Family Photos: More is More

Family Matters on 04.26.11
Contributor bio | twitter

Photo Credit: Maaike Bernstrom Photography

I was never the type to get professional photos taken when I was pregnant or the moment my children were born or even anytime shortly thereafter. I carry my camera with me on most days and take loads of pictures of my children. And I am happy with a lot of them. Before my now two year daughter was born, I really noticed the difference in the pictures my friends were posting on Facebook that were taken with a digital SLR and so we decided to invest in the Nikon D40. I love the quality of the photos and I know that I could add many upgrades (and maybe actually read the owner's manual) that would make them even better. But the problem is that if my husband and I are always taking the pictures, we are almost never in them, and if one of us is, the other one isn't. It's not so much that I'm dying to have my picture taken, but I have realized that with my children growing so quickly, time passes fast and these moments in our family's history will have gone by without us having captured a photo to remember them by.   

family photo 09
Photo Credit: Maaike Bernstrom Photography

What did we look like as a family two years ago? I couldn't really tell you because we don't have a picture of all four of us. But just before the Christmas of 2009, we decided to have some pictures taken for our Christmas card after seeing some others that friends had had done by a local photographer. My daughter was seven months old, and my son was almost three and a half. I was 20 pounds heavier than I wanted to be. I figured the shots would at least be cute of the kids. We went to one of my favorite spots on the planet and spent an hour just letting the photographer click away. In return we got some of the most wonderful photos that I will cherish forever. Not only did we get some great family photos, but we also got some amazing shots of our kids individually and of them together, and some sweet photos of my husband and I with each of your children. The fact of the matter is that we wouldn't have gotten anything even close ourselves.

Famil photos 2011
Photo Credit: Maaike Bernstrom Photography

It had been almost 18 months since those photos, and our children are now two and almost five years old which is quite a big leap from that first photo session. So last week we decided to have more photos taken. It is almost impossible to believe how much the kids have changed since then in the photos. For one my daughter now has hair and my son had eye surgery to correct a lazy eye, but really it's so much more than that. And that's why it's so important that we make this an annual event. The photos not only offer us a memory to cherish as our family grows and things change, but they also make us stop. Stop, and reflect on what has happened since the last time around and see how so much can change in what is considered a relatively short period of time, and also envision where we hope to be by next year's picture time.


family photo 2
Photo Credit: Maaike Bernstrom Photography

It is really easy to put off doing this simple task that only takes an hour. It is easy to make excuses because we are too busy, need to lose twenty pounds (which I finally did by this last photo session), can't afford to get new outfits, or whatever other reason you'd like to use. But the simple fact is that the best pictures are the ones in which you just dress like you normally do, act like you normally do, and let the photographer work his/her magic. Your kids are never ever going to be at the same age they are at now. Life changes in an instant, and you can never go back to capture the time that once was so stop and take the time to capture your family as a whole every once in a while. If you can, get your extended family in on the photo session too. Multi-generational photos are also wonderful mementos. I now plan to have some multi-generational ones done this summer when my brother is home for his annual visit, and I am a former naysayer that now promotes having every pregnant belly, newborn baby, and any other important event properly photographed. You won't regret it and your kids will thank you later too.

Top Stories on Family Photos
How to Properly Store Really Really Old Photos
Photo Crafts & Activities for Kids
The Revelation Project: How a Photo Reminded of Who I Am