There are things in life that people put off until conditions are perfect. I remember being young and imagining the ideal situation for me to get married. I would date the woman for at least a year. I would already have a great career and a college degree. I would probably be living in a nice house. I would have money for a nice honeymoon somewhere tropical. It would be perfect.
In reality, I got engaged three weeks after meeting my wife. We were married three months later. I was five years away from graduating. On my wedding day, I had no job and no prospects. We weren’t sure where we would live. Since we didn’t have any money, we honeymooned in St. George in my parent’s house. We watched a lot of movies from Blockbuster.
After we were married, we thought about the ideal conditions for having children. We would for sure want to have insurance. I had a job but knew that we should wait until I could support the family on my own so my wife could be with our child. Again, we should wait at least until I had graduated from college. We thought it would be a good idea to save some money to buy all that was needed to take care of a child.
In reality, we got pregnant 6 months after we were married. We had no insurance. I was making $8 per hour. I was still years away from graduating from college. We had no money. I had to sell my car to pay the hospital when our son was born. We would end up having two more children over the next 3 years. When I finally did graduate from college, we had three children and I was still making $8 per hour. It was not ideal.
During those early years, Melinda and I did not take care of ourselves. I gained about 60 pounds. I did not like how I looked and certainly didn’t like people taking pictures of me. Melinda and I decided that we would put off taking pictures until we had lost the weight. We were waiting for ideal conditions. One day in 1998, I took some friends to the mountains to take some pictures of them. For some reason, we suddenly decided that we would get ours done too. I gave the camera to my friend and let him take a shot…
This is officially the worst family picture we have ever done. I look like I was stung by a bee. Not the best family picture. All-denim shirts…a classic.
Here’s the strange part, this picture means more to me than almost any picture taken before or since. This is the ONLY family picture we had taken while our children were very small. We were waiting for the time when we would look better. We waited so much that we robbed ourselves of capturing those stages and milestones of our family. Now that our children are teenagers and are starting to leave the house, it feels sad. Yes, we have pictures of our children as they grew. But we have almost nothing as a family. I would give anything to go back and document my RELATIONSHIP with them as well as them individually.
As we photograph children, we occasionally suggest to the parent to jump in on a shot. Almost without exception, the parent politely declines – usually saying, ‘No thanks, I’m not quite picture ready yet.’ I think that most of us adults, especially new moms are a little self conscious about how we look.
The point of this post is that we should not wait for conditions to be ideal to get pictures WITH our children. Most of us think: “I’ll wait until I lose these ten pounds.” Or, “I’ll wait until my hair grows out.” Or, “Maybe when my face clears up…” All of these reasons are understandable but if you’re waiting for the perfect situation before you get family pictures done, you may wait too long and miss capturing an important time in your family’s history. Since we were married in 1992, we have had our family pictures taken four times. Once in 1998, in 2000, again in 2006, and the last one was in 2009. By the way, the last two were the day before an open heart surgery for me – just in case I didn’t make it… That’s what it took to motivate us…it’s pathetic and kinda sad.
So, those that are waiting for conditions to be perfect to get married or have children will never get there. If they do wait, they will see their opportunities slip away and likely regret their inaction. As this relates to photography, if you have a chance to jump into a picture with your child at FotoFly, take it! It DOES NOT MATTER what you look like! Imagine how much that image will mean to you to see the RELATIONSHIP that exists between you and your child. I promise we will make you look 1.5 times better than you actually do! If you’re putting off getting your family picture done until you feel comfortable about how you look – reconsider. Those pictures will mean more and more as time goes on and you’ll never regret getting it done. Conversely, you will ALWAYS regret NOT doing it.
No matter what your family looks like, the relationships that exists between you and your kids are beautiful. Our job is to capture the very best feelings and emotions that exist in your family. If we are successful, I think you’ll agree that the picture will look simply perfect.