How to Plan Outfits for Family Photos

a day in the life, family photos, on my heart, photoshoots, words

We recently got our family photos done by the sweet photographer who captured my maternity photos and our baby’s birth earlier this year. You can see her work at lcbirthstories.com!

Working with her multiple times was really nice for our family because our toddlers got more familiar and comfortable with her. At the maternity shoot in April, my son was literally just running away when we were trying to pose. Hahah but not.

As we planned our family photos this fall, Lauren was amazing in helping plan what colors would be best for our family and skin tones, and she helped get me started in ideas for outfits for the whole family.

Getting familiar with your best colors is a good place to start when planning family photos! The Color Key is a great resource for learning more about this.

These are the main colors we worked with for our family session: warm creams and browns, some forest green on me and more of a faded green on my son, a rusty orange for my daughter’s dress, and some blues.

I’d recommend to start with planning Mom’s outfit first. This will be the anchor that you’ll coordinate all the other outfits to.

From there, choose where to incorporate any patterns and the other coordinating colors for the rest of the family members’ outfits.

Just one person should be wearing a pattern, and you can incorporate more textures and layers for adding visual interest, like lace, or a chunky knit sweater. These add more to the overall look, but won’t be overwhelming or conflicting like another pattern would be.

I had my daughter wear a cute floral patterned dress, and I took up the hem to hit right above her knee. Having the right hem length on a knee length dress makes such a difference!

Our son wore his favorite green pants (leftover from the maternity shoot outfits) and a cable knit sweater. I was torn between a cream colored Henley shirt but I’m glad I went with the sweater.

On a trip to Washington, I found some amazing leather soft-sole moccasins that I had the twins wear again.

I wanted baby boy in overalls, but needed to tie in the blue that I was having Dad wear, so I got a blue top from another outfit for him.

Being the busy mom that I am, I ended up having to last minute shop on Amazon Prime for a few pieces to complete our look (along with some items we already had in our closets!)

I put together a moodboard with shoppable links, in case you’re needing some inspiration for your own family photos!

I’m thankful that Amazon Prime came through for us and we got everything in time. And I’m so happy with how everything came together!

Shop Our Look (or similar), all found on Prime!


For any of my photography clients, creating a moodboard and planning outfits, colors, poses and location is all part of the process I’ll help you with!

Christ’s Love Compels Me

a day in the life, on my heart, thoughts, words

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. Apart from me, no one comes to the Father.”

In Jesus alone is the gift of eternal life, given to us freely but purchased by His own blood on the cross.

When we put our trust in Him, we are redeemed, we are set free, and we are adopted into the family of God!

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Mom and I have been talking about the beautiful thing it is to be part of the family of God. Even when we meet complete strangers who also love Jesus, you can sense that we share the Spirit of God in us. (And my Mom and I experienced that this very morning… at the IRS office! God works in amazing ways.)

There is such joy in knowing the Lord and walking with Him. And it is His love in me that compels me to love the world like He does.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” – John 3:16-17

When I glimpse the incredible love that God has for the world – and I understand how many people have yet to hear the name of Jesus – my heart breaks.

More than 2.7 billion people in the world today (about one out of five) have never heard of Jesus. They’re without salvation and hope, for both this life and the next. And that means that they are on their way to hell.

It is chillingly clear in Scripture that those who do not choose Christ will not inherit eternal life.

I was struck by the analogy that I recently heard about this. If you are planning a trip to Disney world, and you’re packing, planning your road trip, and start driving there, you’re on your way. A few things might come up that deter you for a minute, but you are still on your way.

If it is true that those without Christ are on their way to hell, like the Scriptures say, how does that impact how I live today?

This is a sobering and challenging thought that the Lord is teaching me through right now.

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I’ll close with some lines from a song that has been playing in my head, ‘O Come to the Altar’ by Essential Worship:

Are you hurting and broken within,
Overwhelmed by the weight of the sin,
Jesus is calling.
Have you come to the end of yourself,
Do you thirst for a drink from the well,
Jesus is calling.

O come to the altar,
The Father’s arms are open wide,
Forgiveness was bought with,
The precious blood of Jesus Christ.

Leave behind your regrets and mistakes,
Come today there’s no reason to wait,
Jesus is calling.
Bring your sorrows and trade them for joy,
From the ashes a new life is born,
Jesus is calling.

