It’s that time of year when the weather is great and the foliage is beautiful. The time of year when family’s gather round to take quintessential, fall, family pictures. Well, most families. We’ve opted for an alternative.
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We forgo the photographer
As you know, I’m always looking to save a buck. Hence, our family has never actually had a professional photographer take our photos. We didn’t have a photographer at our wedding, for our child’s birth, his first birthday, anything.
But, we have amazing photographs of each of these events.
I know what you’re thinking: There’s no way. How could her photos be amazing when she didn’t have a photographer?
Granted, I did that Intro to Photography class in college, but other than the rule of thirds, nothing really stuck. Except maybe the smell of developer under my fingernails for several months after.
We don’t use fancy equipment
No, we don’t have a fancy camera. As a matter of fact, we use our cell phones. They aren’t even iPhones. Crazy, right?
We also have a remote-operated selfie stick I bought on Groupon several years ago. The remote connects to our phone via Bluetooth and the stick itself holds our phones in position, wherever we place it.
The point here is, it doesn’t matter what equipment you’re working with. What matters is the subject matter.
And, whether or not you’re dressed in matching outfits and have your hair perfectly coiffed and the sun setting just so, doesn’t matter. It doesn’t!
What’s your favorite family photo?
I mean, take a minute and look through your family photos from when you were little. Which pictures do you prefer?
The staged school photos full of awkwardness? The family portraits taken at Olan Mills? The Glamour Shots (remember those)?
Or the photo of you making cookies at age 2, completely engulfed in the process? The photo of you at age 3 on Christmas morning, in your penguin Halloween costume, opening presents next to your brother, who happened to be dressed like the Karate Kid? Maybe it’s the photo of your birthday party at McDonald’s when they would still let the birthday child go behind the counter and make the ice cream?
Ok, so maybe these are a little specific, but you get the idea.
Your favorite pictures are never the staged ones. They’re never the photos you spent hours getting ready for and stressed about the perfect outfit and setting over.
They’re the ‘in the moment,’ imperfect family pictures that stick out in your mind.
Break the norm
So, our family has decided to break the norm when it comes to these posed, perfect pictures. Yes, we’ve decided to go the opposite route. We take pictures as we go, sometimes daily, sometimes not, but frequently enough, like everyone else. Our cell phones, selfie stick, and occasionally (when on vacation) our point-and-shoot camera are the only pieces of equipment we use or even consider.
We host family slideshows in our living room every few months. By that I mean, Hubs, myself and #1 sit on the couch while we Chromecast our family pictures onto the television.
We laugh. We reminisce. And we choose our favorites. Which then, find their way onto our walls and mantle.
Yes, we print and display these disheveled, fun-loving photos. Because that’s what our family is. We’re not perfect. We’re wild, delayed, and adventurous. We don’t want stoic photos on our walls or in our photo albums.
Currently, our main photo on display is a goofy picture we took at the zoo. We’ve also got photos up from a beach trip, Hubs’ time in the Army, a snowy day when we played outside, and general everyday photos, including one where #1 is reading with Elmo.
They’re not perfect. The lighting is off. In one, we’re in pajamas and I’m newly postpartum. But it’s the faces in the photos. The happiness, the smiles, the true joy that exudes.
While you could capture those same feelings in staged photos, the imperfect pictures are just more fun.
I mean, they make entire books about awkward family pictures. So why not break the norm? Celebrate your imperfect family pictures and put them on display.
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