the futility of the family photo

07 August 2014

You thought you'd get away with just one family vacation/reunion post?

While I appreciate your optimism + rosy outlook on life the answer is a cackle and a no.

My brother Andrew has the patience of an army of saints and took well over 40 photos of the Patton clan over the weekend and here were the results of his sweat, toil, and tears ...


Sebastian and Julia and their twin temperaments. We have 15+ photos here but Sebastian kept bolting so we moved shoot locations ...


It pleased the runner. And Phoebe.


 Phoebe has a 38 picture limit. We pushed her though.


And she pushed back.

But! Miracle of miracles .... this one isn't terrible.


Right?

All you families with the cutest candids and smiley snaps, how do you DO it? We are missing a key ingredient here.

My family kept saying how much Theo and Bash look alike but .... I just don't see it.

Godspeed to all you family photographers out there in the wild. I hope you go buy yourself a monstrosity of a trophy after every shoot and have a massive trophy room to enjoy while you heavily edit cantankerous two year olds and protesting babies.

I told Simon that maybe we should spring for professional family photos for our anniversary this month but now I'm thinking that we should wait a year or twenty.

Happy Thursday.

59 comments:

  1. I actually was just getting ready to say "Wow, Theo is really starting to look like Bash!" when I read the line about your family thinking so, too.

    Love that last picture. And all the ones before it. Family picture day stresses me out more than about anything!

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  2. I, personally, like the first one :) the photos with people upset or looking crazy are a lot more fun 10, 20 years later :) My in-laws have a 16x20 in their hallway in which my husband is throwing a major fit and his dad is pissed, smiling but pissed. It is hilarious!

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    1. HA! I love it! My grandma has one with my mom super angry about having rounded toe saddle shoes vs. pointy toe ones like her older sister. So classic. Poor Bash hates photos and will be remembered as the angriest toddler :)

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    2. Agreed. ALL of these are really fun. Maybe not so fun for you to live through but definitely fun to view! You sure have a group of little cuties!

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  3. the last pic looks amazing! I am super impressed. we can't even get a good one with our one 7 month old! As for Theo looking like Bash...i don't think they're that similar. Theo just got skinny and so grown up!

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  4. Family photographers are magicians. That and... bribery. My mother-in-law's 60th birthday meant 24 of us (11 grandchildren under 8 years old) in one photo. Everyone is facing the camera and not crying. Not all smiling, but hey - not crying! That's a win. The six of you can totally do it with the help of a magician/photographer.

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  5. My family just started getting good photos and the baby is heading to college. Our favorite photos, though, are from the years where my brother is being physically restrained from running away. There are many.

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  6. Oh my! And then on the exact same day, one of my favorite bloggers posts about how her friend the photographer is a magician who got all her six kids to look amazing in one photo - including the one year old twins. You can do this! http://amongstlovelythings.com/august-daybook/

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    1. those are so gorgeous! You're right - magician!!!!

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  7. We also have four kids and there is no family of 6 photo in existence yet. I mean, they exist, but I'm yelling at my children to smile in most, so I keep them private for posterity.

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  8. When in doubt, the one Mom looks best in is the keeper.

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  9. The last one is great-- definitely a framer! :)

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  10. Haha! I love this! Seriously, your blog cracks me up. So I read it out loud to my husband. Who also cracks up. Thanks for your honest, hilarious take on life!! :)

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  11. Yeah. I'm with you. The only picture of our family of 5 we have where everyone is smiling is one in which we are holding HUGE cups of frozen yogurt in front of the children...as in the frozen yogurt is in the picture with us! For our last actual family photo session that I attempted to DIY, I never got one with everyone smiling (no surprise!) so I just picmonkey-ed the heck out of them and VOILA rosy & adorable...well kinda:)

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  12. Bribe with Smarties. Our family pics after church on Christmas and Easter are generally not fantastic. I took some pics of the girls for Fathers Day last year and I had Smarties sitting in the grass so the 15 month old was happily picking them up, popping them in her mouth and smiling. They aren't messy and super disguiseable. This is what happens when you don't bribe (at least in our house)

    http://www.ourabclife.com/2012/12/real-life-christmas-cards.html

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  13. I only have to wrangle one kid, and our family photos look like this, haha :)

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  14. I love it!!! I think Bash favors Simon and Theo favors you in the looks dept :)

    P.S. We're on day 4 of night float and I have gained a whole new respect for you and all the other residents' wives!

