NO, of course I don't hate portrait photographers! But I want you to think outside the box with me for a few minutes. Imagine a world, where after hiring a photographer to take pictures of your family, all of the typical family picture stress is dismissed. Why?? Because this year, you decided to hire a photographer to tell your family's story, instead of only showcasing your beauty. While all pictures of your family are wonderful and should be treasured, the interactions that can be captured through documentary photography are priceless.
Here's my disclaimer: There is so much value in portrait photography, and I think it's beautiful. I love a nice picture of my family all smiling in a pretty field in pretty clothes with clean faces—In fact, I have some pictures like that hanging on my walls! But, I don't think that it's possible to tell a family's whole story that way. And that's where documentary/storytelling photography comes in.
So what are 3 reasons to forgo the stress of the dreaded family pictures this year and take a chance on something different??
#1) You don't have to go shopping, borrow from a friend, or spend hours scouring Pinterest to find matching outfits for your family.
When I come to photograph your family, I want to show what your everyday life looks like; and I'm going to guess that in your everyday life, you don't strive to coordinate your clothes with both your toddler *and* your husband. But then again, I may be wrong. :) Instead of wearing fancy matching clothes, I want you to be comfortable. I want to tell the story of *your* family, not the "Super-Fancy-We-Never-Really-Look-Like-This-Family." And if your husband is anything like mine, this reason alone may be enough to persuade him!
#2) Sometimes it's better to remember the real, rather than the pretty.
When your kids are grown, you are going to reminisce about the past and what your life was like when the kids were younger. Pictures are the perfect catalyst for that. Looking at nice portraits can make you smile; but they likely will not evoke memories about the details of your family when those pictures were taken. Imagine, years from now, being able to look through a printed album that tells the story of a day in the life of your family from 10 years before. No fanciness; just reality. "Honey, do you remember that Frozen sticker that you stuck right on the corner of your bed?? We never got it all the way off!" or "You always sucked on those two fingers every time you were scared," or "I forgot that we used to sit in that chair and read. For two weeks straight you wanted us to read that same story!" Life doesn't always look pretty, at least in my house, and as nice as it is to dress up together and smile, it's also fun to look back and remember what life was really like.
#3) No one has to look at the camera, smile, OR say "cheese!!"
What happens when a photographer points a camera at a family and tries to get that perfect portrait? Usually some people become grumpy; some people start worrying about their hair or about their child (or about their husband) smiling the "right way;" and some become stiff and produce a robotic grimace. Of course, there are always quite a few talented moms who can smile beautifully while either bribing or threatening their family through their teeth. :) Why don't you try skipping that stress this year? Instead I will let you do your thing in your house or somewhere special to your family, and I'll capture how you interact naturally with each other. Again, being natural and comfortable are the best ways to tell your true story. And as much as it might kill you, just fight the urge to look at the camera and whisper "EVERYONE SMILE!" to your family. ;)
Yes, I think there are more than 3 reasons to choose this fun, new way to showcase your family; but hopefully these ideas will help you to see a few of the upsides to choosing hanging out with your family over stressing them out when it comes to family pictures.