No way are you setting up a portrait session for your family in 2012. Why? Well, the economy is tough. You're busy. You hate getting your picture taken. Getting the kids dressed takes too long. I know. But I'm asking you to do it anyway. I promise, you'll be glad you did. Really. Not convinced?
Before you decide that a new portrait of your family doesn't belong on your bucket list for this year, I'd like to share five reasons that you should make sure that it absolutely is one of the things right at the top of your list:
* You'll have a family photo to look back on after everyone is grown
- When my youngest brother was a baby, my mom realized that we didn't have a family portrait with all of us together. She packed up all five children, headed to the studio and had the portrait done. Do you know, that is the only complete family portrait we have from our childhood? We are wearing what we had on that day, so it isn't coordinated and amazing, but it is a precious image because it is the only one. We can laugh over the crazy clothes and ooh over how little my tall, strong baby brother was because my mom made sure she got that session done.
* Have one photo session done and you can cross a lot of gifts off of your list this year
- Grandparents, aunts and uncles, mommies and daddies...They all will appreciate getting a nice 8x10 framed portrait of their favorite little guys and gals. There are also a lot of fun portrait gifts your photographer can help you choose from, such as photo ornaments, coffee mugs, mouse pads, calendars, bookmarks and notepads.
* You'll leave behind a memory for others to cherish
- My grandfather HATED to have his photo taken. Still, he went with my grandma and had one formal portrait taken. I do believe it was the first (and last) since his youngest child's wedding day. All of his grandchildren are so thankful that he agreed to get his picture taken one last time.
* You don't have to fear portrait sessions
- Remember those stiff visits to the photo studio that you remember from your childhood? No way! A portrait session in today's more relaxed, photo journalistic world is not about someone snapping photos of kids sitting in a little room in a perfect pose with perfect smiles. It is about capturing who they really are, often right in the same locations where they live and play. The kids are making silly faces, showing off a new skill, or blowing bubbles at each other. They're being themselves and no one is fussing at them to sit straight and behave the entire time. Sure, you're going to want some nice formal poses, but the times in between, where Billy yanks Suzie's pigtail and Brian picks his nose? Well, that happens to all the other families, too. And that is okay with today's family photographers, or at least all the ones I know. Really. I promise.
* You can create new memories
- This goes hand in hand with not fearing today's portrait sessions. I personally love to brainstorm with kids and their parents to come up with a photo shoot that actually creates new memories. I love it when the kids say, "Ooh, look! That's the day we dressed up like fairies and you took our picture," or, "Remember the day I pretended I could fix cars?" I've done a silly shoot for a little boy who went through a growth spurt that left him a bit accident prone and had his mom wishing she could bubble wrap him to keep him safe, a shoot with two fairies, fashion shoots with tons of scarves, hats and beads to choose from and rock star shoots. They're as much fun for the child living out a dream as they are for me and create some really fun photos for parents to cherish.
So, now that you have a list of reasons to reconsider getting your family's portraits done, I'm going to ask you...No. I'm going to beg you. If you don't do anything else this year, make that family photo a priority.
Of course, I'd like you to call a photographer in your area to schedule a session so you can have some beautiful images that will last a lifetime and beyond. However, if you can't, don't let that stop you from at least getting one image of your family. Go get your point and shoot camera out and ask a neighbor to snap a shot or two off for you. And don't just leave them on the camera or your computer's hard drive. Have them printed and framed. The point of a family photo is to make a memory to look back on in years to come. You can't do that if your hard drive fails!