Our Family Pictures {2011}

It has been two years since we have had family pictures taken. When FireCracker was a couple of months old, my friend Shannon had the task of capturing my clan with her camera. Since that session, I’ve just propped the camera on rocks, bags and every now and then a tripod. For our adoption we need 6 photographs of our family to be submitted with our dossier. Shortly after I began thinking about our pictures, I was contacted by The Tea Collection to possibly do a review of some items. Well, that was a no brainer. For those new to the blog, about a year ago I took pictures of FireCracker and her cousin in outfits by the Tea Collection. Those pictures ended up winning a contest they had….and Lesley and I got to do a little shopping as a prize. I’m not big into really frilly stuff and crazy colors, so it is a perfect fit. I asked if instead of doing a traditional review (because I already knew I loved the product) if I could outfit my kids for our family pictures. Yippee…they said ‘yes’!

I let the boys each pick out a shirt of their choice. Some families pull off matching outfits great, but my style is more ‘let’s just not clash’. The nice thing about the Tea Collection is every line is somewhat coordinating, so I could let the kids just pick what they liked and I knew it would all look good together. Boy’s clothes – done. Girl’s clothes – done.

Then I began thinking about what I wanted for our pictures. I was just going to use the ole’ tripod, but thankfully our friend Ryan intervened. Knowing someone talented would be behind the camera, I wanted to be a bit more creative with our pictures. The thing about props is they can be more of a distraction than asset. I wanted the pictures to be fun, personal, and not perfect posed smiles (like that would be possible anyway). I really hoped they would reflect this season of celebrating and waiting an addition to our family. When we were in Chicago I picked up a bunch of Chinese lanterns to use for parties down the road….then I thought it would be a colorful and subtle way to celebrate our little one waiting in China.

For the location I tried to think of something that was ‘us’. Turns out our field and our neighbor’s are pretty perfectly ‘us’. Thankfully, Ryan was up for jumping 2 fences, trekking through tall weeds, and a family of six. I will cherish these for as long as I have breath. He captured us as we are…not perfect, full of expressions, moody, fun, and crazy about eachother. Thank you doesn’t seem enough.


I am crazy about the pictures below. I can’t wait until that last empty chair has another little person filling it.

Our family. 5 kids in my heart. 4 in my arms.

Their end reward was to attack all the balloons. That and chocolate chips.

All photos by Ryan Arrowsmith Photography

If you are on the hunt for coordinating children’s clothing for your upcoming family pictures…check out The Tea Collection. The boy’s t-shirts are from The Tea Collection and FireCracker’s dress is from the Tea Collection…other layered items are from 3 dressers that need someone to come refold everything πŸ™‚

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  • Erin - wow- these are fabulous; you look amazing! could you link firecracker’s dress? I’m not finding on the tea website and i’m in love with it!!

  • Patricia - Perfection! Every single photo just takes my breath away. I can almost picture that new addition sitting in that empty chair.
    You are are beautiful family and one more will only add to that beauty you all have. Can not wait for that glorious day!

  • Jay - Gorgeous!!

  • Liz - Beautiful! I love the pictures with the empty chair. What a beautiful family.

  • Elle - They’re all lovely photos. But the ones with the empty chair make me all teary-eyed.

  • Whitney Benson - You seriously have 4 of the cutest kids EVER. SERIOUSLY.

  • Jennifer B - Love the pictures! I will check out the Tea Collection, but where did you get your shoes? Love them!

  • Julie Mentor - Such beautiful pictures – wow!

  • Amber - Happiness is Eva - Such a gorgeous family!

  • Jess - Oh. How. Fun!

    We’re having our family pictures taken for the first time ever. Hubby and I have been married 13 years now so I figured it’s about time. I’m so so excited now after seeing yours!

  • Angela - Oh, Ash. These are amazing. R and I had fun looking at them together. They made me miss you guys!

  • Ranee - so stinkin’ adorable. and you, my friend, are so very stylish. love these photos and your outfit!

