Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Professional Photos of Your Children

I love blogs! I use bloglines to keep track of all the blogs I read. Basically it's a free website where I register all the blogs I read - and then they let me know when there is a new post.

All that to say, I saw today on my friend Jennifer's blog this great article from Real Simple magazine. Follow the link here (always interesting to see everyone's comments about an article!) or read below...

I’ve never forgotten an invaluable piece of advice that I heard from an older friend right after my first child was born. She told me, “One of my greatest regrets about my children’s childhoods was that I didn’t have more professional pictures taken.”

“You didn’t take many pictures?” I asked.

“I took tons of pictures,” she said, “but the fact is, professional photographs are so much better than even the best snapshots.”

I absolutely agree—professional photos are better. And keeping her advice in mind, ever since my daughters were born, I’ve been zealous about getting their photos taken professionally at least once a year.

While it’s a lot of fun (and also a pain) to take pictures myself, it’s terrific to have some pictures that are truly excellent. These photos don’t take the place of the on-the-spot pictures that I take myself—I still take scads of photos at birthday parties, first days of school, on the slide, with a popsicle—but these pictures memorialize my children’s childhoods in a different way.

Plus they make great family gifts. I can never figure out a good present for the grandparents and great-grandparents, but they always love to get a really great photograph—especially the relatives who don’t often get a chance to see the girls in person.

Also, research shows that one way to boost your happiness is to reflect on happy times, and looking at photographs helps keep memories more vivid.

It’s a splurge, of course. Professional photos aren’t cheap.

However, I figure that the money I spend on these photographs will strengthen family bonds, enhance happy memories, and capture the fleeting moments of childhood. They give me more pleasure than practically any other purchases that I make. That strikes me as pretty good happiness bang for the buck.

A friend’s family had another great photography tradition. For her whole life, at every milestone, her parents took a picture of her and her brother sitting exactly the same way on their front stoop. It’s fascinating to see them change through the years. Along the same lines, the artist Nicholas Nixon took a photograph of his wife and her three sisters once a year for 33 years. The collection of these photographs, The Brown Sisters, is riveting.

Getting professional photos take is a great example of the tiresome fact that happiness takes thought and effort. These photographs are easy to arrange; in the scheme of things, not terribly expensive; contribute greatly to our family happiness—and yet it probably never would have occurred to me to do it if my friend hadn’t suggested it.

Have you ever had your child's professional photograph taken? Did you think it was worth the expense and trouble?


Blogger Jaci said...

I wish I had more of just my husband and I not having any kids yet. I do like the idea of the picture at the same place every year, but as someone who's moved around a lot I struggle with the where I would do that for my kids someday. What's a location that can be easily duplicated in the event I move around? I do think they are often worth it.

March 26, 2008 7:35 PM  
Anonymous Linda said...

For many years I took a picture of my kids holding hands in front of our Christmas tree....not sure they would replicate that now, but definitely neat to see the changes. Also it was an easy way to remember the time and place!

March 26, 2008 7:56 PM  
Blogger Krista Jefferson Photography said...

Jaci - you're right! SO many people get married, and then don't take any photos as a couple any more! I've had requests for "engagement style" photos for couples who have been married 2, 5, 10 years - who just want some nice photos of them!

And as to what you could use instead of a location like a tree. I know Carolynn's extended family does a photo each Christmas where they use the same wreath (around someone's head I believe!) and other items.

When I was pregnant each time, I did a photo each month in the same shirt. After the kids were born we did a photo of them with a favourite toy each month on their month birthday (i.e. 20th of each month) for the first year. Incredible to record how much they grow that first year!

Linda - love your idea! I'm sure they'd still hold hands for you... maybe.

March 26, 2008 8:36 PM  

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