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  15. It really cracks me up that Simon has sunglasses on his head! :) I love the photos though!!! You all look great!

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  16. Ah, Grace. You have been on my heart a lot lately .. with the upcoming moves (you and Kate), summer and memories of camp with Anne, the recent FUS news ... so many tugs for prayer - you and Simon and kiddos are always included. God Bless!

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  17. It's virtually impossible. I have one who refuses to smile and one who does a "fake" smile that looks awful. Even though they are older - still impossible. However, I echo one poster above on the professional person - we had some done a few years back (I threatened the kids with painful death AND I told them it was their Mother's Day present to me to cooperate). We did it outside and had someone who did this for a living, and we actually got some good ones. I also recommend finding an actual person - not a stock photographer at a store or a picture place in the mall - but someone personal, recommended by other people. They really know how to get something good from the kids.

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  18. Grace, I love it .Our kiddos are all grown up and I just have to laugh when I read your blog. This to you will miss one day..

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  19. I. DIE. hahaha. The pre-crying-frowny-face is one of my FAVE things in the whole wide world. Does that make me a bad person? lol! My baby is 10wks old (also a member of the big girls club) and I cant help but laugh hysterically when she makes the face. Bash & Phoebe look like pros ;)

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  20. Uh, I was just thinking that maybe we should get our family pictures taken this fall, but after your post and staring at my completely crazy, physically impossible to pin down, instigator of a two year old...maybe we'll wait a smidge.

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  21. Your family is adorable and that last picture is a winner but seriously the previous pics are so, so great.....like the first one, Bash's face...I die!!!

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  22. Haha I love these. They remind me of some of our family photos growing up. For some reason, I always had to hold the drooly baby, and I NEVER looked happy about it.

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  23. Julia is unfazed and just straight cheesin' all the live long day -- I love it!

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  24. I love it! Bash's face is priceless. Definitely a keeper.
    We finally sprung for professional family pictures this summer, and after an hour of shooting our photographer (a good friend) decided we should "retry" the next week. I was only slightly mortified.

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  25. You know where to find a photographer when you need one!

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  26. I completely agree! Getting a good family picture is a struggle... Somebody's always crying or wanting to run! But that last one is a keeper for sure!

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  27. Despite not being "perfect", these are all so lovely in a very authentic way.

    These kind of remind me of the yearly photos with my nine cousins... our ages range between 12 and 28 now, but we still can't seem to get one that is picture perfect. It guess wouldn't be a real family photo if it were though and I always have a good laugh when I do revisit old cousins shots and it takes me right back to how all my relatives actually are.
    -E

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  28. i agree about the candids, they're the best shots!

    http://semiweeklyeats.blogspot.com/2014/08/favorite-snack-revisited.html

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  29. i'd say theo and julia look alike!

    last year we did family photos with my husband's family. our then 1 year old had to be "that child" and kept running away (in his defense, taking an active toddler to a park and telling him not to run around holds no logic). we tried to get a photo of all the grandkids; there's literally a photo of me chasing my son in the background while the other kids portray the epitome of adorable.

    now we just bribe my son with the promise of food. sometimes it works, other times... yeah.

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  30. Theo looks SO MUCH like you in this pictures.

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  31. I think Julia and Bash look alike and both like Simon. I love the last picture. With all of them being so small, it's pretty great! I agree, family photographers are troopers.