Oh what a Savior,
Isn’t He wonderful,
Sing hallelujah Christ is risen,
Bow down before Him,
For He is lord of all,
Sing hallelujah Christ is risen.

Read more: Elevation Worship – O Come To The Altar Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Okay, Deep Question Time

thoughts, words

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Yesterday morning my sister Clara and I were eating breakfast and talking about asking hard questions. Sometimes we joke around, and say “Okay, deep question time” or “Whoa, that’s oceanic” (meaning really deep.) But asking a friend questions that are beyond the surface, or questions that show we care, helps knit our friendship that much deeper, or helps create a friendship where there was not one before.

Clara has a penchant for asking deep questions. Basically, she has a thing for it. A common occurrence when we’re washing dishes*, or making tea, or going on a drive (now that we live in the country) is for Clara to ask, “So, what has God been teaching you recently?”

Sometimes I don’t know how to answer that question right away.

But I’m so grateful for Clara pressing on to take relationships a step deeper. I have been challenged to do this too, and see how it becomes a blessing to both me and others.

These are some questions I am asking people in my life:

  • What is God teaching you right now?
  • How did God call you to serve here?
  • What are your goals for this year?
  • What aspects of God’s character is He revealing to you?
  • And… do you know of any good churches in Terrell?**

How beautiful is it that having these conversations not only grows us closer as friends, but brings joy to Jesus too?

Crystal Stine’s blog post The Questions We Need to Ask got me thinking about reaching out as a friend and asking questions, and was part of the inspiration for this post. I encourage you to take a few minutes to read it.

I’ll close with a quote from Crystal:

“The questions we need to ask don’t need to be long or deep or fancy. They just need to be honest and from a heart that is willing to truly listen to the answer. It’s about knowing your friend, what her passions are, and asking God to show you the best way to pour love and encouragement into her life.” (source)


*When Clara and I wash dishes together, it’s actually more common for us to sing than to talk.
** This question recently led to a beautiful conversation with my hair stylist!

Counting Up the Cost

on my heart, School of Discipleship in Canada, thoughts, words

In the Great Commission, Jesus commanded us to go and make disciples. Before we can do that, we must first be disciples… hence the School of Discipleship! It doesn’t stop with me learning how to be a disciple, though – I must go and make disciples of others. True Discipleship by William MacDonald is a radical challenge for followers of Christ. Will we be more than just fans or followers? Will we be committed, sold-out disciples?

An area the Lord has been growing me in is counting the cost of being a disciple. Being a disciple means not just having a warm emotion of following Jesus, but consistently dying to myself and daily taking up the cross.

One day in the bathroom I have a small revelation – following Jesus won’t ever be easy, but it is so worth it! When Jesus called the twelve disciples to follow Him, He didn’t promise them ease or comfort; He promised pain, persecution, and suffering. Being a disciple will be hard, but it is worth every heartache, every inconvenience. Following Jesus is worth everything. A quote from True Discipleship really fits here: “…the Christian life deserves everything or nothing.”

God gave me Ephesians 4:1 tonight, as I was praying and seeking God’s calling on my life. “…I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.”

Over the past several months, God has asked me, will I follow Him no matter what? As I prayed and searched my heart and sought God’s face, I found that my answer is Yes, absolutely. I want to be wholly committed to Christ, no matter what.

Pastor Danny has encouraged me to count the cost of following Jesus as I think about the different options before me in the future. Following God’s call on my life might mean giving up my home, my family, my dreams for the future, my photography. Will I be willing to give those things up and just have Jesus for my everything?

Being in Canada, doing School of Discipleship, being away from my home and family and what is familiar hasn’t been easy – but it is so worth it. Dying to myself, daily choosing to follow Jesus first, and being a disciple of Jesus Christ are all things that I am learning to do as I follow the Lord.

Counting the cost also means coming to a point of decision. I can’t say I have arrived at the goal or achieved the prize, but I have counted the cost and I say yes, I will follow Jesus no matter what.

