Family Pictures

We have never had a real family portrait made.  Not since the twins were born anyway.  Todd, Chace and I had some cheesy ones done while I was pregnant with the twins, but since then it’s been only snapshots here and there.  Hardly any of all 5 of us together either!  Last year, Spoiled Rotten Photography came to the preschool where I work to take pictures of the kids during the week.  She also had a Family Picture Day where families could sign up to be photographed as well.  When she brought in the proofs a couple of weeks after the sessions, I was blown away.  They were just beyond beautiful!  Melissa has a natural talent to put people at ease.  This ability to make your subjects comfortable is probably the most important trait of an amazing photographer.  She is able to take photographs with just the right touch of realism combined with gorgeous fantasy that produces the W-O-W factor!  Anyway, this year when we sent home info with the kids at preschool about the upcoming photo opportunity, I knew I wanted to get an appointment for us.

Today was the day for our session.  I carefully picked out coordinating clothes for everyone yesterday and had them all hanging up and ready today.  Todd ironed the pants and shirts for the boys, and everyone was ready to go by 10 til or so.  That is when things started to fall apart.  Caeden was playing with a highlighter that Lael’s friend had given her, when WHOOPS, {uh-oh Mom, I got highlighter on my shirt”}  His white shirt, of course it would be white, but what was I thinking??!?  Caeden can’t wear white for 2 minutes without getting it dirty.  I might have freaked, just a bit – you know what I mean, I had planned out the whole family wardrobe and now, Caeden’s white shirt had a big pink streak on it!!!  I might have yelled a little.  Anyone who knows Caeden knows that he doesn’t respond well to yelling. Todd went to Caeden’s closet and I went to the laundry room.  Todd found another white shirt, I found a Clorox bleach pen.  I used the pen on the mark – and presto!  it worked!  pink highlighter gone!!  yippee, picture saved.  Todd said, let’s just bring the extra one in case the bleach turns the shirt yellow or something.  I protested ‘it’s too small!’  He brought it anyway, {insert smooches to Todd here, his insistence truly did save the picture}

We arrived at the photo shoot exactly on time, which in itself is a miracle for the Anderson family.  They had already finished the family session before us, so we went right in.  I introduced everyone and as I looked at Lael, I noticed she had a smear of ketchup on her face, leftover remnants of a Chick-Fil-A lunch with a friend.  How lovely!  As I’m using a wet wipe they provided {thanks to Melissa for thinking of such things!}, I notice that Lael is wearing her glasses instead of her contacts.  I know how hard it is to photograph people in glasses, that glare is so annoying!  So, I wanted her in contacts.  Oh well, Melissa said she could work around them.

I turned to Caeden to try to flatten down that annoying double cowlick on the back of his head, which is a total lost cause by the way!  His hair was the least of our problems though, it was his shirt.  Instead of the pink highlighter mark, whited out by the bleach pen, we now had a purple streak.  Oh really?!?  I guess the bleach reacted with the highlighter ink and turned it purple.  Wow!  This is the part where Todd saved the picture.  He gave Caeden the other white shirt and he changed.  Whew!

When she started getting us into places to take the first family picture, she called Caeden over and that’s when I noticed his shoes.  Caeden is really hard on shoes.  This is a pair he got right before Christmas.  They are not cheap shoes, but he still manages to trash them.  This particular pair has a complete blow-out on the toe of his left foot.  I mean, a real blow-out, you can see almost the entire top of his foot!  Melissa suggested that he take them off and go barefoot.  Yes, yes, I think that’s a good idea!

Lael was next to get into position.  This is when Melissa notices an armband Lael has been wearing since we went to the zoo about two weeks ago.  It is kind of like temporary tatoos that kids get – they want to wear them as long as possible, long after whatever the tatoo originally was has washed off to the point that you have no idea what it might have been.  She has not wanted to take off the armband.  She didn’t want to take off the armband today.  Too bad!  I don’t want a family portrait with a grungy zoo armband clearly visible!  She tried to pull it off without messing it up.  It wasn’t working, Todd told her in no uncertain terms that it had to come off and started tugging at it, and it tore.  Waterworks started spewing followed closely by great big heaving sobs.  Really?  Over a zoo armband?!?  I told her to suck it up, we had a happy family portrait to get made!!!

At this point, Melissa gave us a bit of wisdom that was quite profound.  Are you ready for this?  Here it is:  No discipline on Picture Day!  I should also add to that, no harsh words, no dirty looks, no snide comments and above all don’t expect your children to wear white!  She then proceeded to shoo Todd, me and Chace out of the room, and decided to start with individual shots of Caeden.  She told Lael she needed her help to make Caeden laugh.  This was right up Lael’s alley, a helper!  Oh yes, she’s a great helper!  So, Melissa worked some more of her magic, got Lael to forget the armband and got some great shots of Caeden.

While we were out in the hall waiting, I look over at Chace.  He has been a gem through this whole thing.  He didn’t argue about the clothes I picked out for him.  He took Caeden with him this morning to get haircuts for them both.  He shaved off the beard he’s been working on for I don’t know how long and even most of the sideburns.  Not all of them, mind you.  I asked him about it and he said I did shave them.  Hmmmm, really?  then what is that 1.5″ patch of hair there on your cheeks?  Oh well, there are worse things than a teenager with sideburns!  What was bothering me was the grey undershirt he was wearing instead of a white one!  His shirt was white with blue pinstripes, and you could clearly see the grey underneath!

The last problem wasn’t really a problem at all, just a logistical problem of positioning.  We have 5 in our family, not huge but since Chace is 16 he is as big as both Todd and me.  So, the usual family formations weren’t working all that great.  She kept trying different places with different people and different directions.  Put your left arm behind her, sit cross-cross applesauce, no wait, get on your knees, everybody squish up close to each other, Dad sit up straighter, lean forward, lean over, peek over his shoulder, etc…….

Finally, we were done!  Whew, I think it went well after all the little problems.  I can’t wait to see the proofs!


2 thoughts on “Family Pictures”

Say what?