I was so fortunate to have the opportunity last fall to do a family photo session in the Kansas City Rivermarket with this darling party of five! I originally met Wendy when she took my in-person basic photography workshop, and she was super sweet, so I was thrilled when she asked me to do a family photo session for them! They were all so laid back and so much fun to spend time with, and their sweet dog, Salvy (named after one of our awesome Kansas City Royals players), was so well-behaved during our session. I’m an animal lover, so I absolutely love it when clients include their beloved pets in their family photo session!

family photo in the Kansas City Rivermarketfamily playing with dog during family photo session in Kansas City Rivermarketkids with dog during family photo session

These twins couldn’t have been cuter. They were kind and sweet towards each other, which I always love seeing in siblings. Who doesn’t?!? I loved spending time with them because they are close in age to my own daughter, so it was fun being around other kids who reminded me of her. And, seriously?!? Look at those smiles!! And their gorgeous eyes! Their eyes are the most amazing shade of blue… so clear and so incredibly beautiful.

two kids pose for a photo in the Kansas City Rivermarkettwo kids pose during Kansas City family photo session

He was such a good sport about photos. He might have had other places he would have rather been, but he gave me the greatest smiles and laughed at my jokes (which is always a plus in my book!).

young boy smiles and poses for photo in Kansas City Rivermarket

This little beauty LOVED my camera… and it loved her right back. She was a true natural in front of the camera. She came up with the cutest poses on her own, which made me laugh (at her goofy/just being silly poses) and made my heart swell all at once. I love how fun and innocent kids are at this age.

young girl poses for a photo in the Kansas City Rivermarket

It’s not really a secret that sometimes men aren’t quite as excited about doing a family photo session as the woman in their life might be. But this dad was different. He never looked annoyed or looked at his watch (at least that I saw) or acted like he’d rather be getting a root canal than having his picture taken. He was so easygoing during our entire time together. He genuinely had fun with his kids, and I think his love for both of his cuties comes through so perfectly in the images we captured. I was so impressed with how awesome he was during their session that I mentioned it to him at the end of our time together. And he sweetly replied that the session was a gift to his wife for her birthday and that it was his gift to her to enjoy the session. He also told me that I made it easy to enjoy the session, which was an incredibly kind compliment.

dad tickles kids on stairs during family photo sessionson and dad Kansas City Rivermarket photo sessiondaughter and dad laughing

See what I mean about her eyes?!? Oh my word!!

daughter sits with her dad during family photo session in Kansas City Rivermarket

The love this mama has for her kiddos is so special. She’s beautiful on the outside, but I could tell even during just one photo session with her that her inner beauty matches what everyone sees on the outside. And I know her twins see that inner beauty in everything she does as a mom.

mom and son family photomom and daughter during family photo session

family poses with dog for a photo in the Kansas City Rivermarketfamily photo with dog in Kansas City Rivermarketkids throwing leaves in the Kansas City Rivermarket

We ended our session in the Kansas City Rivermarket by capturing this image of mom and dad on their own. If the kids are old enough to be away from their parents for a few moments, I always love getting a quick pic of mom and dad without the kids. After all, it was just the two of them before it was the four of them… and I think that’s a pretty special thing to document and remember.

couple poses for a photo in the Kansas City Rivermarket

If you’re in the Kansas City area and want to have a family photo session this fall, I’d love to chat with you! I can be reached by phone/text at 913-940-4121, by email at info@ashleyspaulding.com, or through the Contact link at the top of this page. Thanks so much for stopping by!

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You’ve done your research and found a photographer who’s going to document your family beautifully. You’ve got your family photo session on the books. Now comes what many find to be the hardest part… figuring out what to wear! It can be a challenge, for sure, trying to put together outfits for a family photo session, whether you have two people in your family or 12. I have some tips that will hopefully help make the process of deciding what to wear a little less painful!

family photo session example of what to wear

What to Wear Tips

Tip 1: Go Classic

Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind when choosing what to wear for your photo session is to keep your clothing simple and timeless.

kansas city family portrait good example of good clothing choices

classic family photo clothing

Tip 2: Coordinate and Complement

Coordinate and complement are the key words when figuring out what to wear for family photos. Have the urge to match?? Fight it. Seriously. Your family (probably) doesn’t dress in matching outfits in daily life, so I strongly advise against matching outfits for family photos. Pick your main focal piece first and plan around that. Do you have a floral dress that you want your daughter to wear or a darling sweater for your son? Use that item as your focal piece and assemble everyone else’s attire around it. Pick two to four colors from the focal piece and plan other clothing items around those colors. Use neutrals (denim, khaki colors, grays, etc.) in your secondary clothing pieces.