In the recent past I had a very hard few weeks, when my grandma was sick and maybe dying, Auntie Jacie was fading from the cancer, and my best friend Emily would be moving to New Zealand for a year. I didn’t want to stay here. I wanted to give up and go home. But God really spoke to me through a song that was just randomly playing while I washed dishes one night – Today by Brian Doerkson. “Today I choose to follow you. Today I choose to give my yes to you.” I was reminded that God had called me to be here in Canada at this time, and I still needed to follow Him, trust Him, and give my yes to Him.

song lyrics by Rend Collective, “The Cost”

“I’m saying yes to You
And no to my desires
I’ll leave myself behind
And follow You

I’ll walk the narrow road
’cause it leads me to You
I’ll fall but grace
Will pick me up again

I’ve counted up the cost
Oh I’ve counted up the cost
Yes I’ve counted up the cost
And You are worth it”

If I choose to follow Jesus, it means He needs to be first in my life in everything. First place in my priorities, how I spend my time. Jesus must be on the throne of my heart, not myself or anything else. And that means that I must forsake all else but Him. I must give up my dreams, wishes, talents, money, family, and time. None of these things can be priority. I need to surrender all those things, and seek Him first. And that’s one area that the Lord is still growing me in – forsaking all but Jesus.

If I say, “Today I choose to follow you” – that means I need to follow Him first and only.

Jesus said, “He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it.” He repeated that over and over – in Matthew 10:39, Matthew 16:25, Mark 8:35, Luke 9:24, Luke 17:33, and John 12:25 – because it is so important.

William MacDonald says in True Discipleship “… life hugged for self is life lost, but life poured out for him is found, saved, enjoyed, and kept for eternity…”

Holding on to my dreams, my desires, and my possessions will never result in a fulfilled life. But a life forsaken to Jesus – that is where it’s at!

A true disciple is a bondslave to Jesus. Do you think a bondslave has anything he is holding on to for himself? No – he has forsaken everything. And I, as a bondslave to my master Jesus Christ, must give up everything to be His disciple.

“In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.” When Jesus said that in Luke 14:33, He meant it! Not just that we should give up everything, or that it might be a good idea – we must forsake all or we cannot be His disciples.

When it comes to forsaking all and being a disciple, it means forsaking more than just money. All those things I listed above – dreams, talents, possessions, desires, and family – ALL must be given to Jesus.

I want Jesus to be my strength, my security, and my everything. He redeemed me, and now I’m not my own. It is only right that Jesus be first place in my life!

What the Lord has been teaching me about being a disciple isn’t quite cut and dried where it fits exactly into one category or chapter. But what He has been teaching me is that Jesus must be first place in my life.

Following Jesus won’t be easy, but it is worth it.


This post was a written assignment for the True Discipleship class in School of Discipleship year one, originally written in August 2013. 

Victory Through Surrender

on my heart, words

“The self is the one and only thing we own. It is the one thing we brought into the world and it is the one and only thing we will take out of the world, and the one thing we have to live with intimately day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute. So the kind of self you are determines your life happiness or your life hell. Someone has said: ‘The most used word in hell is ‘I.’’ To be centered in your self is to be in hell – now.”
—E. Stanley Jones, Victory Through Surrender

I am super challenged by the Self-Confrontation Bible Study we’re doing right now in School of Discipleship year 2, as well as by Victory Through Surrender by E. Stanley Jones. I know the struggle with myself will always be there – and that’s why I have to keep surrendering myself and my whole life to Jesus.

“Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” —Philippians 1:6

This is one of my favorite verses. I can have confident hope knowing that God will complete the work He started in me!

studying
Working on a speech/presentation for our discipleship class.

Seasons of Change

on my heart, School of Discipleship in Canada, words

I’m excited to be doing School of Discipleship year 2… but instead of returning to snowy Canada, I’ll be staying in Texas! This unexpected change of plans happened just this week, and I miss Tim Horton’s and my Canadian family already. It’s always an adventure to follow wherever God calls and I want to keep trusting Him and His plans for my life, like I’ve been reading in Jeremiah 29:11-13.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” – Jeremiah 29:11-13

So Texas friends, I’ll be seeing you more often!

PS – to find out more about what School of Discipleship Year 2 is… check out my most recent newsletter right here. Also, I’m raising financial support for this year of discipleship. You can support me at www.gfa.org/sd/elch.

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Angst… or Peace

on my heart, words

Coming home, and coming down with the flu was not part of the plan. Expectations? Shattered.

That’s a little dramatic, but feverish sleep, forced rest, and doing nothing was not what I expected for my Christmas break.

It is an in-between season right now. A year in Canada, 3+ weeks with family in Texas, and then another year in Canada.

My roots have grown down, and people-roots have grown too. They’re pulled up, abruptly but gently – and it is for a greater purpose.

