Over the past several years, I have tried to book a family photo shoot at least once, sometimes twice a year. Getting my family coordinated, on a day when there are no other activities, and when everyone is cheerful and the weather is cooperating, can be a challenge. Despite my intentions, sometimes it just doesn’t work out and then I realize that another year has passed us by. Of course, I can always look at the pictures on my phone and find lots of snaps of my kids, my dog, a few of my husband, and some silly selfies, but usually nothing of the family all together. Looking back at years past, I didn’t make family photos a priority, and now I completely regret it.
When my girls were toddlers and then small kids, we did maybe one or two family photo sessions. Money was tight and there were always more pressing priorities. We often pushed it off, thinking that we would get to it the following Christmas, or on our next vacation. But since it wasn’t planned, the time often slipped by. Back then, being a new mom, I didn’t always feel great about how I looked a lot of the time, and so I avoided photo sessions until I could lose a few more kilograms. Now, I wish I had captured some of those joyous moments with my family that are now long gone. Even though I had taken many of my own photos, since digital was still a new phenomenon, I lost more photos than I saved.
Booking a session with a photographer still seems indulgent. We often have other more pressing expenses, and arguably, with cameras on our phones, we are capturing more photos than ever before. But nothing beats a photographer capturing the entire family when we have nothing more to focus on other than ourselves, our laughter and having some fun together. When I look back at some of our family photo sessions, I can remember the jokes we told, and exactly what our family dynamic was at that moment in time. And while I usually cringe when I first get the proofs back, once I allow myself some time, they are usually not as bad as I first thought. When I look back at all of the photo sessions of my family in younger days, all I can see is a happy family, and not the few extra pounds, or the wrinkles I thought I had.
My kids love having family photos to look back on—especially the ones with their mom in the photo too.