  • Cristina C - What a gorgeous family! Your little girl is such a character! And I love your outfit! Where is that sweater from and those boots…oh my gosh I want them!!!

  • Tammy - I LOVE THEM ALL! So cute!! Love the chair pictures the most as well!! What a great family! πŸ™‚

  • RachelC - Absolutely perfect. Great job Ryan! Love the first family pic and the empty chair. Great symbolism of a family’s waiting heart. Can’t wait to see that chair filled with your beautiful daughter.

  • Molly - beautiful family! praying for your little one!

  • Ambrosia - These pics are so amazing. My absolute favorites are the ones with the empty chair – “5 kids in my heart. 4 in my arms.” I feel this every day, and of course you once again made me cry. πŸ™‚

  • Renee @ Get Innergized! - ohmygosh! these pics made me smile so much…and i just love the tea collection! πŸ™‚ so fun!

  • giozi - Today your photos are awesome. Love the the ones with the empty chair… waiting for the new baby.

    Your husband is a funny crazy,and you too. Your children are more beautiful each day.

  • Shauna - Those photos are amazing!! I love how candid they are…the empty chair…reading books on the blanket…rough housing. We are getting our photos done this weekend and Id love them to really show who we are as a family…not perfect, but US. I dont know you personally, but I feel like these pictures scream “you”. They are beautiful. Cant wait to see your baby girl in your arms.

  • Jenni - Are you even kidding me?!! RIDICULOUSLY cute. I can’t even take it. When a great idea with the empty chair! Your blog is hands down the best way to start my day!!:)

  • Carrie Callahan - I can see why you would cherish them – they are beautiful! I think my favorites are the ones with the empty chair – so meaningful! Love them all – you have a beautiful family!

  • cailan - These could not be more wonderful. Love the balloons, love the empty chair and the joyful expectation.

  • Ryan - I just want to say that I love your family. I will gladly jump a fence or two to spend a little time with you guys. πŸ™‚

    The Tea Collection clothes were ridiculously cute!

  • Kezia - Wow! These pictures are beautiful, I love the fact that you don’t have those static smiles that a lot of people put on for photo shoots!

  • A few hours Under the Sycamore » Ryan Arrowsmith Photography - […] one of the coolest families I know recently. You can read more about it (and see a few pictures) by visiting Under the Sycamore, written by my friend Ashley […]

  • angie w - perfection!

  • Shelley G - Those are awesome pics!!

  • Tonya - Love your blog…and your beautiful pictures πŸ™‚ What a fun crew you have!

  • Jeannette - Oh, my gosh! These are absolutely awesome! Oh, and I’m a little jealous about the Tea Collection – I LOVE their stuff – my favorite for Noble and the little boys even have a few things from them.

  • emmybrown - too beautiful and lovely and awesome and fabulous for words! WOW!!!

  • Rebecca - These pictures brought tears of joy to my eyes. How will you ever choose? I can only imagine that you have even more that you did not post. Your blog is what makes me consider having more children. I have two and always thought that was enough, but just one more would be so great. I have a hard time convincing my husband. However I think if he read your blog everyday (like I do, and on weekends in hopes you may have something to share), he may understand my desire. Have fun and best of luck as you continue the adoption process.

  • Andrea - Love the pictures!

    Your hair looks so pretty too! πŸ™‚

  • kelly - LOVE these. Your family is so beautiful! Especially love the empty chair. Can’t wait to see the special one who will fill it!!

  • lyn - Love the pictures. You have a beautiful family. THis gives me great ideas for our pictures.

  • Aubrey - Those pictures are absolutely beautiful!

  • lyn - Love the pictures. YOu have a beautiful family. This gives me such great ideas for our family photos.

  • Leslie - All teary-eyed over your beautiful family!!! Many prayers your way as you await your sweet #5.

  • amanda torres - I think I love just able every single picture. Yep, I love them all!