I know that I can trust my Creator, my Saviour, my Grower. His big master plan is more beautiful and magnificent that I can see on this side of the tapestry.

Philippians 1:6 – His work is going on in my life, and He will carry it to completion.

I may not understand the why of this sickness, or the how and what of this in-between season – but I can trust. And that’s what I’ll do.

Jesus is my hope, the anchor for my soul, firm and secure.

The Doxology:
Praise God from whom all blessings flow
Praise Him all creatures here below
Praise Him above ye heavenly hosts
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost
Amen.

And Merry Christmas! This time of slowing down and rest and refocusing is so important, even if this flu forced it on me.

Just like there is a reason behind the seasons God leads my life through, there’s a reason for Christmas. Let’s reflect on the reason for this season… And it’s about Jesus. His first coming, His love, His life. Also is sacrificial death, and the reconciliation we can have with God the Father. He died, and He rose again. That’s why we celebrate Easter in the spring.

And Jesus Christ, our glorious Saviour Messiah, will return again, so very soon. Maranatha, come Lord Jesus! Now, I live my life for Him, through every crazy season that He brings in my life.

The Creed of the Church

School of Discipleship in Canada, words

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of Heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds;
God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God,
Begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.
Who, for us men for our salvation, came down from Heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man;
And was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate;
He suffered and was buried;
And the third day he rose again, according to the Scriptures;
And ascended into Heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father;
And he shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead;
Whose kingdom shall have no end.
And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life;
Who proceeds from the Father and the Son;
Who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified;
Who spoke by the prophets;
And I believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins;
And I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.
Amen.

This is what I believe.

2013 is the year that I have dedicated to growing more like Jesus. I’m part of Gospel for Asia’s School of Discipleship in Stoney Creek, Ontario, Canada. Striving to know Jesus more fully and intimately.

The mission of Gospel for Asia’s School of Discipleship is to assist men and women to become devout followers of Christ and to fulfill the great commission by enabling them to know Jesus more fully and intimately through the careful study of God’s Word along with practical teaching and training relevant to each individual God given calling.

What I’m studying currently: the core values of Gospel for Asia and the Bible from 30,000 Feet by Pastor Skip Heitzig.

developing a roll of film

a day in the life, photos, words

Learning to develop black and white film was one of the best things that’s happened to me. I love shooting film, and have loved it for a while. Learning to develop it on my own made it so much more awesome.

Last semester I took Daniel Rodrigue’s News Photography I at Brookhaven College. I had cool assignments that weren’t really work, because taking photos is awesome and fun. My kind of class, for sure. I made a camera out of a can, I shot with instant film, and spent hours in the school darkroom. Brookhaven has a black and white photo lab, and all of the equipment and space you need for rolling film onto reels, pouring in the chemistry to develop the film, and making enlargements and prints of your photos.

One Thursday I was at the photo lab at Brookhaven, developing film. (Standing at a sink for an hour and shaking a film tank intermittently is not the most interesting thing it the world. It’s a little boring [except that you know that what you’re doing is making photos, so it’s worth it.] I have small hands, so my fingers cramp up from holding onto the film tank. Then there are chemicals spilling, and dripping onto your hands, and then drying just enough to make it uncomfortable. [I’m making this sound horrible. It’s not really this bad.])

So I was at the lab, developing film. I decided that I would instagram the different steps of developing film, just for fun, and for something to do while I wait. I decided that I would hashtag it all #photolabthursday to group all of the photos and tweets together.

And, now I’m going to share the film developing process with you, via my instagram posts. Just a fraction of all the photos that I posted though!

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photos in my pocket

photos, words

I have Instagram now. It’s my joy and my bane.

Now in my head I have this dialogue going: “Oh this is the perfect moment. Do I take a picture? Do I savor the moment? Do I share it with the whole world?”

So I try to choose my pictures wisely. To share enough, but not too much. And to not let taking the photos get in the way of what the photos are of.

It’s been fun to share little pieces of what brings me joy, or what I’m up to, etc.

Also, because I’m going to be away from my family and friends here in Texas for the good part of a year, sharing my life with them is important to me.

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clara's socks instagram

christmas presents

instagram family dinner

It’s said that the best camera is the one that you have with you. My iTouch is almost always in my pocket, and it’s made possible many of the photos I’ve taken recently. So Instagram, you’re troublesome, but thank you.

View my instagram feed at www.instagram.com/eliciamoose; follow me directly @eliciamoose