Family photos and Future Me

We’re gearing up to take our annual family photos this coming weekend. I am in awe of those influencers who post photos daily (it seems) of their multitude of children in matching outfits smiling at the camera. I can only assume that 1. we don’t see the wrangling this requires and 2. because it is the influencer’s full-time job, taking the photos becomes the focus for the day.

Getting my crew to behave and smile is never easy. This year we’ll be throwing a dog into the mix, in addition to the mobile toddler and occasionally surly older children. One of the photo proofs that came home from the school yearbook photo session is just laughable for its “really, you expect me to do this?” vibe.

Our long-time photographer is truly excellent and she will get great shots of all of us looking at the camera with something close to happiness. Or not looking at the camera when it is artistically appropriate! Nonetheless, getting everyone to wear their nice outfits and cooperate is going to be stressful. And there will be other stresses. We’re doing the shoot at the new house since there is a good chance there will be an open house going on at our current house at the same time. Preparations for that will overlap with preparations for the photos. Plus, my husband will be bringing one child back from an overnight camping trip. Theoretically there should be plenty of time but…he might come back covered in mud. And with the open house going on, there won’t be a chance to shower him. Can you see I’ve been pondering this?

All this is to say it probably won’t be the most relaxing few hours of my life. But on the other hand, the kids are growing up. The photos we take for our Christmas cards capture these fleeting moments in time. I know I will be happy to have the photos, even if in the moment we will be cold, and the toddler will be running off somewhere, and the dog barking, and all the rest. Future Me will be happy to have the photos. So I can picture myself on some future day, cozy and quiet, looking at these adorable children and the bright fall leaves, and hold on to that image. And hopefully not scream too much in the meantime!

11 thoughts on “Family photos and Future Me

  1. All the best. Family pictures are #stressful. It’s amazing how much mental headspace they can require…

    I’m sure the pictures will be great and maybe some of the less “photo-friendly” moments will become good memories. I remember the year our daughter had croup and woke up at 4:30 in the morning; she was adorable in family pictures later that day, though I was dead on my feet. Or the year I was pregnant with #2 during a high-stress/risky/uncertain pregnancy and we put tiny little Puma’s in one of the shots to represent the pending infant arrival which was scaring me senseless (he was born healthy, but I didn’t know that at the time of the photoshoot).

    Can’t wait to see the results 🙂

  2. We did our photos 2 weeks ago. It did NOT go well. Not one of my kiddos was remotely cooperative. There was discussion with our lovely photographer regarding “head sawpping” to get one good picture of all 4 kids. UGH!

    1. @Gillian – ha on the head swapping. A few years ago we wound up with no group shots where the 2-year-old didn’t have his pacifier in. We wound up using individual pictures of each kid from the shot as a four-photo montage. It wouldn’t have been the end of the world to have a pacifier shot but he also tended to turn his head in with it…

  3. Pat yourself on the back for taking family photos! I’ve gone a different approach: I choose from pictures taken throughout the year. Every month I upload to shutterfly and choose the best of the bunch for later use — either for holiday cards, for the family picture calendar and/or any other projects that come up in between. The last two years the choice was limited — we didn’t go many places — but the pictures are a fun reflection of what we’ve been up to during the year.

    1. I do this too! My holiday cards are a collection of our adventures from the year. I try to include a picture of Halloween costumes, one with the 4 of us (usually the hardest to find!), one with cousins on each side, smiles with adorably missing teeth, first day of Kindergarten, soccer picture or just those great smiles you happen to catch every 1 in a 100 pictures! We’ve done professional pictures a couple times, but it’s too much pressure for me to do on a regular basis and I’ve let it go. Best of luck that everything goes smoothly for you Laura!

    2. I love this! We have five boys, and I’m terrible at family photos. I have also opted for the once a year photo book (bonus: it makes a great gift for far off family members!). But the annual picture upload process is a massive pain in the neck. Doing it monthly sounds SOOOO much easier!

  4. A box of raisins worked beautifully for my toddler this year for family photos! He also got a big kick out of holding our dog’s leash, and the photographer got great action shots of those antics. I was feeling like there was no way it would work out, but then I reminded myself that the photographer often has to capture wedding parties of groups of 20-30+ and so our comparatively little group couldn’t be THAT hard…

    1. @Heather, sadly our dog is not that well-behaved and would likely eat the toddler’s raisins and then we’d really have a problem…

  5. 99% sure those influencers hire professional photographers intermittently who follow them around and take “lifefstyle” shots. They get tons of pics and cycle through them (and various past shoots) as needed!

  6. We’ve gotten into an good rhythm with family photos. The photographer we’ve been using schedules “mini” sessions throughout the fall at a couple of different locations. She notifies all existing clients on the release date, and it always prompts me to schedule them before they’re booked up. She does a quick, well choreographed 15 minutes and we’re done! Although we only have 2 kids, I can’t imagine trying to wrangle 5, good luck!

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