Planning for Stress-Free Family Photos on Your Wedding Day

Family portraits are such an important reminder of a wedding day but unfortunately, they can be one of the more stressful portions of the day. The last thing I want is for you to get the energy zapped out of you by family pictures (especially if bride and groom portraits are afterwards!). Here is my best advice for making sure family pictures go smoothly.

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My Favorite Spots to Take Photos in Palo Duro Canyon

I have take engagement, family, senior, and wedding photos in Palo Duro Canyon literally dozens and dozens of times. It never gets old for me! Each time I’m driving on the flat plains and then suddenly the world opens up into the canyon, I am amazed. It is absolutely my favorite place to take pictures around Amarillo, Texas. It is beautiful and versatile. And because of that versatility, I thought it was necessary to create this blog to show some of my favorite spots within the canyon to take photos. These little sub-locations within the canyon are completely different from one another and it’s hard to choose a favorite among them. They all look great any time of year but some can look drastically different from one season to another and on those, I’ve noted which season the picture was taken in.

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The Harper Family | Natural Newborn Photos at Home

I am so happy that my friend Amber and I now both have daughters. And while my daughter, Neve, is a little too rough and wild to play with Allora right now, I’m sure Allora will soon catch up and the two will be best friends.

My favorite part about photographing newborn photos is capturing the sweet, natural moments between new moms and dads and their little one. I remember that being a wonderfully blurry, exciting, sometimes overwhelming time and I think it’s important to memorialize the sweet kisses, the cuddles, and the subtle smiles because it all goes so fast. I’m interested in real moments when it comes to newborn photos because I think that’s what will help a person remember how things felt even after many years have passed.

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FamilyKayla SmithComment
Alyssa + Dexter | Palo Duro Canyon Engagement Photos

There’s a first time for everything, as they say, and Alyssa and Dexter’s session gave me my first opportunity to take pictures in a feedlot! Their engagement session was pretty cut and dry to begin with because we started in Palo Duro Canyon where I shoot all the time. But after that we headed to the nearby WTAMU research feedlot where Dexter currently works and where the couple got to know each other and eventually fall in love. It was so different but so beautiful and I’m definitely not complaining about the cute cows!

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Kayla SmithComment
Esther + Lucas | Palo Duro Canyon Engagement Photos

I’ve said it a thousand times, please bring your dogs to your photo sessions!

Especially when they are twin, white labradoodles. Austin and Dallas were a couple of spirited pups and I think they stole the show during Esther and Lucas’s engagement session in Palo Duro Canyon. I’m just kidding…but they were pretty fun!

These two are about to get married this year (in Arkansas in a glass chapel!). I’m so jealous of their wedding photographer. We got the best day imaginable for their engagement photos and that’s why I love living in Amarillo, Texas. Because even in the middle of January, we have the most beautiful, mild days.

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Lisa + Nathan | Wedding at St. Andrews Episcopal Church

Sometimes I don’t meet my brides and grooms until the wedding day. In the case of Lisa and Nathan, I didn’t meet them until right after their ceremony! I have been dying to shoot a wedding at St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Amarillo but unfortunately, they don’t allow much photography during ceremonies. Luckily Lisa and Nathan were up for taking pictures with their families after their intimate ceremony.

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WeddingsKayla SmithComment
Bethany + Tyler | Snowy Morning Winter Wedding at St. Mary's in Amarillo

I’ve said this before but I owe so much to Bethany. When I was first starting out in wedding photography about 4 years ago (I can’t believe it’s been that long!) she gave me a chance. She referred me to her friend who was about to get married. I shot that wedding and then a few more that Bethany referred me to. Then those weddings led to many more. I don’t know what caused Bethany to be such an evangelist for me but I will always be indebted to her for it.

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The Hinrichs Family | Snowy Family Session in Late December

It may not look like it judging by the Hinrichs’ smiling faces, but it was about 20 degrees outside during their family photo session! Since the extended family members traveled in from both ends of the country, we had no choice but to go on with the show and I’m so glad we did. It’s not often that I get to shoot in snow, but I love it. It makes everything so clean and white. The Hinrichs are a ball and thanks to the hand warmers they gave me during the session, their shoot was a breeze.

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FamilyKayla SmithComment
Jayla + Seth | Downtown Amarillo, Texas Engagement Photos

I’m so happy it’s engagement season because engagement photos are my absolute favorite type of session to shoot! I get to warm up with my clients and get to know them a little bit better before their wedding. Jayla and Seth are a couple that I am so excited about this year! When I first met them during our initial consultation I just knew that they were my type of client. They care about having good photographs of their wedding but they put their trust in my hands to provide that for them - as a photographer, there’s nothing better than that and it makes my job so worthwhile. Their engagement session in downtown Amarillo was full of laughter and silliness, a little romance, and some awesome rooftop views.

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The Barris Family | Palo Duro Canyon Family Photos

I’m so glad this last-minute family session came my way! It was another one of those three-person families that I’m loving right now. The day turned out to be quite chilly and little Elle was just not having it but we got some beautiful pictures anyway <3 These guys are fun and I can tell they are loving parenthood and their sweet little girl.

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FamilyKayla SmithComment
Maddison + Dan | Late Fall Wedding at Bar Z Winery

Maddison and Dan got married on her father’s birthday, who passed away two years ago. To say that the day was special and meaningful would be an understatement. It was clear that her father’s memory was very much present on her wedding day both in the date itself, but also in the way that one of his favorite shirts hung in the room where she put her wedding dress on. Instead of walking down the aisle alone, Maddison was flanked by four men that were influential in her life. They couldn’t replace her father but they could support her and give her away to her soon-to-be husband. She shared a father-daughter dance with each of them.

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WeddingsKayla SmithComment