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  32. Take 50 keep 1 that's how it goes right? At least that is how is it in this family. But I love the one that you got, definitely a framer!!

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  33. We took pics of all the gkids for my parentals when the youngest was 6 months and the oldest was 12. Best trick ever was that the girl at the mall photo shop (it's initials are PP) had this mega-long colored duster that she'd tickle kids with from behind the camera. So genius we kept going back for our daughter since she was an unpredictable emotion-coaster. Feather dusters: multi-use?

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  34. Bahahaha. You crack me up. The last picture is perfect. The rest is the epitome of your beautiful, yet hectic family with four kids. I love it!

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  35. It gets easier, I promise! I was a pro family photographer and the magic is in head swapping in Photoshop! HAHA! It's usually a straight up miracle to get a good family shot right out of the camera. I do love the less than perfect shots where the kids are just being kids...it's good to look back on and show them when they're grown: "See what I had to work with!! LOL!" Anywho, these are all really sweet, Grace!

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  36. Love all of them. The ones leading up to that absolutely sweet family picture are pretty much how ours turn out. There tend to be lots of backs of the heads of my toddlers and funny pop-eye/half wink smiles. I hope you frame the last one, or all of them because that's just fun and real. Glad you shared! You're amazing! Also, I love how Julia is so great in front of the camera! Smiles for days! And, I don't see it with Bash and Theo either. :)

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  37. Oh the pictures I could show you my friend! Oy Vey! I love the last one. Totally framable. Totally!

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  38. Great pic! I totally thought the marker picture was Bash! They do look alike!
    Also, I think Pheobe's cheeks are as wide as your waistline. (that means you look great :) )

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  39. You need to slip them a little bit of whatever Kathryn Whitaker's been giving her kids before photos because I stayed at her house for Edel and every single one of her family photos (there were multiples) were full of 6 (SIX!) bright kid smiles. Even the infant was smiling and she ain't got no teeth.

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  40. I love the less-than-perfect ones. We have one too from growing up, when my then-pre-teen brother refused to smile. He was so embarrassed by that picture that he always smiled nicely from then on. For us now (six little boys under age ten) I just hope everyone's looking at the camera. We make it as quick and painless as possible (which is neither quick nor painless, no matter what) and hope anyone who sees the pics just remembers what we have to work with. That last one is great!

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  41. Suckers! I give a few licks then take it away and say she can't have it back until she smiles. (mean? whatev.) Mom and Dad look forward the ENTIRE time and keep smiling. That usually lands us one pretty decent one out of about 50.

    I think the last one is great! And no, the boys do not look alike. But both sure are cute.

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    1. Yep, the key to a halfway decent family photo. Bribery. And, the adults are always ready, looking up with a smile. So, on the off chance that all the kids look up and smile at the same time you get the perfect shot!

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  42. I wish you could see the pic I took of my two girls the other day. It's on my Facebook page. Tried to get the big one (3 1/2) and the little one (2 mo) to take a pic together in their matching outfits. One is screaming and the other is holding her ears in response. Perfection. Never did get a decent one, but I'll take the real life photos any day because I'm sure I will look back on them fondly one day. Lol!

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  43. haha, love it! Sebastian's look in the first photo is beyond priceless. And you'll never regret having family photos taken!! EVEN if not necessarily eeeveryone has their biggest smile going. ;) As a family photographer, though, I definitely have combined multiple pictures into one composite in order to get smiles on everyone's faces, LOL. I try my best not to have to do that, but sometimes...SOMETIMES...you just gotta. :D

