Friday, January 24, 2014

Add Fun to Family Portraits

As a minimalist, I'm not sentimental about many things besides pictures. When we got married, Brian and I were so bad at taking our camera with us we decided to do a year long photo journal, taking a picture every day. Since then, we've sat and looked through them and enjoyed remembering another era. Portraits on the other hand, didn't seem important. We had these five year anniversary photos taken in our all our time before kids. That was it. 

With the arrival of kids, my photo-mania exploded. Partly because they're so darn cute and constantly changing and partly because everyone told me I'd forget the first three months with twins. I was afraid to forget. So we did ALL the pictures. In case it's not clear how I said that, it's like this: 

See more on Know Your Meme

ANYway...Portraits were painful there for a while. I almost told the photographers, "Once a kid understands that he can hold fun things, he no longer smiles when you dangle them in front of him and take it away." When they were eighteen months, we showed up - all of us fancy and spit-up free (miraculous!) because it was to be the Christmas picture. But Cadence wouldn't stop crying, so we rescheduled and did it all over again a week later. Ugh.

Much of this goes with the territory of young children, but here's my suggestion: Go outside. Kids are happier outside. We didn't make this switch until the kids were already four, but even now, I think they'd be grumpy if we were dragging them to a studio. A friend of ours is a brilliant photographer and the kids look forward to taking pictures with Mr. Ed. The added expense is worth the genuine smiles and natural moments getting captured. Whether it's downtown or on a farm, a place where they can climb and run is great. I actually look forward to the time we spend taking portraits now. (Young kid mammas - keep in mind my kids are seven. It seriously gets better.) 

The other factor that helps is a photographer you and the kids are comfortable around. The more shoots you experience together, the easier it gets. Ed is chill to begin with, but this last time was more fun than I've ever had. My favorite part was when he was trying to figure out what kind of sounds get a cat's attention. So funny. You can see he succeeded over here.

While Ed was snapping pictures of the kids, I got to watch them and marvel. Their energy and smiles and expressions are so unique to the person they are inside. I felt thrilled with my front row seat where I can watch them grow. Here's a few of the spontaneously awesome ones.

In the third picture, you can see Cadence got tired of smiling, but still. So. Much. Better. 

Do you have any portraits in your near future? For those of us where there's winter, only the brave would take my advice this time of year. We always go at the very end of summer, before the green is replaced by fall foliage. Spring is my favorite season but the weather's super iffy and trees are still a little naked. At the end of summer, we catch the trees in all their green glory. 

There's another reason I was feeling sentimental while we took these pictures. We were back at the same gorgeous farm where we took our fifth anniversary portraits. What I didn't know on my first trip to the farm was that I was newly pregnant. 

Fast forward eight years and here we are. Never dreamed it could be this hard or this wonderful.  

P.S. I updated the pictures on the About Me page, so you can see a few more pictures there.

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