  • Anna Joy - Way to make me cry this morning when I saw the empty chair. Beautiful, creative, awesome photos. πŸ™‚

  • Stephanie - I LOVE EVERYTHING! You guys rule!

  • Stephanie - I LOVE everything. Your family rocks!

  • Mariah Milan - They are so lovely! And so vibrant and so YOU – even though I don’t know you I just love how the personality and love of your family shines through. They’re not cookie cutter – they are just perfect! I LOVE your crochet vest too….

  • W - Gorgeous photos of your beautiful family! Love the lanterns and chair waiting for your 5th child and all that it symbolizes! Can’t wait to see your family photos with your family of 7!

  • ashley - i think these are some of the BEST family pic’s I have ever seen. Very real… not posed like so many others. They capture your family energy perfectly!

  • Moriah - Beautiful pics! I adore the extra chair, so sweet! And I happen to love your hunter boots too. πŸ™‚

  • rachael - so beautiful! Your hair is super cute too by the way πŸ™‚ Loved the pics with the balloons and chairs. Can’t wait to see what baby 5 looks like!

  • amber - These are amazing. The chairs were my absolute favorite…so, so sweet. Praying for patience & speed!!

  • Katie Sellers - Those are so beautiful!! I am so excited for you and the wonderful adventure your on in adoption! Best of luck!

  • Ashley A - Cute!

  • Missy - These are so beautiful. I would have the hardest time figuring out which ones to frame. In fact, I’d probably take everything off the wall to make room for all of them. πŸ™‚ I love how they capture your sweet family.

  • Kelly - I LOVE them! Love the chair pictures! Love the black and white pictures! Kelly

  • Tina I. - Dear Firecracker, May I pretty please borrow your dress? I realize that I’m 40 and you’re…..not, but it is adorable. Just like your family. Beautiful. Love, A Mom Who’s a Sucker for a Big Family:-)

  • caru - Beautiful pictures and great tshirts

  • karen eyink - i have never used this word, but it is what came to me…. gobsmacked

  • Sara - Ashley, these are amazing and so beautiful! I actually got teary eyed when I saw the picture with the empty chair….what a joy for your family when it will finally be filled.

  • Lisa J - Fantastic! Utterly perfect. Seeing these make me so excited for my own future and so happy for you and yours. Many blessings x

  • able mabel - Oh how fun! Looks like everyone had a great time!!

  • laura - what a great idea with using the chairs! what an excitong day when that 5th chair will be filled. beautiful pictures πŸ™‚

  • Christie - These are amazing!! Makes me want to get our family photos done! The empty chair photos are my favorite!! So sweet and will be so adorable in his/her room!!!

  • Darcie - Pic with the empty chair is my favorite too. Question: How would you explain the feeling of 5 children in your heart and 4 in your arms? (if that’s possible!) I feel like my DAYS are full with just 2 kids! I know my heart probably isn’t full – I’d love more kids – but with 4 little ones already demanding your time, what does that feel like… to still have room for 1 more, and feel that “empty” spot tugging at your heart? Can you even explain it?

  • Jess - What a precious family you have Ashley. LOVE these.

  • faith - wow! simply wow! love these pics!!!

  • rachel p - So cute and beautiful and precious and FUN!!! Just like your family! Thank you so much for sharing the fun with us πŸ™‚

  • Stephanie F - Awesome pictures. Where did you get that Sweater/vest/shrug?

  • Anika - Just perfect! Really amazing!!!

  • mosey - wow… okay when I saw that picture with the extra chair I burst into tears. I am SO stealing this idea… LOVE LOVE LOVE~! Beautiful pictures!

  • Alice H - Wow! I love the photos. I want to book him for our next family photos. Seriously so much fun, jumping from the chairs, reading hte books, the chairs, the ballons tied to mason jars. Love it all!

  • Jenny - Amazingly beautiful family (and pics)!

  • Jane in Canada - Oh Ashely, these are such wonderful photos! It’s so neat for me to know which field you’re talking about. It’s a perfect choice!