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  44. i can't really believe that i am with my Ex-Husband back after when he broke up with me with 4 kids i thank Dr Atakpo of (dratakpospelltemple@gmail.com) for helping me getting back my man back, My Name is Mrs Rhona Cole i am from England and my man name is Mr Alan Cole, my happiness turn to bitterness,my joy turn to sorrow,my love turn to hate when my husband broke up with me last week,i was so frustrated and i could not know what next to do again, i was so unthinkable and i could not concentrate any more, i love my husband so much but he was cheating on me with another woman and this makes him broke up with me so that he can be able to get marry to the other lady and this lady i think cast a spell on my husband to make him hate me and my kids and this was so critical and uncalled-for,I cry all day and night for God to send me a helped to get back my man until i went to Westmoreland to see a friend and who was having he same problem with me but she latter got her Husband back and i asked her how she was able to get her husband back and she told me that their was a powerful spell caster in Africa name DR ATAKPO that he help with love spell in getting back lost lover's back and i decided to contacted the same Dr Atakpo and he told me what is needed to be done for me to have my man back and i did it although i doubted it but i did it and the Dr told me that i will get the result after 24hours, and he told me that my husband was going to call me by 9pm in my time and i still doubted his word, to my surprise my husband really called me and told me that he miss me so much Oh My God i was so happy, and today i am happily with my man again and we are joyfully living together as one good family and i thank the powerful spell caster Dr Atakpo of dratakpospelltemple@gmail.com, he is so powerful and i decided to share my story on the internet that good spell casters still exist and Dr Atakpo is one of the good spell caster who i will always pray to live long to help his children in the time of trouble, if you are there and your lover is turning you down, or you have your husband moved to another woman, do not cry anymore contact the powerful spell caster Dr Atakpo on his email: dratakpospelltemple@gmail.com and he will answer you, i am a living testimony and i will continue to testify of his goodness in my family,he turn my family to paradise and today we are all happy together Dr Atakpo i say thank you in one million times thanks Dr.

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  45. I like how Theo's expression is pretty much "you guys. this is so boring. get it together so I can leave" in every picture.

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  46. I remember the absolute horror and chaos you are going through (except we were/are way less attractive than you all), but when I saw a picture of my fat/happy newborn du jour I realized I was doing just awesome. YOU ARE DOING AWESOME!

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  48. I am out here to spread this good news to the entire world on how I got my ex husband back.I was going crazy when my husband left me and my two kids for another woman last month, But when i met a friend that introduced me to drehiaghe the great messenger to the oracle of dr ehiaghe healing home,I narrated my problem to dr ehiaghe about how my ex Husband left me and my two kids and also how i needed to get a job in a very big company.He only said to me that i have come to the right place were i will be getting my heart desire without any side effect.He told me what i need to do,After it was been done,24 hours later,My Ex Husband called me on the phone and was saying sorry for living me and the kids before now and one week after my Husband called me to be pleading for forgiveness,I was called for interview in a very big company here in USA were i needed to work as the managing director..I am so happy and overwhelmed that i have to tell this to the entire world to contact dr ehiaghe on his personal email address and get all your problem solve..No problem is too big for him to solve..Contact him direct on: ehiaghespellhome@gmail.com and your problem will be solve.

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  49. Hahahaha this is great. You patient people!

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  50. My son is 15 months old so I usually don't worry too much... as long as he is looking somewhere NEAR the camera, and not screaming, and we look good... cool. But we're about to have a second baby and that will make things tougher... and eventually our families won't be as pleased with the shots where he is drooling or playing with his feet. I will direct them to this post. ;]

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  51. I like the first one better! Btw, Greetings from Indonesia... Been reading your blogpost these few days and hopefully you can check mine too xo

    www.arcilland.blogspot.com

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  52. hahaha lovely! I'm glad you got a picture. I can't imagine how hard it must be with all the kids :)

    Valentina
    Valentina Duracinsky Blog

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  53. Oh my goodness, I LOVE the first picture! I'd say it's a framer for a Sebastian-Julia memory :)

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  54. Totally adorable and if you are like me, you love them ALL, even though most of them have people looking up, down, and all around and making weird faces and/or crying. hehehe, your family is totally adorable!

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