The Ultimate Guide to Cohesive Family Photos



I love the idea of planning family pictures to compliment each other when they’re hanging on the wall.  Similar colors, seasons, and locations help highlight the changes in your family over the years.

Themes are my jam.

If you’re like me, here’s a quick run-down on how I’ve been able to create a cohesive photo story of my daughter from maternity session through the planning stages of her third birthday.

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To be able to incorporate maternity pictures with our upcoming newborn pictures and create a pretty gallery wall in our home, I started looking for locations that would work for multiple years.  Our family tends to do our photography outdoors (’cause natural light is your friend, friends), so that was my starting point.


I scheduled my maternity photos at the Fayetteville Farmer’s Market, since it’s a Saturday morning favorite for us and we wanted something meaningful for our family.  Consistently listed in the top 5 in the country, the market is located in Historic Downtown Fayetteville and surrounded by a beautifully landscaped square.

Photos by Design at Hart


See that gorgeous bush with the white flowers?

No clue what it’s called, but I love it.

Luckily, my old elementary school has the same exact bush in its front garden.  Man, I love Fayetteville.  Anywho, we used that front garden for Bailey’s newborn photos.  Lots of green, lots of flowers.  See a theme starting?

Photos by Design at Hart

First Birthday

Same location at the school, same white flowery bush.  By using the same backdrop, the emphasis is now on how much Bailey had grown from one picture to the next.  Also, the addition of a white dress to compliment the white muslin blanket from her newborn photos is introduced. Oh, and the puppy was in all of her monthly pictures. Aaaaaand that’s the same basket from her newborns.  I’m telling ya, I love a good theme.

Photos by Design at Hart

Second Birthday

By the time Bailey turned two, a good friend of mine from college really started stepping up her photography game.  She has a dreamy farm right outside of town and specializes in outdoor portrait photography.  My previous photog had recently gotten super busy at her 9-5, so I decided to try Sara with The Rosy Life Photography and couldn’t have been more pleased with the results.  Using her farm as the backdrop, we kept a similar white dress and green surrounding.  Also, see that blanket she’s dragging?  It’s the same from the previous two years.  Yay, cohesion!

Photos by The Rosy Life Photography

Third Birthday

I’m currently in the planning stages of Bailey’s third birthday.  This past Christmas, I got a DSLR camera and I’ve got it in my head that I’m going to take her pictures myself.  Pray for me.

Also, I can’t decide on an outfit.  I’ve got it narrowed down to these:

The hubs just looks at me like I’m crazy when I ask his opinion, as men are wont to do.  So PLEASE give me your thoughts.

I hope this guide helps you plan your family photos a little better and leads to a fabulous gallery wall.  Now I just need to actually print off my own pictures so I can start on that gallery….


Solo in Savannah; exploring Wormsloe Historic Site, Bonaventure Cemetery, and Alex Raskin Antiques


Last month, I had a work trip that took me to Savannah, GA for a few days.  Since the hubs and I are always looking for new fun places to visit (and my plane ticket was already paid for), we decided to go early and have a nice, kid-free weekend before my meetings started.

Y’all, book your trip NOW, because Savannah is a must see. 

I ended up spending a total of 7 days there, but essentially it was broken up into 3 sections:  Romantic Getaway, Me/Myself/I Time, and Work Trip.  I’m sure I’ll write about our Romantic Getaway later since it was so wonderful (and kid-free….did I mention that already?), but today I want to tell you about the Me/Myself/I Time.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaall By Myseeeeeeeeeeeelf- a la Celine Dion

So, Kyle and I flew into Savannah early on Thursday, spent three glorious days together, and he flew home Sunday morning while I stayed in town for my meetings the following week.  However, my work welcome event didn’t start until Monday evening.  Thus, I ended up having a day and a half all by my lonesome to explore. Insert all the heart eyes emojis.

Listen, I love my husband.  I love my kids.  But sometimes, I really just love some me time.  Can I get an amen?  Gloraaaaay!

