Last weekend was a fun one in that we took family portraits in celebration of our youngest son turning 1 year old. With each of the boys’ birthdays I like to commemorate the occasion with portraits. Fortunately, our preschooler’s birthday falls around the holidays, which means that set of pictures can also be used for our holiday cards. While “family portrait day” is a very special time in our home, it’s also a stressful one for me. Of course, I’m sure this stress is self-imposed, but it’s hard not to worry about everything being just right!
Everything depends on the boys’ moods, so I do my best to make sure they’re well rested. It’s ideal if the appointment can be early in the morning, just after breakfast, or right after nap in the afternoon. Full bellies are a must! Even so, anything could set one of the boys off and then the pictures don’t turn out well. For some reason, this doesn’t seem to stress my husband out as much as it does me.
On this particular Saturday morning the timing couldn’t have been better. Everyone was up early, the boys ate a good, filling breakfast, and were bathed and dressed with time to spare. We piled into the car and headed to the photo studio which was located in the mall. The boys were fine initially, playing with toys in the waiting room, and acquiescing to our last minute hair brushing and clothes tugging. The theme was “white” and everyone looked great! However, the photographer was finishing up with another family and, after waiting a few minutes too long, they started to unravel. I was glad that we were called in at that time!
The photographer asked if we wanted to take the boys’ individual photos first, and my husband and I exclaimed “No!” in unison. We looked at each other and laughed (that hadn’t been planned). We both realized that the priority was a nice family picture, and individual photos were “extra,” if the boys were able to make it that long.
By the end of the morning we had succeeded in capturing a few halfway decent family pictures, and one individual photo of each of the boys. That was the most we could manage before the tears and tantrumming and melt-downs started. However, I was so grateful to have even that one! The next time we take pictures will be in December, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the occasion goes halfway as “smoothly” as this one did.
Do you have any tips for taking successful portraits with the entire family?