I take bad photos.

There. I said it.

Last month I was invited to take photos of some local soccer families. One of the moms reluctantly stepped in front of my camera and professed that she never looks good in photos. In an effort to console her, I replied, “I don’t take bad photos”. As soon as those words came out I wanted to catch them and shove them back in my mouth, or burn them, or stomp the crap out of them. I hated how untrue they were and how conceited they sounded. I’m here to set the record straight. I take bad photos. All the time. It’s true.

Sometimes it’s a lighting issue, sometimes it’s a bad pose, sometimes it’s a technical issue, sometimes it’s the subject, sometimes it’s a idea that was cute in my head…but weird in real life. There are a multitude of variables that can make a photo turn out wonky. I study and try very hard to minimize those variables, but despite my best efforts, they still happen.

This is where I make those I love, the sacrificial lambs. Turn away if you must.

Image(I’m posting completely unedited photos – which I never do. It’s a little like walking outside naked. I shoot in RAW, which renders images flat and sort of grayish. If you shoot in RAW, you are required to edit. Period.)

Back to the photo. My oldest daughter Amelle. She’s gorgeous in real life, but this photo doesn’t exactly highlight her natural beauty.  You see the idea…but it wasn’t working.  Clearly.

However, I do keep this photo on my phone so we can giggle at it. I’m good like that.

ImageOh sweet Molly. This is Amelle’s BFF. I love this girl like crazy. We tried to make it work. Three times. Two moms yelling various directions, “eyes open”, “blow loosely”, “hands lower”, “face higher”. Generally the more moms you throw at a problem, the greater likelihood of success. But not here.

Photo not working. I keep this one on my phone too. It’s how I keep them in check.

ImageThen the little one took a turn. And it worked. Somehow. Someway. Same set up, same lighting, same camera settings, same 3 minutes as the previous tries. Same crazed mamas yelling helpful tips. It just worked. Unexplainably.

So I edit this one.

ImageAnd then I fall in love with it. And I get prints made and I give them to grandmas and hang them in the house. And I forget the other 168 frames ever happened.

..and because I can’t let Amelle and Molly go out like that, I feel compelled to show you some shots of theirs that did work. Because they are gorgeous and they rocked this pose:

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And this pose:

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Rocked them like nobody’s bidness. Actually.

Our Family Photo Shoot – Part II

Talk about a dramatic pause.

It’s been almost a year since I posted part I of our Family Photo Shoot saga. I figured I’d return to let you all know that we, in fact, survived.  I see that no one sent a search party out for looking for me when I went missing, but hey..I’m not taking it personal.

Whatever haters.

We did actually survive. Amaya did end up in the emergency room getting her earring back removed, but then again, what do you care, it’s not like you were calling the local hospitals to see if I were there..ahem.

I’m moving on now.

The shoot was actually super fun. I loved the experience of getting photographed as a family. It gave me a new appreciation of why people hire me to take their family pictures. It’s an awesome, bonding, family experience. Even my hubs agreed that it was a good time.

But the best part was yet to come.  The actual photographs.  As soon as I got home I uploaded the pics of Megs’ family and we immediately began texting each other screen shots of each others families with unbridled excitement. We were thrilled for ourselves and for each other. I’m convinced that the level of photo-bliss experienced that evening, can only be shared by two photographers.

A year later, the photos from that day adorn our home, my facebook avatar, screensavers, my hub’s iphone wallpaper, his workplace bulletin board, our Christmas card, our sponsor son’s orphanage wall. They are the gift that keeps on giving.

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Next to my desk, I have a 16″x24″ Canvas. Note that one out of six of us is looking directly at the camera (and she’s not suppose to be). No one is smiling. No one is saying cheese. It’s my favorite photograph (of my family) ever.

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On my desk – a 4×6. We are playing nice nice in this one.

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…and to round out my desk, on the right, an 11×14 print of the kids. I am literally surrounded by images from this photo shoot all day. erry day.

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In the living room – a 4×6 B&W of the two lovebirds who started it all. I think it’s good for the kids to see pics of their parents being a couple. I’m weird like that. I haven’t observed any of them using this particular image as their wallpaper on their ipads/pods – but that’s cool. The paper version on the coffee table works. I’m hitting them with it old school style, like BAM. In yo face.

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The upstairs hallway needed some love, so I hung an 11×14 print there. There is motion in this shot – we are giggling, Avery is acting silly. It’s us, yet slightly dignified.
Blog-6..and then there are the prints – the ones given to grandparents that are proudly displayed in their homes. The ones sent into school when a project calls for “a family picture”, the ones I keep tucked away for the memory books.

Megs and I have been talking about doing another shoot for the last 10 months – we so intended to do spring pictures, summer pictures, fall pictures.  But alas, here we are back in November, looking for dates on our crazy calendars.

Step one: procrastination. Complete.