The Family Photo Challenge
The Family Photo Challenge
I love taking family portraits, especially around this time of year. It is one of my favorite ways to get into the holiday spirit, and a lot of times it gives me the opportunity to reconnect with couples whose weddings I may have shot years before. There is just one thing that comes up time and time again during these sessions that forever leaves me baffled. So many families lately have been telling me how appreciative they are of the portraits I do, specifically because they either forget to take any other pictures all together. Ever. Or if they do, those photos remain locked away on their smart phones, never to be seen or worse accidentally erased when the phone fails or is lost.
Something about that always makes me sad. As much as I love taking these photos for you, the annual family photo shoot should not be the only photographic evidence you have that you are, in fact, a family. I know that for so many of the families I work with, it isn’t so much a sign of a lack of togetherness as it is one of chaotic and busy lifestyles. Those moments spent together are enjoyed and lived, rather than constantly documented. Or it is only the kids that show up in the few photos taken. Which I get, and I support, but… there is still something to be said for the candid’s that can be taken when there is no one but family around.
So this holiday season, I want to issue a challenge to you all. Give yourselves the gift of pictures. Make it a priority to take some photos, and to actually do something with them when you do. Perhaps this means giving one of your kids a camera, and allowing them to hone their photography skills. Maybe it means keeping your newest point and shoot on the mantle, serving as a constant reminder that you should be capturing those special and spontaneous moments as they come up. For some, it may even mean setting a goal – learn to use the self timer feature then making a commitment to take at least 20 pictures a week, and thinking about what you have coming up that might be fun to photograph.
Once you have your pictures though, you have to take the next step.
Download your photos to your computer, into a dated folder and choose your favorites to go beyond just your Facebook wall. Send some shots off to your favorite printer, and designate these new moments you’ve captured for some frames around the house. Or start putting together a family yearbook, ordering a picture book with shots from the last 12 months. Find a way to utilize those memories that you have captured, never allowing them to slip too far away from your mind.
Because those memories will fade. The Halloween costumes and stuffed Thanksgiving turkey faces will slowly evaporate from your mind without your even realizing it is happening. You can’t have a professional photographer around 24/7, which is why the onus falls on you to capture those moments; the look of pure elation as your kids round the corner on Christmas morning, the excitement as fireworks go off on New Year’s Eve, and the first flying leap into a newly formed pile of fall leaves. The group photo of bad holiday sweaters. These are the moments you won’t want to forget, and the times you will be thankful you pulled your camera out to catch.
I will always be here, and it will forever be my pleasure to take your family portraits. But there is something to be said for going above and beyond that annual picture, and seeing what kind of images you can snap for yourself. You will never regret pulling your own camera out and catching some of those priceless holiday memories. But if you let your camera remain in a drawer, or you leave all those pictures housed on only your phone – you will certainly grow to regret all the memories you let simply slip away.
Don’t have a regular camera? Set up your iPhone is style with these few gadgets: