually interesting. If you don't know where to start, pick one statement piece and go from there. Since kids look cute in just about anything, always start with choosing Mom's outfit and build from there.

2.) Be yourselves.
Don't play dress-up on a day that is supposed to be about you! It's easy to spot a grumpy Dad who was forced to put on a tie or pants that he would never normally wear in real life. (Besides, husbands are typically grumpy about family pictures in the first place, don't give them more reason to be!) Obviously it's okay to go more formal than you normally would for pictures if that's what you want, but remember to keep true to your own style when doing so. This goes for hair, makeup, location, etc. If you don't feel like yourself, chances are it will not feel as 
genuine and will show through in your images. 

3.) Be comfortable.
This kind of goes back to rule number two-- if you don't feel completely comfortable, it will show through in your photos. It's important to take a 360 degree look around with your selected outfit on before your shoot. If you're feeling insecure about something, chances are that's all you'll think about during your photo session and all you'll see once you receive your photos. Photographers tend to shoot from a lot of different angles, and while they do look for the most flattering ones, don't limit their creativity by wearing something you're not comfortable in from every point of view.

4.) Plan.
Wether you're planning a photo session for you and your husband, or for you and your 5 kids, just plan. Kids are totally unpredictable and you'll thank yourself for being prepared for anything. Lay out all your clothes and shoes and physically try them on everyone beforehand. If you think you'll be able to grab the shoes, baby wipes, car keys, or bow on your way out, you're wrong. They will be nowhere to be found. Get everything packed up beforehand, and if you have a baby on board, go as far as to bring a backup outfit for him or her. Bring clean snacks for toddlers (puffs, cheerios, etc.) and if you do bring toys or a pacifier for your baby, bring ones you're willing to claim as family on your next Christmas card. A small sentimental teddy bear or simple sweet blanket doesn't ruin an image if it's the only thing keeping your child happy that day! Talk with your children and prepare them for what's to come, agree on a reasonable bribe, and make sure to coordinate a good time of day with your photographer so your kids will be well-rested and as content as possible. 

5.) Set low expectations. 
Now that you've heard all the advice we have to offer, remember this upmost important one. Set zero expectations. Your three year old will most likely have a tantrum beforehand because she wants to wear different shoes, your teenager will probably be annoyed no matter what, you guys might get a speeding ticket on the way to the session, and you will most definitely have the worst hair day of your entire life on the day of the scheduled shoot. Either way, just go with it. A screaming baby photographs much cuter than a screaming Mother. Keep your cool, breathe, and remember that they are just pictures. Guaranteed you will look back and love the images of your kindergartner smiling in that new creepy way she's been trying out, or the one of your toddler running out of the frame with only one shoe on. It's real and it's you guys! And hey, if they turn out even worse than your worst expectations.. well then there's always next year. ;) 

*All photos by the wonderful Nicki Sebastian