Clear As Mud

Family Photos

If you know me, you know how passionate I am about family photos (actually, photos in general).

The number one comment I get from people when they come into our home is “omg, your photos are stunning, who’s your photographer? You are so good for making it happen, how do you make it happen?…” 

It got me thinking, what if people just need a little push or a couple of valuable tips to make this more of a reality for themselves. TRUTH: what do people grab when escaping a fire?! Photos are our memories, photos are our link to past, present, and future. Photos are a lot more than just a picture on a wall.

So, I sat down with Doug and Stana from, an amazing husband and wife duo, who have been taking our family photos since 2009. Doug snaps the pictures and Stana helps manage the family, coordinates, facilitates photo selection after the shoot and everything in-between. They are the perfect team.

We chatted and they shared with me valuable insights that I am so excited to pass on to you.

So here are some of the things that you can be proactive about when it comes to your family photo shoot. 

Do some research on the photographer, check out his/her photos. Do you like their esthetic? If their style isn’t speaking to you, it probably isn’t a good fit. 

This might be hard to do, if you are using someone the first time, but trust is extremely important. If you don’t trust your photographer, it will affect the shoot and it will show up in your pictures. Try to let go and put your faith in the person you hired to do the job. You don’t do you own plumbing; you hire a plumber… at least most of us do 🙂 

Which brings me to the next point. 

Your photographer (if they are good) spent time understanding the location, the lighting, wind pattern etc.… so it’s not helpful for you to make suggestions on how and where to shoot. That being said, if you have something specific in mind definitely communicate that ahead of time! You’re their clients and they want you to be happy! 

Try to get a photo of each individual child with you and your spouse. This is super powerful and will mean a lot to your child in the moment and down the road. They will know how important you are to them not only as a family unit but as an individual.

In the same vein, get a picture with your significant other, as it is you two, the parent team and the solid bond that unites you, that makes you both the center of the family.

Communicate in advance any concerns or fears you might have, the more you share, the more you’re set up for success. Ex: I need to make sure my knees are always covered…

Picking the color theme of clothing is important. It really matters the season and location of your shoot. For example, in the fall it makes sense to have a punch of color and the summer more muted shades, but again it really depends on where you’re shooting. Also, you don’t need all your children to match but you do want the colors to work together, or it can make for some chaotic-looking photos. Working with the color wheel can be very helpful, also many times you can get paint swatches that tell you a few colors that work well together, great way to get some ideas.  There are some great resources online that can give you some great ideas. I will link some here.

Bring snacks! Hungry people make for cranky people! A little bribery never hurt either, just saying!

Saved the best for last! 


That’s where the magics is at! Taking family photos does not need to be stressful. Make it fun, make it something your kids won’t dread. Don’t worry about your kid’s behavior! Ask yourself, what do I want to see in 20 years? a perfect pose or the personality and soul of your child at that age? Do you want to see a fake smile or something that evokes genuine memories!?

Ok, so what can you expect from your photographer?

The photographer you hire should be fully engaged and present.

They should have a location that meets the needs and wants that you communicated. 

They should be able to pivot, in case the plans they had aren’t working due to weather, family dynamics or anything else that arises. 

Let them worry about finding the best angle for you! Try to let go of that insecurity! I know it’s hard but it’s worthwhile! 

And to quote Doug and Stana “customer service doesn’t end once we get your money”. Some photographers want to hand a disc of the digital images and never hear from you again. There is a tremendous value to actually printing some of your photos, they don’t do you a ton of good sitting on your computer in some obscure file. 

Choosing prints can be quite overwhelming. What I love about Loneman Photography is that after your shoot you can book a session with them and they help you narrow down your selection to the best of the best. The don’t try to sell you more than you need, often times Stana has to tell me “Chavie, you don’t need that photo!”. This is a very valuable service, and I would definitely inquire about it with the photographer you choose to go with. 

YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR. It’s an age old saying for a reason. If you choose to go with an amateur, who’s just starting out, because they have great prices, that’s totally ok, but be aware of what you are getting, that’s all. 

I encourage  all of you to come to Bozeman to hire Doug and Stana 😉 but if that’s not possible, I hope these tips help you have the best family photo shoot experience.


Noah has cooked in a variety of kitchens and has studied many different cuisines, but his favorite meals to prepare are the ones that make his guests smile. Be it Thai, Italian, Caribbean or Latin, there is always a fun surprise waiting for you at meal time. Noah welcomes special requests and guests in his kitchen! Just stop by and say hi.

Yocheved Sidof is a social entrepreneur, psycho-mystical depth work facilitator, writer, educator, speaker, and activist. After a decade as a filmmaker and photographer, she founded Lamplighters Yeshivah, a grassroots, internationally acclaimed, progressive Chassidic Montessori school. Yocheved builds communities with healing at the center. Most recently, she founded Ohm’ek, an intentional collective focusing on meditation, embodied mysticism, and micro-retreats.

A lifelong learner, she’s completed extensive training in adaptive leadership, therapeutic coaching, and systemic change. She is currently in a two-year intensive training with Thomas Hubl, studying psycho-somatic-mystical models of healing personal, collective, and ancestral trauma. She also writes, consults, works 1:1 with clients, facilitates group transformational work, and regularly teaches Jewish spiritual studies.

Yocheved sits on boards supporting innovations in mental health awareness and self-transformation. She has studied Jewish mysticism and meditation extensively, including with Rav Katz since 2018, completing Elevation Teacher Training and sitting on his advisory board for over a year.

Yocheved, her husband, and five children live in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Come say “Hi!” if you’re in the neighborhood.