Our July Family Tradition

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Every July, we travel to my husband’s hometown of Beavercreek, Ohio (near Dayton/Kettering). It’s become an annual July reunion- we celebrate both my MIL & BIL’s birthdays (both on July 2), Fourth of July, as well as hanging out with the rest of our crew. Here’s a sampling of some my favorite Ohio summer memories caught on my camera:



Extended Family PORTRAITS

In addition to our Independence holiday catch up time and birth celebrations, I started taking annual portraits of our extended family. This includes the entire group, each family, siblings, and individual portraits of the kids. Yes, it may take a lot of extra cooperation on behalf of all the kids (and husbands, ha), but it’s wonderful memories like these that illustrate our family tree.

Thank goodness for tripods + self-timers!


tips for photographing large families

My Basic Rule of Thumb

It’s ALWAYS, always, always a good idea to prioritize the matriarch of the group when it comes to clothing coordination with an extended family group portrait. In this case, it’s my gorgeous mother-in-law, Sandy. (For general newborn and family sessions, this would be the mama.)

Rationale: Women are pickier, and we have FAR more clothing trends to consider- including COLOR and FIT.

Men and children typically have their go-to basics you can go-to reliably, in a few varying color options season to season. I insist each year that we start with her favorite/preferred top, and then the rest of us start coordinating everyone else’s wardrobe options.


I always start with Grandma & Grandpa, centered. Then I start layering the tallest children because the littler ones will be in front of them (AND they have a longer attention span). I try to mix up siblings so they’re not directly next to each other, segregated by immediate family. A mix helps blend them together, and it’s less likely to end in a sibling scuffle. #keepingitreal

It was a happy accident, but my BIL’s family ended up with an Olive Green + Blue + White color palette. And my SIL’s family ended up with more of Navy + Light Blue palette accented with a pop of purply pink that helped highlight the tones from Sandy’s top selection. This works well because the accent color isn’t’ overwhelming or overdone. And it draws your eye to our littlest bitty girl cousin, Cassie! ☺️


Windmill Pit Stop


On our return road trip home, we’ve made an (accidental) habit of stopping at this windmill Indiana exit right off I-65. It’s a great potty break for our Whoodle doggie Kona, the convenience store employees are always super friendly, and we get all stretch out our legs before we hit Chicago downtown traffic. We let the kids wanderlust and I usually throw in a self-portrait attempt (see above). And obviously, ice cream is an absolute MUST!


hip hip hooray for summer, happy travels everyone!

xo jenny