coordinating and complementary clothing for family photo session

family photo session clothing that coordinates and complements

Tip 3: Accessorize

Use accessories to add color and interest to your session clothing. Scarves, bows, hats, jewelry… all of these things can add that extra punch to an outfit. Have fun accessorizing! Just be careful not to over-accessorize… you want to make sure your personality is the main thing that shines in your photos!

accessorizing clothing for family photos

Tip 4: Add Layers and Textures

Consider adding layers, patterns, and textures, as they add visual interest to your photos. Coordinating patterns work well, too; for example, try stripes on one person and a floral print on another.

family photo session clothing with layers and textures

Tip 5: Avoid These

Try to avoid solid white (shades of off-white are fine), solid black, and solid red clothing, as they generally do not photograph well. Wearing items that have these colors in them is fine if the items are not solid-colored. Try to avoid wearing clothing with writing, characters, or large logos on it. Writing doesn’t always translate in photos due to posing, folds in the fabric, etc. And do you really want that ‘Pokemon Go’ logo immortalized in your family photos? Probably not! Finally, try to avoid clothing with a really small check print, as it creates a wavy, watered look in photos.

Tip 6: Dress Comfortably

Above all… comfort is key! If you’re not comfortable in what you’re wearing for your session, it’ll show. And – on the flip side – if you are comfortable, that’ll translate in your photos, too, and will help ensure that your photos are something you can always treasure.

comfortable family photo session clothing

Tip 7: Consider Your Backdrop

If you’re taking photos outdoors in the spring or summer when everything is really green, dressing everyone in shades of green might not be the best way to go. So think about what your surroundings are going to look like for your photo session, and plan colors and clothing items that will work well with them.

family photo session clothing

Tip 8: Lay Everything Out

Once you’ve chosen your photo session attire, lay everything out so you can see if the pieces truly work together. See if they coordinate and complement in an effective way. Make sure they look good together without matching. And see how everything laid out together makes you feel… if the clothes you’ve chosen make you smile, don’t second guess your decision!

great example of what to wear for family photos

For additional tips, be sure to check out my Pinterest board on what to wear!

family photo session clothing

deciding what to wear for natural family photos

If you book a photo session with me and need help deciding on what to wear, I’m always happy to help my clients in that area. I’ve had clients text me photos from stores of pieces of clothing they’re thinking of buying. And I’ve had clients who put together full ensembles at home for me to look at before their session. I love helping clients decide what to wear and figure out what would look best in photos because when you look comfortable and feel comfortable in what you’re wearing, that comes through loud and clear in your images.

Thanks so much for stopping by my blog! I appreciate you being here! If you’re in the Kansas City area and are interested in a photo session, be sure to reach out to me… I’d love to hear from you! I specialize in families, kiddos, and lifestyle photography sessions and am always happy to help you figure out what to wear for whatever kind of session you book! Contact me today by email at info@ashleyspaulding.com, by phone at 913-940-4121, or through the Contact link at the top of the page.

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In-home lifestyle newborn sessions are an absolute love of mine. What an honor it is to be welcomed into a family’s home at one of the most special, most precious times in their lives. There’s nothing more amazing than welcoming a new life and bringing her home to start your lives together with her. And to be able to document that time for someone else – knowing what a treasure those photos will be for years and years to come – makes my heart so incredibly happy.

Motherhood suits her so well. Her natural beauty becomes even greater when her precious girl is in her arms. Wrapping her girl in love and warmth and smiling at the man who she created this new life with, it’s so clear to see that motherhood is her calling.
new dad kisses baby girl

He’s the first man she’ll ever love, the first man who will wipe away tears, the first man who will hold her hand, the man who will be the ‘first’ of so many things for his sweet girl. Just as motherhood suits her mama so beautifully, fatherhood has made this man even more amazing than he was before she entered his world. Happy first Father’s Day to one very special new daddy.

in-home lifestyle newborn photo session

The love these two have for their precious baby is one of the most amazing, special things I’ve ever had the privilege of witnessing as a photographer. Such a pure, true, complete love. Such a beautiful thing to be able to document. Such a beautiful thing for this little girl to experience.

