Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Professional Pictures

One thing I try to be proactive about is taking lots of pictures of the family. Including some photos where I'm actually in the picture, too. Mothers don't seem to make it into a lot of kid pictures these days, which is a shame. (Yes, I can understand the most likely reasons.) But, as DH and I both wish we had more photos of our mothers and grandmothers in their prime, I make sure we often put ourselves in the picture... and hold our chins up, and then photoshop out our acne and eye crinkles.

When I was pregnant with my first child, we bought one of those fancy-schmancy SLR digital cameras. It pretty much does all the work for us, and I love it. As long as we have it on one of the correct automatic settings for the given light conditions (i.e. set on the mountain or flower icon when we're outdoors, etc) it takes great pictures.

My stumbling block is how to stay on top of organizing all of these fantastic family photos. (BTW, this is one chore DH definitely ain't doing, and I can't say I blame him. He does all the grocery shopping and cooking, so I don't feel any major inequity.) Anyway, I know we need to print hard copies of the photos we want to save lest a computer malfunction cause us to lose everything - so I do that, and now have a crapload of 4x6's that probably need to go into books.

I'm also a big fan of occasionally getting professional photographs taken. "Natural light photography" and "photojournalistic-style photography" describes the style that I really like. The pictures have a timeless quality. However, I've noticed that members of the older generations in our family definitely prefer the traditional, posed photographs taken in a studio with the subjects sitting in front of a solid-color muslin panel or plain white background. And, if you head to a big box store, they are much cheaper to come by. So we do both. The photos hanging in frames at our house and in our offices are all the photojournalistic-style ones, and the photos hanging in frames at my parents' house and in their offices are all the traditional, posed ones. Go figure.

How are you photographing your family these days? Do you have a handle on saving photographs for posterity?

9 comments:

NK: Style-ING w/ Children said...

funny thing, I'm scheduling a photo session right now for Baby C's 2nd b-day. Even got her a cute dress for the occasion. I abhor (that's more than hate, right?) traditional sit and stare like a zombie photos. Of course my mother loves them. So I compromise and promise that we will dress up, but I don't promise that we will all be sitting and staring at the camera.

I take a ton of pictures with my iphone. It's always with me and super convenient, AND discrete!!! I hate taking out a huge camera or carrying it around with me.

NK: Style-ING w/ Children said...

funny thing, I'm scheduling a photo session right now for Baby C's 2nd b-day. Even got her a cute dress for the occasion. I abhor (that's more than hate, right?) traditional sit and stare like a zombie photos. Of course my mother loves them. So I compromise and promise that we will dress up, but I don't promise that we will all be sitting and staring at the camera.

I take a ton of pictures with my iphone. It's always with me and super convenient, AND discrete!!! I hate taking out a huge camera or carrying it around with me.

Cloud said...

We almost never do professional photos. We did the ones on offer at day care last year, and that turned out well, though.

And we have a bazillion digital photos we've taken. They are all organized online in our own private website. Because we're geeks.

Back when Pumpkin was first born, I thought I'd do a scrapbook with a page for each year. That has NOT materialized. Maybe it will be my empty nest project when the kids go off to college....

mom2boy said...

Oodles of camera phone pics on my computer in no good order. I had a Flickr site when he was a baby but stopped updating it long ago. I print photos in bunches every now and then, so I have piles of unorganized random photos around somewhere. I have decided to make more of an effort to get myself into pictures with him. 90% are probably just him. I hate pictures of myself but I'm also quite sure that my 70 year old self (should I live that long) would be most disappointed with my 35 year old self's vanity and lost moments that could have been captured on film. Gifts of Tate photos are just regular shots, no professional ones yet.
Except Tate sat for his class photo unbeknownst to me - so no special outfit or extra attention to combing his hair on my part. The photo is hilarious! I even bought it on a coffee mug I love it so much.

Parisienne Mais Presque said...

We've been assembling hardcover photo books on the computer and having them printed up, and I love them. I hate dealing with individually printed photos now, although I still do for Mademoiselle's (still -- ahem -- out-of-date) baby book. I'm about two vacations behind on the photo books, alas, but I'll get to it eventually. Right?