  • Robyn Lee - Love these pictures! Where did you get that amazing sweater!

  • Bethany - beautiful pictures! i love the ones that include the waiting chair… and i love tea! i’ve been eyeing some of those boy’s tees for a while and knew exactly were they were from the second i saw them in your family photos. what a gorgeous family you have!

  • Jessamy - Gorgeous!!!! Just plain gorgeous! The chair idea is genius….so very cute!

  • Lindsay - Gorgeous photos! I adore the series with the chairs.

  • Jo - Ashley you look amazing – your hair is beautiful in these shots, very natural. And I love your outfit, those boots – wow! You have such a beautiful family, you are right to feel so blessed and grateful. Congratulations, and prayers and best wishes for your new addition.

  • amy jupin - L~O~V~E!
    it won’t be long ashley!

  • Betsy - What a loving way to take family photos, showing the eager anticipation of the awaited child. Your new little one is so blessed to be coming to join such a thoughtful, giving family. I am adopted, and my family has done an amazing job of loving me and letting me always know how precious and very-wanted I am. I often wonder how differently my life might have turned out had God not ordained events as He did. His plans are mysterious and amazing!

  • Jen @ Rambling Renovators - These photos are filled with so much love!! So beautiful. Someday soon, a lucky child will be blessed to join your wonderful family.

  • Marci - Beautiful pictures of a beautiful family! My favorite is the one where you’re all jumping off the chairs & your little Firecracker is just sitting in hers. She’s adorable!!

  • Heather - by far the best family photos i have seen in a long time. so special. LOVED all your ideas. Care to share where you got your rocking boots??? πŸ™‚

  • nicole @ deliajude - Adorable, memorable family photos. The empty chair stirs my heart, for sure.
    Blessings to your family.

  • Jami - Those pictures are adorable…I can’t wait to see your fifth child. You guys are a blessing…

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Oh Ashley, you look amazing! Chris and the kids look great, too. Those shots are amazing. I know you will cherish them forever. I just love how you delight in your family… such an inspiration. I will be praying for that little one to come home soon.

  • Jyoti - You are an incredible family. I hope ALL your children are in your arms SOON πŸ™‚

  • Malia - That is quite an accomplishment to get everyone together with props and all! What precious photos. I especially loved how you wrote “Our family. 5 kids in my heart. 4 in my arms.” With many good thoughts and prayers for your upcoming adoption and with much aloha, malia

  • Kristin - Those pictures are incredible! Love them. As soon as I would think oooh that’s my favorite, another great one would show up! Your family is beautiful.

  • andy - i was searching the internet on my hubbys phone yesterday since we were without our computer. so i saw you fam pic post but didn’t comment becasue i hate typing on the touch screen. these are amazing. i love them so much. love how you incorporated the 5th child chair and balloons and everything. it was great. the kids outfits are cute. love your boots.

  • Rosalind - Beautiful family photos and they looked like a lot of fun! Love your outfit too x

  • Mandy - These are SO BEAUTIFUL!!!!

  • Caitlin - I LOVE the empty chair pictures. Made me teary. The rest are lovely too. πŸ™‚

  • Letisha - Wow Ashley,
    These family pictures are amazing! So inspried to get my own family pictures done…
    Love your little crochet vest. Looks like something off etsy….would love to know where you got it!
    Love your blog…thanks for all the wonderful ideas!

  • Renae - Wow, I wasn’t expecting the first photo with the empty chair! As I scrolled down and saw it I immediately clapped my hand over my mouth and burst into tears! What an amazing photo. Words can’t describe it. Praying for you guys!

  • Thalita Dol - Oh my, those are so sweet!! I absolutely LOVE the idea of the empty chair. Can’t wait to see this little new face here!

    many hugs from Brazil!

  • Lindsay O'Donnell - These family photos are SO adorable! I can’t wait to see the next batch of pictures with a 5th precious baby in them! πŸ™‚

  • Kimberly Dial - The pictures couldn’t be more perfect … blessings to you, your hubby & all FIVE of your children! πŸ™‚

  • Julia L - what a beautiful family. love the balloons. love that empty chair. what a great picture.
    : )

  • Marie - I adore theses!!!