{Note:  I specifically picked these three places to visit alone and not during our Romantic Getaway.  Kyle knew I wanted to take 3,948 pictures at each spot and we agreed that by going on my own, I wouldn’t feel rushed (even though his patience for me trying to get juuuuuuust the right photo knows no bounds).  Just didn’t want you thinking I carelessly left him out of the cool stuff.}

Wormsloe Historic Site

Kissed the husband goodbye, checked out of our hotel, and I was on my own.  We’d rented a car, so with the chance to go anywhere in Savannah, I decided to check out Wormsloe Plantation.  So, back in the colonial days of Savannah, this dude built his fortress home and dubbed it Wormsloe, to copy his casa back in England.  Fun Fact: it’s actually the oldest standing structure in Savannah. The house itself it pretty much gone and only the bare bones of the foundation is left.  But you don’t go to Wormsloe for the house.

You go for this:

This place boasts a 1.5 mile long driveway framed by over 400 live oaks dating back 300 years.  Remember in Forest Gump when Tom Hanks is booking it down the road?  Yeah, it’s this road.  I spent 2 hours on Sunday morning just walking and taking pictures with my Nikon.  It was so peaceful, so quiet; it felt like outdoor church.

Well, mostly.  If you’re planning a trip to Wormsloe, I’m going to suggest you go as early as possible.  First, the lighting is just gorgeous when you get there just as the sun comes up.  Second, this is a hot tourist spot.  Lots of people running around in your shot, so if you plan to take pictures (and why wouldn’t you??), get there early. I arrived at 9:45 and the place was swarming with people by 10:30.  Speaking of swarming, I was there in February and was eaten alive by bugs.  WEAR BUG SPRAY, people!  You’re welcome.

Here are a few more of my favorite photos from that morning:

Bonaventure Cemetery

After Wormsloe, I decided to visit Bonaventure Cemetery.  I arrived around noon thirty and there weren’t that many people walking around.  Cars are allowed to drive throughout the cemetery, but I opted to park in the middle and start walking.  The sculptures and marble structures were my main draw to Bonaventure, not to mention a little thrill due to it being super duper haunted.

I half expected a dilapidated, rickety little spot, but Bonaventure is nothing if not grand and manicured.  Family plots are sectioned off with old rock walls and iron gates dripping in Spanish moss.  Flowers are placed on graves dating back to the 1700s, as well as the mid 2000s. I really found it interesting that there were people buried next to their great-great-greatgrandparents (if not more greats). There is an air of peace and dignity; tranquil quiet Southern grace.  I passed a few older couples taking pictures as well, but really, the feeling of being completely alone was palpable.  There’s history there, y’all, and you need to go yourself some.

There are lots of articles and stories around the internet of Bonaventure if you want to learn more.  I enjoyed this one and this one and this one.

Photos from Bonaventure Cemetery:

Alex Raskin Antiques

Y’all, I’m a planner.  When I found out I would be in Savannah, I went straight to Pinterest to make a list of must-sees.  I found a blog post (that I can’t find now or I’d link it) that mentioned a dreamy, hole in the wall antique store worth spending an hour browsing.  I spent two and a half.

Listen, as the books started around $50 each and the tables were well over $500, homegirl here couldn’t buy a thing.  But since looking is free, I did my fair share of that.  Four stories of jam-packed creaky goodness, this entire mansion is a history lover’s paradise.  There was some serious internal debate over the argument that would surely happen if I, in fact, purchased and shipped home the $600 teal English blanket trunk that I fell in love with.  It was close, friends.  Real close.

Here, ogle the goodies I found:

I just loved Savannah.  It was wonderful getting some alone time in such a history-rich town.  Sure, go for the ghost tours, the art, the FOOD (gah, the food, you guys….so.good.), the fun night life.  But go with your history hat on and you won’t be disappointed.

For a girl that loves her me-time, those 36 hours were golden.  *sigh*

No, but really, when can I go back?