I got my first camera, a hand-me-down 110 film camera, when I was eight years old. And my obsessive love of photography started approximately seven seconds after my mom placed it in my hand. My passion for the memories that a photo can create followed a couple weeks later when I got my first roll of film developed. The further into life I get, the more hooked I am on all that a photo can hold within it.
The stories that they tell.
The details they help us to hold on to.
The legacy they build around us.
I love candid snapshots.
Perfectly timed tidbits of the everyday lives we share with those who mean the most to us. It’s why I rarely leave home without a camera, why there’s one almost always sitting by my side while we’re just hanging out at home. It’s how I wound up with a disc filled with 2,537 pictures that Hubster and I took during our wedding weekend and honeymoon. It’s the reason that I secretly was a little sad that my labor with Runt went so quickly, leaving us with only one single photo taken that day before the little man arrived.
As much as I love candid photos, I absolutely adore portraits.
When I think back on some of my favorites in our collection of photos, many of the ones that jump to mind are portraits. There’s something about making a concerted effort to take this piece of time in your life and freeze it for eternity that just speaks to me.
And, yet, here we are, nearly four years into this parenting gig, and we’ve never once had family portraits taken. At least not ones that “count” in my book, despite Hubster’s protests and arguments to the contrary.
We’ve made lots of attempts. Most of them involved a tripod, a remote, and a couple dozen desperate pleas with Runt to “just sit still!” Some were taken by friends, after I threw my camera on auto, shoved it into their hand, and prayed for something resembling the beautiful inspirtation pictures that fill my Pinterest boards.
Sure, there has been the occasional decent picture.
Some have even been pretty good.
But none that make my heart pitter-patter with mushy nostalgia as I think back on the day they were taken. Mostly, they’re a collection of memories of days where I stressed myself out way too much to be able to actually be in the moment and wound up mad at myself and at least one of my two guys, too.
Until recently, I’ve felt kind of resigned to this just being the way it is. After all, having portraits done…particularly the kind that my walls crave to have displayed on them…is a pricey investment. And it seems there’s always something else demanding the money that I would like to think about putting towards photos, especially during the years when I wasn’t working.
A few weeks ago, as my mind wandered and daydreamed of the cooler days and holiday fun that’s quickly approaching, I again started to ponder the idea of family portraits. As I mindlessly scrolled through Pinterest, the sounds of my little boy playing with his trains drifting down the hallway towards the living room, I suddenly found myself thinking back to something my grandma used to say to me during my brief stint as a child model, when I’d hit the wall and was tired of having my picture taken. Just smile. It’ll be over soon. Just then, my little man came running out of his room, eager to share something with me. As I looked at him, beaming with pride while he told me all about the “so cool!” track he’d just built, Grandma’s words suddenly took on a whole new meaning to me.
Just smile. We’ve already zoomed on past the baby stage, raced our way through the toddler years. It’ll be over soon. I’ll never be able to go back to cherished family portraits of the three of us entrenched in those phases of Runt’s childhood.
In that instant, I became obsessed with getting real-deal family portraits taken. If I could have, I’d have done it that very same day. I realized I’d have to be content with doing it this fall. I sent a message to a photographer who I’ve been stalking for a while now, determined to find a way to book with her. After chatting with her, I broke down our budget to find a little bit of wiggle room for the expense. We booked the date, selected a location that we’re all pretty stoked about (even Runt!), and I have our outfits nearly sorted out.
Just smile. I’m so excited to take this chance to just live in the moment with my boys as we capture a piece of the story of our right now. It’ll be over soon. And when it is, I hope to have a beautiful collection of both candid and portrait photos to help guide my walks down memory lane.
Have you made family photos a priority in your family? Why or why not? Any tips for other family portraits newbies like me?