Re-thinking Holiday photos

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Here in Hawaii, we are about 5-6 hours behind the mainland. This means that the other night, as my daughter and I sat down after dinner to watch a little disney junior, it was the late night programming that was on. Late at night, Disney junior puts little “nightlight shorts” for the parents in between the kids shows. One of these regular “shorts” is a series done by a photographer. This specific night she said something that stuck with me…

“we take a lot of pictures of our children, without really knowing the story we want to tell”.

How true! and timely as easter approaches.

With the popularity of social media, it has become almost common place and expected that new parents shell out loads of money to take their kids to be professionally photographed on a regular basis. They sit in beautifully arranged sets, holding artfully designed props, wearing expensive outfits purchased especially for the occasion. Bonus points if you can get it to look “natural”! Its as if we are creating images of tiny models to impress people we barely know. It got me to thinking, what is the story we are trying to tell here? What do these adorable designer photoshoots say about our kids? honestly, nothing. It says alot more about US.

What is the best part about looking through old photo albums of OUR childhoods? Do we really linger on those studio photos? or do we love to look at the shots of us in our own homes, with our loved ones or friends? wearing that favorite shirt, or holding that old favorite toy… what ever happened to that toy anyways?

photoshoot of my sister and I

photoshoot of my sister and I

My sister and I at home. I remember those sheets! we still have that blanket!

My sister and I at home. I remember those sheets! we still have that blanket!

Photoshoot of my husband and his sister

Photoshoot of my husband and his sister

My husband and his sister in a candid shot at the beach

My husband and his sister in a candid shot at the beach when they lived in Hawaii as kids

All of these ponderings made me rethink our holiday photos this year. After our horrifying run in with santa this past christmas, I decided to put my own camera to good use.

poor, poor bean. mamas sorry

poor, poor bean. mama’s sorry

For our Easter photos, I let her choose a dress from her closet, and pick out a variety of her current favorite teddies. I didn’t linger on her hair, or create a studio backdrop. I chose two locations in our home that have great lighting and set up my camera on a tripod. I find that the best lighting is early morning, or late afternoon, about 3-4 PM.

First we photographed her on her new Big Girl Bed! She was flipping through one of her favorite books, “Pat the Bunny”, and munching on some mini marshmallows I snuck into her easter basket. Her quilt was a gift from a special great aunt. Everything in this photo is special and unique to us and our story. I want to look back on these pictures and remember her exactly as she is, right now.

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Second, we hauled one of our dining room chairs into the playroom. Bean LOVES to sit in these chairs with us at the dinner table. It makes her feel like such a big girl! These stages won’t last forever.  She brought one of her favorite teddies, and I draped her hand crocheted baptisimal blanket, also a gift from a special great aunt, over the back of the chair.

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I really Love our easter photos this year. They are so true to us. My girl was in her glory, munching on marshmallows (her favorite treat), signature messy ponytail, hanging out with her best buddies on some special pieces of furniture. These are the photos I will nostalgically linger on in years to come.

*I am not a professional photographer. I don’t want to discount the value and talent that professionals can bring to the table. If you are still uneasy about taking your own family photos, consider inviting a photographer into your home! Don’t worry about it looking perfect, try to capture your life as it is at this moment.

Your kids will thank you 🙂

-Sarah

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4 thoughts on “Re-thinking Holiday photos

  1. I totally agree with you. You have captured some lovely moments with your daughter. Studio shots serve a purpose, but it’s the ones that stir memories that are important.

  2. Lovely post! I really value the photos I take of my sons that turn out nicely, and in their environment, or maybe experiencing a new one. I sometimes consider get a professional photographer, for the sole purpose of getting the whole family in a photo, together, but I really don’t want it to be staged.

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