  • Brooke Whitis - Oh Ashley, these are just AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love how sweet they capture your family! Great pictures make you feel as though you know people, and can imagine the screams and groans and whines behind every photo. I feel like I can see that!! I love your cute hair…going to try to reproduce that…and I love the stripes.

    Your boys are adorable. I LOVE the non-matchy nature…
    Love the chinese lanterns.
    Trying to think of something “ethiopian” i could include in our photos…that is tough. πŸ™‚

    Love your style! πŸ™‚

  • Lori - Ashley – I’m just npw ctaching up1 Iloooe these. Oh, my word. I love the chairs. the balloons. the quilt one. perfect. The chinese lanterns is so perfect. But, the real thing that the pictures show – besides you be cuter than cute- is the happiness, love and real joy your little kids have in a fmily where parents love each other and honor God with their lives. I loooove this. the empty chair made me ball. awesome. You radiate beauty and it shows. Even~ when you’re not wearing makeup. :0)

  • danielle - These photos are so awesome!!

  • Heldine - OMG – all those pictures are so great!! I can’t wait to see pictures of you all with the new addition to the family. πŸ™‚

  • the whyte house - well done to arrowsmith and to you guys for surviving photos w kids. lol. πŸ™‚

  • Megan - Wonderful photos! I love the balloons and the empty chair waiting for another little one. So creative and cute!

  • Jessica - Great pictures. Where did mom’s sweater come from? Too cute!

  • What to Wear Fridays~ Children portraits « Bright Photography - […] since I saw this post from Ashley, I have wanted to do an adoption photo session. I love the empty chair just waiting to be filled. […]

  • Susan Hardy - So happy to have found this site…..how delightful:)

  • dududukkkkkkk - Our Family Pictures {2011} » ashleyannphotography.com I was suggested this web site by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as no one else know such detailed about my problem. You’re wonderful! Thanks! your article about Our Family Pictures {2011} » ashleyannphotography.comBest Regards Lisa

  • Ramya - Your pics are so full of love.. I have one kid and deciding to add one more to family.. but the decisions are never easier.. but looking at your pics gives a perfect inspiration.. cheers!!

  • patricia - these pictures brought a big smile to my face what a lovely family, i wish you get your baby #5 soon

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  • Lea McFarlin - I am interested in using Ryan Arrowsmith as a photographer, however the links on your site do not go to a website (it just says error: page not found). I tried googling him but still not able to find a website. I was wondering if you have any updated info on how to contact him. Thank you.

  • Valerie Johnston - What a beautiful family! I love the pictures! From a Mom to 7, our youngest two adopted from China. Big families are the greatest!

  • 20 Creative Ways to Announce Pregnancy [PHOTOS] | How To Become A Internet Marketer - […] Our Family Pictures by Under The Sycamore. Along with the children’s cute poses, the white air balloons and little chairs standing right on the field is an incredibly sweet touch. […]

  • 20 Creative Ways to Announce Pregnancy | TechnoAcid - […] Our Family Pictures by Under The Sycamore. Along with the children’s cute poses, the white air balloons and little chairs standing right on the field is an incredibly sweet touch. […]

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  • 20 Creative Ways to Announce Pregnancy [PHOTOS] - […] Our Family Pictures by Under The Sycamore. Along with the children’s cute poses, the white air balloons and little chairs standing right on the field is an incredibly sweet touch. […]

  • 16+ Of The Most Creative Baby Announcements Ever - OddPad.com - […] Source: ashleyannphotography.com […]

  • Natasha Price - Hi there

    I write for Mother & Baby magazine in Australia and am putting together a pregnancy announcement story and came across your photos. I’d love to feature the image of your four children with the empty seat in the magazine if that’s OK with you?

    My deadline is Thursday so hopefully I’ll hear back from you before then!


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