Is it just me or have family photo shoots become more and more prolific over the past few years? Perhaps it's the advent of social media that makes it seem like every family is on this particular bandwagon. I don't remember the family photo shoot being such a thing when I was growing up, which isn't too bad since, honestly, there are more than a few reasons why family portraits are the absolute worst.
Since becoming a mom and having my own family, I have quite envied the softly lit, casual intimacy of a well-staged shoot. The slice of life forever framing frozen familial bliss is always totally accurate, right? (Hint: not even a little bit.) However, our financial situation never lent itself to making a family portrait a priority. So it was with something resembling glee that I volunteered our family for my photographer friend's study on family portraiture last year. That, my friends, is when I discovered the undeniable fact that family portraits, while adorable in their own right, just suck.
Now don't get me wrong, my family is beautiful, if I do say so myself. My partner and I met while working in film and theater, so we know how to put on a good looking show. "We will be totally great at this," I said to myself, pointedly ignoring the heavy sighs and exaggerated eye rolls from said partner. I approached the day with excited anticipation and when it was all over, I ended up with the following list of reasons why family portraits are a horrible hellscape from which there is no escape.
Because There's So Much Sweat Involved
You're all sweaty. All of you. All the time.
Is it the running around after your kids who won't sit still? Is it the anxiety that your oldest is going to have a tantrum if the photographer tells her to "smile with your teeth" one more time? Is it the fact that you're seven months pregnant and even your partner is starting to act like a child?
Yes. Yes to all of it.
Because Suddenly Your Children Don't Want To Play
They want to get action shots, those photographers. They want to get adorable shots of your family playing together to treasure for all eternity. All of a sudden, however, your children have decided they do not believe in play. And so they sit, calmly and unsmiling, probably for the fist time in their entire freakin' lives.
Because Your Partner Hates Getting Their Picture Taken
Seriously. More than anything, my partner hates getting his picture taken. He said, "Really, Reaca? We're really going to do this?" Big sigh.
We had to sneak shots. However, if I'm honest? I think he got into it. After all, he changed his clothes three times.
Because Your Children Hate You
Or at least that's what it feels like when they're telling the photographer they hate you.
"I hate this! Why are you making me do this? It's so stupid!"
Because Inevitably Something Major Changes About Your Family And You Have To Do This All Over Again
I was seven months pregnant during this photo shoot. Can you imagine if we don't get another family photo done now that the Littlest is here? They'll grow up and we'll never hear the end of it!
(I know this because I'm a last child. There are no pictures of me. Thanks, Mom.)
Because You'll Remember That Day Forever
We actually got some pretty great pictures out of it. And, honestly, I absolutely love spending time with our phenomenal photographer friend.
However, I will always remember why Lily's smile was so forced that day. She projectile vomited the very next day. Everywhere. It was the most vomit I've ever seen.
(Spoiler: I have major mom guilt from all the times I thought she was just pouting at the photo shoot. The poor girl was sick!)
Because You'll Want To Do It All Over Again
But the most important reason why family pictures suck? Going through all these photos really, really makes me want to do it again.