Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Picture of a picture-taker's family: Attempt I

It is infinitely harder (for me, at least) to take good family pictures of my own family than it is to take good family pictures of someone else. (Did you get all that?)

First, I make the huge mistake of building this perfect, beautiful image in my mind, prompting me to exhibit incredible crankiness as I dress the kids before we go--already buckling under the pressure I've put on myself.

Second, I almost never choose the right outfit for myself. Sure, my children might look darling, Phill might look dashing as ever, but me? I forget all the things I like about great photography, and I wear something that almost inevitably reads horribly on camera. And third.....

....third. Once everyone else is positioned and ready, and my finger has irrevocably hit the shutter button--it happens:
I do something weird. Or dumb. Or awkward. Like.....oh, draping my arm over Phill's front, making it look as though my limb is as big as my head. Or smiling so hard that my cheeks look like they're full of a squirrel's winter supply. Or completely block out another person's head with my needs-to-be-thinned Hermione-big hair. OR jumping into the weirdest spot as if I have no time before the picture is taken, then freeze, not knowing how to change my position, even when I have a leisurely ten seconds still left. It's quite frustrating.

I don't know why I forget that it sometimes (often, Rae, OFTEN) takes more than one attempt when we're doing our pictures ourselves. I like taking them myself, because I love doing photography, and because when they turn out well, I'm very proud of my work....(go ahead and say it, I'm proud)....but then I give myself the burden of trying to be not only a good photographer, but also a good subject. And unfortunately, the good subject part eludes me until somewhere around Attempt III, and sometimes the good photographer part just doesn't kick in. Add to that difficulty my desire for family portraits that are colorful, demonstrative of our personalities, and maybe even a little imaginative, and that's one big job.

I'm posting this here so that I can look back and remember, when I'm annoyed, yet again, that I'm attempting to do something that may take some time.

Do all good things take time?!

It ought to comfort you to see just how normal we really are, should you subscribe to delusions that we are pristine and perpetually positive. (I don't intend to paint that false picture.) Savvy demolished the bow I had in her hair. DEMOLISHED it. I mean--took off the metal barrette part, pulled apart the ribbon--DEMOLISHED to the point that it wasn't wearable. (Take that, Mom! I'll show you to girly me up!)

When I did manage to do something halfway normal, I blocked out Reed's head a little or had to pretend it wasn't hard to keep squirming Savanna in my arms. :) Would you like to see some of our hilarious results of today? Actually, the ones of the kids were pretty cute, if I do say so.
(And I do.) Used some of Pioneer Woman's *FREE* actions, which are WONDERFUL! Enjoy the blooper reel, first off.

Ah, well. I can't look at those smiles and feel that I didn't get something good out of our first attempt tonight.


Heidi said...

I'm not a photographer, I am a mother attempting to capture beautiful (vs. accurate) photos of her children. Okay, the children are beautiful but the pictures of them are generally utter chaos. You know what I mean. But I don't have the added pressure of also being the photographer - goodness, being just the mother at one of our photo sessions is enough to age me a decade. (We try to treat our photographers well so they still love us afterwards and I say love because they are related to us and that's the only reason I know they love us enough to keep trying.)

Anyway, I meant that to say THANK YOU for being willing to post the bloopers. It helps me feel less alone in my quest. ;)

And I love the shots, you make even those look sweet and beautiful and fun.

Lara said...

Girl, I find it hard enough to get one decent picture of the three of my children together, without trying to be in it myself! You done good!

And learning how to switch heads in photoshop is a life saver. But I'll never fess up to it. :)

Suzanne said...

I tried that last year and it didn't work out so well for us. Your Pics look so cute, I bet you got quite the work out running back and forth. Do you have a remote for your camera? I know you can buy them for some camera's, then you can pose yourself and hit the snap button when everyone is ready.

Andrea said...

My favorite is the one with you in the blue shirt in front, because of the position of your arms. You look great, it just looks like you're trying to keep the kids from running away. :)

leslie the licorice stick lady said...

We seem to have the same problems taking pictures of ourselves. Dave did some pretty fancy rebuilding of my leg and splicing different Madelyn's together on our last photo in January last year! It's about time for another one, but this time, we may try to do it inside rather than have unhappy kids pretend to smile in a foot of snow with no coats!
Your pics are cute, and it's even more fun to see the attempts to make each one work, with and without success! Good job!

Kate said...

I love the picture of the kids together. It is very cute. I tried doing pictures of my family too and you will see when you get my Christmas card I have a lot more to learn than you. It is super hard to get good pictures with little kids that don't always want to smile. I thought they turned out pretty good considering.

carajean said...

I actually licked the cheese grease off my fingers from eating nacho's (home-made not so tasty nachos) to post this comment because you made me laugh so much. In the photo cluster, middle on the right side, you look like you are trying to hold everyone together...alas, just what mothers look like most of time.

I love the last picture. Savvy looks like the rough and tough younger sister to two brothers that she probably is becoming.

And yes, good things do take time.

Qait said...

I LOVE SAVVANA!!! You all look so fun. I hope you keep your "bloopers" somewhere besides the recycle bin because they really say a lot. A lot of good things, don't worry. ;) I love them.