It happened. Last year was the first year our family skipped on family photos. Sure, I take lots of pictures, but not nearly as many as you would think. You know how I kinda go silent on here when things get crazy? It’s the same with my camera in our home and in our lives. I don’t pick the camera up nearly as much…not even the one on my phone. I thought it would be okay to skip just one year. It had been a bit of “a year”…you know the ones. Sure, I suppose it’s okay, but when I think about that year, I overwhelmingly feel the sadness. I have very little to look back at to remember the joy with. Now, I would think it was simply because of the kind of year it was. However, I remember how hard the first year of becoming a momma was, but when I look back at photos and see the things we did…the way we loved one another…and the way we were seen through our photographers eyes…I remember all the joy so so deeply. Now, I feel so passionately that I want it all captured. The good, the bad, and the beautiful. It doesn’t have to be a big full session every year. But, here are the reasons why I truly believe we should all invest in family photos every single year when at all possible…
1. Because your family’s love story…the way you love…won’t look the same in ten years…or next year.
Seriously…how many times do you say “it all goes by so fast”? I know I find myself saying it at least once a week. It actually drives me a little crazy. The thing is though, it DOES all go by so fast. We never know when it’s going to be the last time they ask for a snuggle or ask us to lay down with them or when that little gap in their teeth will be gone or when they’ll stop wearing crazy mix matched socks or when their hair will no longer be curly or…well…you get the picture. It doesn’t just change every three or four years. It changes every single year…right before our eyes…sometimes without us even realizing it.
2. The experience…taking time out of our day to day schedules to celebrate & love our family.
Let me first speak to you about the way a photo session can be. Imagine your family hasn’t had a rushed day. You have been calm and laid back about what everyone is going to wear. The kids know they are going to play with a dear friend that will also be taking their pictures. You’ve written little notes or just thought of what you love most about each of your family members. You’ve planned a little outing as a fun experience after the session. Your kiddos are rested and fed. You arrive to the session (or better yet…the photographer arrives to you) and you just take the time to enjoy your family…as they are. Calm…chaotic…wild…snuggly…and whatever else they may be. You tell each person in the family how they are loved. You snuggle with them as you normally would. You smile and laugh at the things you are anxious about. You just go with it. It’s a celebration of your family…as you are…on that day in time. Recently a friend was hiring me to do their photos for the first time and they said “well, I hope they behave better for you than they have our last photographer”. Honestly, that made me so sad for them and for our industry, but I know the feeling oh so well. Sometimes, the experience isn’t as great as you’d like, but what if that’s not the way it has to be. What if there’s another way? What if we could all take a deep breath and let them just be. Don’t stress over what to wear and run around hectic the day of the session.
3. Tangible proof of the joy & love of their childhood & the way they were always loved.
I’m going to admit something to you. I have photos all over my walls…of when Steff was a baby and toddler, but barely any of recently. Gosh…how life gets away from us. Even worse, I have an album full of my time pregnant and his first few months, but none of the years since. You know what he thinks? He thinks we were happier when he had curly hair because there aren’t pictures on the wall of all that joy from the years after! Geeze Louise, kid. Make a momma feel bad. The thing is, those years, the “curly hair years”, had just as many ups and downs as the years after. But he is surrounded by prints of him laughing with curly hair…us snuggled up with his curly hair. When we are right in the middle of the messes of today, it can be hard to remember how happy we really are. But if we surround ourselves with proof of that joy, it makes it just a little easier.
4. To see our family & ourselves through someone else’s eyes…to see the beauty in it all…especially when we have a hard time seeing it.
This can literally be life changing. To see ourselves as beautiful when we aren’t feeling so. To see our family as joyful when we are so surrounded by the chaos of every day. When we are covered in the muck of anxiety…depression…fear…comparison…goals of perfection…it can blind us to what’s really there. But when you can see yourself and your family through someone else’s eyes and see all that beauty…you are reminded that it is always all around you.
5. The one worthy investment to pass down for generations to remember our past, tell our story…hold on to our legacy.
I remember so clearly the days sitting at the foot of my Mommy’s bed and looking through her old trunk filled with pictures and other keepsakes from our family. I remember holding these old, wrinkled, black and white photos in my hand and seeing how happy they all were. They grew up in poverty, but they were happy. They were beautiful. I connected with the way my nose looked just like all of my aunts. My forehead, like my Grandpa Boone’s. There is not one thing you can pass down that can tell your love story, can hold your legacy, like photographs can. Not the car or the furniture or even the other keepsakes.