Photographing your own family


So….the above is what I’m gettin’ now with my girls when I drag them to the studio.

It’s actually pretty funny and we laugh a lot in the process, but I am at loss to capture some smiling sweet kidlet faces. It’s the age, to be sure, but it’s also the fact that I have been holding them hostage in front of my camera since they took their first breath. I remember the first time Katie looked at me accusingly when I was dressing her in all white (again) and said in a tiny 4-year-old voice, “But I don’t wanna go to the beach for pictures!” It made me laugh out loud, but I also was sadly witnessing the downward spiral of their interest in my camera’s capabilities.

There was bribery: When they were teeny, candy, a movie, a new Barbie, a second visit to the park, agreement in having them dress themselves for the shoot (that lasted about 30 seconds).

There was guilt: “I don’t have any pictures of you in your pretty ballet clothes. Won’t the grandmas all the way on the West Coast be sad if they don’t see you in your outfits?” This only lasted until we moved back to WA from NY.

There was cash: My last session with my oldest cost me $10….plus an additional $5 for making her dress up in a Sense and Sensibility  dress and tromp in the woods. She was not amused and it showed in quite a few of the images, but I also got some of my absolute favorite of her that day. Money talks in these pre-teen years, and shamefully, I am happy to pay it for one reason:

I get to gaze at my beautiful daughters’ faces and marvel at their growth without having to explain why I’m standing there staring at them. My Big Kahuna camera is a wonderful hiding place when I simply want to observe how fast the years are going. Sometimes I have to hide the sadness (not an easy feat because I’m a sentimental sap most of the time) at the speed these stages are flying by. I can’t believe that the lovely young preteen standing in front of me now was the peanutbutter-caked, toothless little pixie from not too long ago. Of course, there would be massive eye-rolling and a lot of “Oh, Mom!”s if they knew how I felt, but I really appreciate what these little photo shoots allow me as their mother….an experience and a memory in tangible form. My studio office is a shrine to their childhood and it’s one of my most prized possessions.

* * *

Below was the beginning of our family Christmas card endeavor. There is usually a lot of scrapping on the backdrop with me hollering out directions to no one. PH told me later that he feels the craziness and general lack of listening is what makes it a great card-making-photo-shoot. I was going to respond with a mini-speech involving the words, “All I ask is 30 minutes a year to put this thing together..blahblahblah”, but then I just had to relent…these are The Great Moments.  He was right. They adore their father (as do I) and these images reflect exactly how he is with them right now. When I’m losing my mom-mind due to acres of socks left around the house and hordes of laundry thrown at me late Sunday night, sometimes I stop—and ask myself how PH would handle it. He’s funny, but also gets results…a very valuable skill in the abode right now.


The ironic thing is that I will probably look back on the mountains of images I’ve taken and be so grateful for what they are…time capsules of where we were in each stage of our family life. I took these card pictures three weeks ago and now the agenda I had seems pretty ridiculous! I just need to let it be what it is (and also stock my model-fee pocket for my next session request). I wonder what she would charge if I asked her wear a big poofy Civil war dress? It’s worth asking.

For you camera-yielding pals: how do you get your family to pose for you? How does it go?

Happy weekend, Lovelies! I hope your year is off to a smashing start~


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3 Responses to Photographing your own family

  1. Mikal says:


    I am a proud mama briber by the way. Cash talks! :)

  2. Holly S says:

    Great post, Lara. Your kids are lucky to have both of you to adore and cherish them. And, of course, they are extremely worthy of the adoration. Happy New Year, my friend!

  3. Kath says:

    I could cry looking at these pics and realizing just how fast the time has gone – love the shots. Love the card. Love the family. Miss you all. Xoxo

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