I’m a millennial, and I love photos.

Zula Sonner Photography

My friend in Los Angeles is surrounded by “model-moms” (as she calls them)—because they really are models! We are perplexed by their photos of 8-week post baby, concave bellies. And wow, they look good.

Then there are those of us “non-model-moms:” Mere mortals who’s bodies have transformed, self-conscious about the bags under our eyes, and can’t find the time to keep up with our split ends. These types of feelings, according to writer and mother, Allison Tate, are very relatable to many women, and described in her Huffington Post piece, “The Mom Stays in the Picture.” A lot of mommy’s are absent in the photo because they don’t want evidence of their “mom-bods” or over-tired faces.

I can relate, as my girlfriend and I joke about our “melted candle” figures, and how no amount of make-up can make up for lost nights of sleep.

Others, like my own mom and mother-in-law, may not have the same lamenting feelings; however, they missed opportunities to be included in photos because they were always the one behind the camera.

I can also relate, as it is second nature for me to grab my phone and paparazzi my kids. After all, I am a millennial, and documenting our lives is what we do best.

But no matter if you’re a millennial, a mom, or a millennial-mom, there’s that constant desire to capture life’s moments that pass ever so quickly. And it’s time that you, Mama, get in that photo too. Just like model-mom.

So listen to Tate, who writes: “Our sons need to see how young and beautiful and human their mamas were. Our daughters need to see us vulnerable and open and just being ourselves — women, mamas, people living lives…”

…Which is why I find myself booking annual sessions with our photographer.

Zula is someone I look up to as a business owner, friend, mother, and of course, a talented woman who photographs my children in their most natural state.

Zula Sonner Photography

This is a true gift, because sometimes my kids are…strong-willed:


So let’s get real about family photos. They are an awesome commemorative piece, but the road to getting the end product can be challenging if you kids are less than compromising. After multiple sessions with Zula, the Corn King and I have a few tricks up our sleeves:

  1. Choose one or two pieces as your muse.
Zula Sonner Photography

Dress by Penny Candy.

Think of these as the “star” of your photo, and coordinate everyone else’s outfits in softer, complimentary tones. I absolutely love the outfits provided by Runchkins. The Penny Candy Pinkies Up dress was my inspiration, as the waterfall of flowers added the perfect dimension for our photos in the Japanese gardens. I love the satin bow on the back, giving it a special touch, when she twirled like a princess.

A2’s Deux Par Deux shirt had just enough detail to dress up his outfit, complementing the beautiful dress, while also standing out on it’s own.


Zula Sonner Photography

Shirt by Deux Par Deux.


2. Get ready early.

Adults should get ready first. But leave your outfits to be put on last. Corn King likes to put on a t-shirt and bring his actual top to the photo shoot (putting it on at the very last minute). This is a great idea for mom’s and dad’s, as it decreases the chances of stains from children spitting up on you, throwing snacks at you, or having to chase them on farm (dirt) roads. Sigh.

Getting ready for pictures

Finally, get the kids dressed after the adults are all set. Sometimes, this means doing finishing touches in your trunk right before you meet your photographer. (Bibs are also a great idea to put on kids before the shoot, to decrease chances of stains, and of course, drool).

3. Everything is a reward.

We have many non-traditional photographs with A1:

Getting them to smile can be difficult. And if you’re dealing with multiple kids, one may decide to crack a smile, while the other decides he/she doesn’t want to. So bring a few pieces of candy, or one of their favorite toys. It’s a great reward for cooperating. For us, the “reward” usually ends up in the photo, but these non-traditional photos become amazing memories that end up framed at my house.

Zula Sonner Photography

A1 dropping flowers–her reward–in the field. A candid moment that is now framed.

4. Let it go.

I put in a lot of effort, so I often find myself getting worked up when A2 stains his white shirt with my makeup brush, or when A1 sticks out her tongue instead of smiling.

But don’t sweat the small stuff. At the end of the day, those candid pictures where everyone is REAL, end up being my favorites. And for those stains, that’s what photoshop is for 😉 All the more reason why my final tip is so important.

5. Trust your photographer.

Hire someone who has experience photographing children and families, and let them guide you. Zula often tells us to just let the kids go. Sometimes that means A2 is running away, or A1 is the only one not looking at the camera. But a good photographer can grab these moments and make the memory come to life.
Zula Sonner Photography

Now, Moms, go get in that picture! And let Runchkins get your childrens’ outfits squared way so you can have a little more time prepping for yourself. It’s one less worry for you.

Zula Sonner Photography

The kids are trying to escape, but Zula was able to capture this moment and make it fun memory.


If you like what you see…

Sign Up for Your Box

*And don’t forget to participate in our give-away: A Penny Candy Peach Colored Up Dress or the Deux Par Deux Polo. If Runchkins doesn’t have your child’s size, you’ll receive a store credit for the same amount. Here’s what to do:

  1. Like Runchkins on Facebook
  2. Share this post & Comment with a picture from your family photo shoot.
  3. Created a style profile on Runchkins.