kansas city lifestyle newborn photonew parents at in-home lifestyle newborn photo session

And because I love to get at least one posed, ‘look at me and smile’ photo at my lifestyle sessions, I had to get this. Apparently, our photo session tired someone out.

kansas city family photo

I appreciate you stopping by my blog… thank you!! While I absolutely love lifestyle newborn sessions, I also absolutely love lifestyle sessions of any kind, so I’d love to hear from you if you’re interested in an in-home lifestyle session for your own family! Contact me by email at info@ashleyspaulding.com, by phone at 913-940-4121, or through the Contact link at the top of the page.

  • Whitney - Oh, Ashley…these are BEAUTIFUL!! You can actually FEEL the love come through these photos!!ReplyCancel

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This beautiful family has inspired me so much. Near the end of 2014, they received news that no parent ever wants to hear when their oldest child was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. While 2015 was a year of countless ups and downs for them, lots of uncertainty, and many scary moments, they dealt with the curveball they’d been thrown with positivity, hope, and faith. The amazing community in which we live rallied behind this family in so many ways throughout the year, and I’m beyond thrilled to be able to say that their beautiful daughter is doing well.


She is a fighter, a brave soul, a beautiful person, and an incredible girl.


This little sister is just about the cutest, sweetest girl I’ve ever seen. That toothless smile… it couldn’t get any bigger or any more precious!!

I love the realness of this image, as it was a spontaneous moment we captured. But I mainly love the fact that little sister is looking at the bracelet wrapped around her daddy’s wrist, a bracelet showing support for her big sister.

This beautiful girl. With everything she’s been through, her light continues to shine on. Before I met her, I had often thought about doing something more with my photography to give back in some way. After being diagnosed with cancer myself in 2010, I knew I wanted to give back in a way that impacted the lives of families affected by cancer. And after meeting this beautiful fighter, I knew exactly how I wanted to give back. I applied awhile back to be a photographer with the Gold Hope Project and recently found out that I was accepted. From their website, “The Gold Hope Project is a group of international photographers that have come together to photograph families completely free, with the hopes of bringing about awareness of and to raise funds for Pediatric Oncology Research and treatment.” To say I’m honored to be a part of this group is an understatement. I feel such a strong calling to give back in this way, and I thank this sweet girl so much for inspiring me to do so.

While his two sisters are darling as can be, this guy’s equally darling. He is truly one of the kindest young boys I’ve ever met. You can tell from the first time you meet him that he has the most gentle soul and loving nature.


If you know (or know of) a family who might be eligible for a Gold Hope Project photo session, please be sure to pass on information about the project. The Gold Hope Project website has information about eligibility and how to apply for a session.

  • Nadeen - Such gorgeous images for this family. They must be thrilled. The Gold Hope project is such a worthwhile project for participating photographers and these fighter families.ReplyCancel

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For today’s edition of Tuesday Photo Tips, we’re going to be taking a look at sunbursts and how to create them in our photography work.

I took my kids to the park on a beautiful day during our spring break. We were at the park around 4:00 in the afternoon, which is an ideal time for creating images with sunbursts because of the position of the sun in the sky. This park we went to was perfect for sunbursts, too, because it had a lot of structures to partially obscure the sun, which is one thing that helps create those bursts in your images. In addition to the position of the sun and the ability to block it out a bit, a big thing you need to consider when you want to create images with sunbursts is your settings. To create a sunburst, you’ll need your aperture to be pretty closed down. You’ll notice here, when you look at my settings below the image, that my aperture was at f/11. Even though it was super sunny outside, my ISO was at 1000 here, which is what allowed me to close down my ap like I did and, in turn, create the sunburst.

If you miss a week of photo tips, you can search the blog for Tuesday Photo Tips. If you’re on Instagram, you can also find all my past tips documented there by checking out the hashtag #tuesdayphototips or by following my feed, ashleyspauldingphotography.

kansas-city-sunburstNikon D810 | 35mm | ISO 1000 | f/11 | 1/200

Please always feel free to ask questions about any of the Tuesday Photo Tips I share. As much as I love taking pictures, I love helping people *learn* how to take pictures even more. You can ask me questions in the comments or via email at info@ashleyspaulding.com. Thanks for reading!

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