My husband also has one of those SLR cameras, and I love the results. He's the camera nut, though, so he's usually the one who isn't in any of the pictures, while there are a ton of pictures of me (usually with a stupid grin).

I'd love to get professional portraits done with the kids, and I'd also like to do something natural light/outdoors. Haven't had the time to think about it yet, though.

Zenmoo said...

I really need to get my shit together in two ways - first, I need to do Moo a family album. She has ten aunts & uncles, plus some of them have partners, four grand parents, several closely involved great aunts & 2 great-grandmothers, and masses of cousins we see on a regular basis... A few family photos will help keep everyone straight I think. Especially all the NZ'ers, who she doesn't see that often.

The other thing I want to organize are all the 30sec video clips I take on my phone and email to her grandparents in NZ. I started doing them when she was about 4 months & I like to look back at them because more than photos, they remind me how she changes & how her personality has been expressed - right from the start.

With professional photos, I'll get my cousin to do a proper shoot later in the year. She specializes in kids & dogs in a very natural style. She did take some when Moo was just born & when she was about four months - but I need to get organized to get prints. (other than the calendar my cousin gave my mother last christmas)

Claudia said...

I keep photos on shutterfly, and have ordered prints in huge batches occasionally, then organize/distribute them myself. I'm probably 3 years behind on this right now...
As for getting everyone (MOM!) in the pictures, I think it's super important, vanity be damned. I'm currently getting in touch with all sorts of relatives and getting as much info as I can on my mom, who died when I was 22 months old. I just got a photo in an email from a relative, and it's the only one I've ever seen with my mom, dad brother and me all together. So nice!
There's a piece that David Sedaris did, where they found a super short bit of home movie that their mother was in. She was doing her best to hide and get away from the camera, but since it was the only clip they had with her and her voice, they watched it and said, "play it again" over and over. No one else cares how you look. They care that it's you.

the milliner said...

You described almost exactly what we do, with only two exceptions. I haven't printed out any of our photos that we take. And we don't do the traditional photos.

I've been slowly working on a Blurb book of DS. I'd like to do 1 per year. I'm still working on the one for his first year. He's about to turn three. No, I am not fast. It's almost done, and really I just have to push through to the end.

We've done two professional shoots so far and I've loved the results both times. I feel like we made a good investment both times. We like exactly the photography style you describe. These are the only photos we have printed so far, and have up in the house. When we are ordering prints (or get a CD from the photographer) we take the grandparents' orders too or make them a copy of the CD. Otherwise, I e-mail our shots (mostly candid ones from my phone) to the gp's and their digital frames.

We usually order a print of DS' from the daycare session so that we can get the class photo as well. I want him to have that to look back on. Even if he won't remember it. I always don't like the individual photos. I just find that they don't really capture his personality. And I guess it's so much hussle and bussle that no-one seems to notice that he has what we call 'hitler hair' (flat hair, part in the middle, pasted to his head) in the photo, so, you know, not great.

Just pulled out the SLR for DS' birthday party on the weekend and I forgot how much I love it. Such great shots. I used to do 'photo sessions' with DS at home when he was little and I was on mat leave, mostly for something to do. But I ended up getting so many great shots. Which is probably why it's taking me so long to do the book. Too many pictures to wade through.

But, our photo storage/organization is becoming a bit of an albatross. I hate managing it. Both DH and I keep copies of most things and we have some on hard external drives. But we're not totally covered for security (i.e. in case of fire, etc.). Ah, one more thing on the to do list.

Since reading comments on Ask Moxie a while back about making sure to get yourself in the shot, I've been making a concerted effort to do so. And, as @mom2boy says:

"I'm also quite sure that my 70 year old self (should I live that long) would be most disappointed with my [41] year old self's vanity and lost moments that could have been captured on film."

the milliner said...

Oh, and on the subject of family photography, this totally made me want to organize a professional photo-journalistic style shoot with my parents. If you check this out, be prepared to cry. Just warning you ;). Very touching.

http://www.dayswithmyfather.com/