The Importance of Family Photos

Updated: Mar 25, 2019

You know how it goes.... Mom really wants that perfect family photo to hang on the wall. Dad complains, we literally "threaten" our children...why do we do this? I'll tell you why. Life. Happens. Fast.


The Miner Family 2018


This winter, my family and I moved for the first time ever. My husband purchased this sweet little ranch home on 5 acres roughly 2 years before we met, now 16 years ago. It just so happens that my family's farm was on the other side of this property. That's not how we met; this is a story for another day. Literally every first for our family has happened on this property. First kiss, first I Love You, first night as a married couple, I could go on. We brought both of our children home from the hospital to this little farmhouse. We measured our children's growth on the wall in the kitchen. My grandmother painted the sweetest cherry blossom tree on the wall in the nursery. This little house is full of memories.


Growth chart on the wall in our former kitchen


As I packed up our belongings to move to my husband's childhood home, I found myself putting off going through the countless boxes of photographs. There were a lot, so that's probably why I put it off (expert procrastinator over here). I dove into this 3 days before our last day in the only home our family had ever known and let me tell you, this opened up the floodgates to all the emotions; not only to this home but from my personal childhood as well.


I found wedding photographs, photos of our pets, our children, and even photos from our childhood - these were the ones that hit me the hardest. Here are my thoughts: what if I didn't have these photographs? How would I ever actually know what I looked like when I was born or when I was 3 or what my parents looked like? I can't mentally recall exactly what my parents looked like when I was little, but when I see photos of them at this time, it brings back so many memories of my childhood. Things that I experienced with my family when my parents "looked" like they did in the photos. So my conclusion was that it's not necessarily about what we looked like at that time, but the memories that are attached to what we looked like.



I will be the first to tell you that I will find 75.2 reasons why I shouldn't be photographed. Number 1 complaint; "I need to lose weight first." My friends, as much as I wish this wasn't the case, it will most likely be a long wait for all of us when it comes to weight loss for me. I am self conscious about my nose. I was made fun of in high school for how long it is and a smile just accentuates that. After 4 years of running a photography business I can tell you this: your children are not going to look at their family photos 15 to 20 years from now and think, "Mom really should have lost some weight before that photo," or "Dad's mustache was weird." They are going to think, "man, I'm really glad I have this."


Because of this, I have been working on being happy with who I am in this moment, today and every day; after all, God made me exactly as I am, flaws and all. This year, I had my first professional photos taken to promote my Photography business. This was an anxiety ridden experience for me. Thankfully, I had a photographer who made me feel very comfortable and confident, and you know what? I LOVE these photos of myself. I am happy that my girls will have these photos of me to bring back memories someday that they can share with their children if I'm not around. I hope that if I photograph you and your family that I can make you feel the same way.


image credit: Kismet Visuals

Have I inspired you to finally schedule those family photos that you've been talking about forever? If so, here are some tips that may help you out. First and foremost, capture your family as you are. Sure, I do enjoy the artistic and creative aspect of photography, and I find that most families want basic guidelines on what to wear, location suggestions, etc. so I'm always willing to provide that. I will talk about what to wear for your photo session in another post. In a nutshell, try to avoid "dating" your photos. For example, I always encourage solid colors and simple patterns but no words or logos on your clothing. This also brings more attention to the people in the photo which is what it's all about. I am a huge fan of nature and neutrals because both are timeless.


I'm excited for our family photos this year. We are having them taken at our home during Spring, our favorite time of year at the new place. This "new" place is also my husband's childhood home. We chose Spring because the ground behind our house fills with the most beautiful wild Phlox at this time every year. The girls and I will wear cream dresses like this from Joyfolie and my husband will wear a subtle plaid dress shirt with khakis. Added bonus: my favorite photographer is taking them! I know I will feel confident displaying them for years to come.


When I'm photographing a family, I try to get at least 3 or 4 photos of everyone looking at the camera, but to be honest, those are rarely my favorites. Is that how we act around each other on the daily? I don't think so. I want to capture the love that you have for one another and the natural, human connection between you and the ones that you love the most. Moms, snuggle your babies in your photos like you do best and pretty please cuddle up to Dad. Be warned, age 2 and 3 are rough for photos. Occasionally, I get someone this age that is all about it, but it's rare. Know that going into it; your photographer should ALWAYS be understanding of this. The more you are able to relax and interact with your little one, the more positive the outcome will be. Talk about something funny that will make them laugh. Walk and hold hands, look at each other, play with their hair, sing songs, play games. Be sure to get photos of Mom and Dad individually with the kids and individuals of each child. Last but not least, have photos taken with your spouse. I will forever cherish the photos of my husband and I and I love to look back at photos of my parents and grandparents early in their marriage. After all, that is where your family legacy began.


Photos of my Grandparents in years past (my Dad is in the teal shirt)




Fall and Beach photos by me, winter photos by Brittany Tootle Photography




CONTACT

Ashley Wilburn, Photographer

sweetbriarstudiosoh@gmail.com

740.253.2760

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