September 10, 2012

1000 Words Down the Drain

Getting this picture involved thwacking
myself in the head with a shoe.  True story.
Recently, I attempted to photograph all three of my children.  Together.  At the same time.

Let me explain why I did this.  When the girls were one year old, we attempted to get their photos taken at a photo studio.  I scheduled it for mid-morning, when they were well rested, and even fed, and probably not likely to get grouchy.

We waited at the photo studio as the family before us went long.

And longer.  And longer.  And before long, it was past the girls' nap time, they were screaming for food, and then eventually passed out on my husband's lap.

Which meant that I had to wake them up, ten minutes into a much needed nap, to get them photographed.

SI barely stayed awake through the pictures.

And they were awful.  How bad?  Not one picture of SI smiling, only one of DD smiling, and that picture included SI slumped to the side, eyes half closed.

They looked like the worlds grouchiest, most exhausted babies.

Despite that, I bought some of the photos.  I couldn't bear to have spent THAT MUCH TIME getting pictures taken and then not use any of them.  Several ended up on our ironic family photo wall.

They are seriously bad.

So, M and I vowed never to go to a photo studio again.  So expensive.  So frustrating.  So pointless.

I am beginning to rethink that vow.

Now, I decided to photograph my children in mid-morning, again because they tend to be awake and cheerful and well fed, but also for the wonderful natural light.

And then I learned the Ten Things That Will Ruin a Family Photo.

1) The backdrop.  

I was planning on using this huge white tablecloth- the only tablecloth I have that covers the table with all the leaves in it.  Unfortunately, I accidentally put that tablecloth in my mother's "Passover Supply Box" after our epic dining room rearrangement seder project.  So no nice big white cloth.  So what to use instead?

I went with the lavender tablecloth.  Not as good a choice, as it has stains on it.  I would have to carefully arrange the children so that they hid the spots.  Either that, or pirate and learn to use photoshop.  Also, the tablecloth is *barely* wide enough to get all three children properly positioned... so... additional level of difficulty.

2) Injuries
Without fail, at least one child is going to have a visible wound.  Probably on their face.

DD started the day by slipping and banging her chin on her toy box.
Frankly, it was a miracle she didn't bite off her tongue.

3) The word "Smile"
This is not "smiling," I tried vainly to explain.  Look at mommy- see the teeth?  Smile with teeth!  Smile with your mouth open!  ...crap.

Which brings us to...

4) The word "Cheese"
Don't even try it...

5) Lack of props
How do they get small babies to stay sort of upright for photos?

Whatever it is, I don't have it.  And watching their baby sister fall into DD's lap over and over again caused DD and SI no small amount of un-photographable hilarity.  Fortunately, RH also enjoyed this part of her morning.

6) Children
At any given moment, at least one child will be utterly impossible to capture.  At many given moments, it will be all of them.

 6a) DD
She has an arsenal of photo destroying techniques...

The "escape artist"
The "I'm a Frog"
The "Face Eater"
 6b) SI
 SI has a similar yet separate array of techniques for ruining a photo.

The "West Side"
The "Up-Do"
The "Total Eclipse of the Sister"
6c) RH
For a baby, capable of very little in the way of intentional movement, she sure can make things difficult.

The "Collapsing Baby"
The "Too Cool for This Crap"
The "Dropped my iPhone"

7) Props
Yes, the ones you actually have.  Don't use them.  "Look at the puppet!"  Crap.  Again.

8) The Light
Your morning light will fade.  You will be forced to compensate.

And they will all smile in the pictures that are unsalvageable for light-related reasons.

9) Weather Conditions
This is a particularly big deal if, like my brood, you have curly hair.  As the sun moved higher (and away from our east facing windows), the humidity picked up as well.

It's not DD's fault that her hair takes more space than her baby sister.

10) The Photographer
Let's face it.  I am not very good at this.

 Despite all of that, I still managed a decent photo or two.

Next time, it's back to the photo studio.  I just don't have the patience for this kind of disaster.


  1. They're adorable, even if you can't get them all smiling in that one, perfect shot. Hehe, adorable post! You guys seem like a very happy family.

  2. Outside, candid pictures. It's fall, use leaves! lol I need to take my girls in for pictures again because it's been over a year since they last had pictures done. *sigh* I did do my older daughter's pictures outside one year because we simply did not have the money for studio pictures (not in South Korea!) not to mention, I was leaving Korea and wanted the pictures done before I left. She was 4 so we did get some good ones at least. They were outside and that helped so that may be the way to go. Just make sure to go to someone who knows how to work with kids that age and babies because we've had some BAD pictures in the past because of photographers not knowing what the heck they were doing.

  3. I love it! i try so hard to get pictures of my kids, but the toddler refuses to sit. And yes we go to a photographer, where my son decides the room is horrible and refuses to be in it, until of course we are done and they are trying to take pictures of other people. Then he only wants to be in that room. I have to wrangle both of them in again, by myself, on a weekday when its not so busy....Oy vey gives me a head ache just thinking about doing it

  4. Haha what a chaotic photo session :D But they all look so adorable!

    Reminds me of when I was little and my little brother would always always crawl away at the point the picture was taken. Escape artist on a gazillion pictures.

  5. I think you got some great pictures.

    I used to do the photo studio pictures too and I would go in with the lowest expectations possible.

    You should really look into finding a local photographer what will come to your home. Ask around, a lot of time you can find someone just starting out and they have cheaper prices. It's so much less stressful than the studio.

    Loved this post... I stopped over from Finding the Funny.

  6. I swore off of photo studios years ago for the same reasons. Home pictures are hard, but every so often I get a good one.

  7. You know what? These are truly the photos you are going to treasure. I remember going nuts one year to get my 5 y/o and 2 y/o to pose perfectly for the Christmas card. They are now 14 and 11. The photos I treasure the most are the "outtakes".

    But, Total Eclipse of the Sister ... BWAHAHA! Ellen



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