Every year when it’s time for family pictures, I’m always scrambling to get my tribe out the door on time. No matter how much I plan ahead, we seem to cut it close every single year.
That’s because my kids complain about their mom-styled outfits, protesting that they don’t match or grumbling that they aren’t sportswear. They complain about getting their hair combed, styled, and gelled. They complain about wearing fancy shoes instead of athletic sneakers. They complain about the thought of smiling and posing for 30 minutes straight.
And as you can imagine, I complain about their complaining. I fuss at my boys for wrestling in their clean, crisp clothes. I gripe at my daughter for pulling out the colorful markers after she puts on her coordinating outfit. I quickly snatch away the messy snack from my preschooler before he sneaks it into the car on the way to the photoshoot.
But to avoid being labeled a mean mom or control freak, I take a few deep breaths and calm my hectic tempo on the car ride to the shoot. Then, I shrewdly (yet sweetly) bribe my kids with the promises of a treat once the photo shoot is over—given they fully cooperate with the photographer, of course.
And doubtlessly due to all the above-mentioned drama, my husband vows this is the last year he’s agreeing to family pictures . . . every single year. Yet every single year, I con him into doing the whole crazy parade all over again.
So why do I put my family through this year after year?
That’s because family pictures really do matter to moms.
As moms, we know that family pictures are never perfect, thanks to:
- The child who refuses the photographer’s cues.
- The squinty-eyed smiles from the glare of the sun.
- The toddler who won’t let go of mama’s leg.
- The child who can’t stop bouncing.
- The frozen-face cheeses on repeat.
- The always drooling, sometimes crying baby.
- The pesky ants that keep crawling up your legs.
But a good photographer can turn the candid, imperfect moments into glimpses of treasured unfiltered life.
I don’t book family pictures every year so I can look at my perfectly posed family.
I get family pictures so I can freeze this little moment in time—so I can look back at our lives as a family during that season.
I book family pictures so that the photos will trigger memories—the heartwarming and the challenging—of a full house and a full life with four kids.
I will never forget the hard moments of parenting my crew through each season, but I want to remember these moments of us gathered together . . . united.
Families may look different for everyone, but I can tell you one thing all families have in common: families are the sum of more than one. Whether you’re part of a large family or a small family, we’re all better together.
So book the family pictures. Relive the memories. Compare the growth and change from year to year. But above all, keep supporting the family unit—for the solidarity of your own family and generations to come.
Check out one of Atlanta Mom’s favorite local photographers, who shoots everything from modern headshots to memorable maternity pictures to precious family photos: Stepping in Front of the Camera with Katya.