If photos of charming small towns, Hallmark-worthy seasonal scenes, and classic American style appeal, scroll no further than fashion designer Kiel James Patrick's dreamy Instagram. Kiel makes his home in Rhode Island with his wife, Sarah, son, Harry, and two dogs, Bennie and Maple, and portraits of his family also make frequent appearances on his feed. "To me, the family portrait is still an art form in the digital age," says Kiel. "They take preparation, but the effort that goes into them is why I cherish these photos more than any others."
“I rely on two tricks to keep the attention of toddlers and dogs alike," Kiel explains. "First, lots of playtime before the picture. This way, everyone is ready to sit still when the shutter goes off. Second, I keep something that gets everyone’s attention near the lens. If I can enlist the help of my sister or brother, an inflated but untied balloon works well. My son, Harry, always cracks up at the sound the balloon makes as the air jettisons out.”
Kiel also recommends taking family photos in the same place every year. "Pick a place that’s special to your family and somewhere you can see changes taking place alongside you. For me, I love the pictures we get in front of our home throughout the seasons. One second it's summer and Harry is running around in little shorts with rhododendrons and hydrangeas behind him and then I blink and we’re taking pictures in overalls with mums and pumpkins on the steps. Time’s always going to fly by when you’re a parent, but this way no matter how quickly things change, you’ve got something special to look back on for every season."
Lastly, "while it's no secret I love a good matching outfit, just having one piece similar that everyone is wearing really helps tie a scene together. It could be a color that’s in Sarah’s dress that’s also in my and Harry’s pants. Stick to the classics of the season and you really can’t go wrong."
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