“Please send us a recent family photo.”
A while back St. Louis Magazine asked me to submit staycation tips for the summer print edition…and they wanted a photo of my family to run along side it.
Digging through my photo archive I found ONE family photo not taken on a vacation, in front of a Christmas tree or less than 5 years old. When St. Louis Magazine asks you for tips on spending the summer in St. Louis, you sure as heck don’t send them a beach photo.
Wanna guess what that photo was?
Seriously. This horrible selfie–where only the dog is in focus–is all I had. The magazine had to settle for a photo of Mitch feeding the goats at Grant’s Farm.
Like a lot of moms, I don’t get in front of the camera much.
This post is sponsored by Danielle Morhaus Photography, a brilliant local photographer who saved my family from disappearing from memory. But more about her later…
Keep Taking Those Pictures
Not being in the photos isn’t my only problem. I’m also a victim of photo fatigue.
What’s photo fatigue?
You’ve seen it happen. You have tons of photos of your kid’s big milestones: first time sitting up, first steps, first trip to the zoo, first day of school. But after the 20th trip to the zoo you stop taking out your camera. There’s a reason Instagram is full of cute babies, and not 10 year-olds. No, it’s not because babies are cuter, moms of 10 years old just aren’t that excited about the 5 billionth time their kid ate an ice cream cone.
I’m convinced I have a lot of pictures of my second child only because I’m a blogger. Dang it, somebody has to pose for Instagram!
That’s right. Mitch is my second kid. My first kid is 18, which means he started disappearing from photos somewhere around 2007…right after his brother was born.
I didn’t notice how much I had overlooked Ryan until his senior year rolled around. Towards the end of high school there’s a lot of banquets…and senior slide shows.
“Please send 5 photos of your child. Include a baby photo, toddler, elementary and recent photos. Don’t include siblings.”
Yikes! After Mitch was born all my photos were of the “dynamic duo.” By the time Ryan was a teen he reluctantly showed up in holiday photos and the occasional iPhone candid I snuck when he wasn’t looking.
Now don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t ignoring my teen in real life. We just stopped taking pictures. For some odd reason, teens prefer moms who hand over the car keys and stay far, far away from their friends. He actually likes hanging out with me, so long as no one is watching.
DIY Family Photos
At the beginning of the school year my mom friends started posting awesome professional photos of their seniors. Kids I knew as scrawny Cub Scouts had suddenly sprouted in to GQ models. Yet I laughed at the thought of hiring a pro. After all, I’ve got a good camera! (And the banquet committee needs pics emailed by Tuesday…)
So I told Ryan to shave and put on a good shirt. We stood in the backyard and I got a couple head shots that look mainly like this one here. Er…
The Professional Photographer
I was starting to see that I needed help. Help in the form of a real photographer, with a better camera who really knows how to take fantastic photos. Someone who knows where to go for a good background and what time of day will yield the best results.
So I booked Danielle for a family photo shoot in May.
Danielle Morhaus is local portrait photographer based out of Collinsville, IL who specializes in families, children and maternity photos. She’s also a mom, so she knows how to handle kids–she’ll take time to get to know your kids and work with them one on one to capture their personality.
I wanted something iconic in the background for a few of our photos but also some nice greenery, and Danielle suggested we meet at Forest Park. As a local photographer she has lots of ideas where to take photos that will suit your family’s style. She got to our appointment early and scouted the location–when we arrived she had a couple spots picked out for different backgrounds, figured out the best angles for the light and how to capture it all.
Danielle likes to mix it up. She shot some serious photos, some silly ones, some in black and white and some with just the boys. We even did a quick costume change and we got Ryan’s graduation cap and gown in there, too.
Now I know, you’re probably looking at these photos and saying so what? I can do that, I just need maybe a tripod, or Uncle Joe to hold my camera. Let me pull back the curtain on this session, ok?
First of all, our “perfect light” was at 6pm on a Tuesday. I spent the afternoon in panic mode looking for a new shirt for Ryan because I suddenly hated all his clothes. Then I decided I was in desperate need of a cut and color. Mitch was still in school, so we had to have a quick snack then pile in the car to hustle to Dad’s office in the CWE and pick him up before the session. We managed to hit the road right after a rush hour traffic accident and spent the next half an hour in a parking lot called Hwy 44. Rick didn’t even want to be in the photos because we just started a diet. There were at least three other families taking photos around the Jewel Box while we were there, the city hadn’t mowed any of the grass and there were mysterious orange flags all over that pond behind us.
Do you see ANY of that stress in this photo?
Nope. Just my family having a good day at the park.
Ready to see if Danielle can work a little magic on your family? Then check out her site here: www.daniellemorhausphotography.com and follow her on Instagram here. Interested in booking your own session? Then give her a call at 618-779-0959 or drop her a line here.
Oh, and do me a favor…don’t wait until your kid is in high school to hire a professional photographer!