Saturday, May 9, 2009

ahh . . . the lovely family photo

We had our pictures taken for the church directory today.

It was such a joy.


That was a lie.

You see, our family is at the stage where family photos are a bit of a joke.

You try and tell two 9 week old babies and a 21 month old little girl to sit still, look at the camera . ..oh and while you're at it, please smile.

Ryan and I went in with low expectations.

I said all I hoped for was one child looking at the camera.

Nothing else.

The bow didn't need to be in place.

Smiles weren't required.

Shoes were a bonus but not a neccesity.

And if I didn't look completely awful, that's always a plus.

I got slightly hopeful as Ryan, myself and the twins were put in place, then Ava and no fits began.

Ava even was sitting still.

However, Mr. Photo guy decided it would be nice to take 5 minutes of prep before beginning to click and actually trying to get my daughter to smile.

It was a sweet thought, but Mr. Photo Man didn't you know? - a smile wasn't on my list of requirements.

Plus his window of opportunity for said 21 month old to stay still enough for a picture was quickly evaporating.

However, after one photo, it was almost like this man looked at us through some realistic eyes and a light bulb went on.

Ryan and I both said later to eachother it was as if he looked at us and realized the poor potential in front of him, and he just decided he had to click the shutter 3 more times "to give us options" and he might as well get it over . . .because the gorgeous family photo was not about to manifest itself.

So he quickly clicked the shutter 3 more times with little or no warning and hustled us out of the room.

I walked out just praying for something that wasn't entirely embarrassing - my expectations had changed.

I no longer needed even just "average."

All I was hoping for was something not entirely embarressingly awful.

As we were called in to view our photos, we got to walk this line of perfectly placed, tailored and smiling framed families.

Children sitting sweetly in place.

Rest, peace and joy exuding from every pore of the parents' perfectly tailored faces.

In fact, I think I might have heard angels singing.

Either that or mocking - I'm not quite sure.

You see, as soon as we sat down and viewed the first photo, we knew we were in trouble.

Bad appeared on the screen in the form of photo #1.

Ava's eyes were closed, Olivia was half crying and Ryan wasn't looking directly at the camera.

Photo #2 showed up: worse.

Ava was looking at the camera with her dead stare. Oliva AND Kate were crying. Mom was looking down.

Photo #3: worst
Ava was trying to climb off the table. Kate had her head completely tilted upwards and looked ridiculous. Mom and Dad looked exhausted (that's being kind)

Photo #4: just ugly
Ava's hand was covering her face. The girls were starting to fuss. Mom LOOKED like she just had twins, is exhausted and possibly ready to hit said photo man across the head. Dad still just looked tired.

Meanwhile, those perfect church photos still stared tauntingly at us across the top of the computer screen.

So Ryan and I yelled "surrender," chose bad photo #1 and walked out as gracefully and quickly as we could.

We're praying our friends really love us because of who we are . . .and not the cute pictures we take.

But I tell you, watch out.

In another 10 years, WE"RE going to be that family staring at you across from the top of the computer screen.

Family picture drills start promptly monday morning at 8.

My kids are going to love me.

OH - and just in case you were wondering?

No additional photos were purchased. One copy will be MORE than plenty.


Minders said...

Oh Amber! I'm sorry but I feel so bad for you but yet I laughed through your entire story! Mainly because it was VERY similar to our photo taken for the directory. Mr. Photo Man was NOT my favorite person that day. He took FOREVER setting up, wanted Noah to place his hand on Levi's shoulder (yeah right!) and wanted Levi to sit in a chair...again...yeah right! My kids were not about to comply. (Oh, and did I mention Levi had a fever and was teething? I think Levi glared at Mr. Photo Man the entire time.) Then in the middle of our session Ms. Photo Lady walked right through our picture and spent about 5 minutes with Mr. Photo Man all while my two boys are getting VERY cranky. Our picture is nothing great either I just wanted to get out of there. You have my sympathy and I assure you my love for your family is not based on the photos you take. :)

Anonymous said...

I gotta say that I laughed, too! I could visualize the entire thing! And if it makes you feel better, an additional 8 X 10 would've cost you $35! We thought about getting one of the two girls, but when they showed us the price, we said no thank you and quickly exited as well!
Can't wait to get these directories!!

Kirsten said...

I laughed out loud when I read this!!!! To tell you the truth we didn't even attempt to get our family photo, it just wasn't worth it. I have had a great time hearing everyones stories about it though. I think it is just really tough for most families with young kiddos. I NEED to bring you dinner, sorry it has not been sooner!!!

Kristy L said...

I am dying! Ours was not nearly as bad as yours (due to the ages of our children being slightly better) but nothing terrific either. We've all been there though- trust me.Mr. Photo Man mentioned this book was a piece of history- and you know, I bet this picture will be a precious window into time for you in a few years! Who knows, that free 8x10 may turn out to be an heirloom! : )

Brooke said...

Oh dear- what a time! I can assure you that we don't love you for your good pictures (but dare I point out I think this would be your first bad photo shoot ever?). I was so unimpressed with their lack of family photo skills, and it sounds like most everyone else was too. Ugh! Love you all!

Haley said...

That is funny Amber! If it makes you feel any better, our family photo did not turn out either.

I was looking at the camera smiling letting the guy do his thing. He had Barney and kept saying "Ma'am look right here." I kept smiling thinking that is strange... why is he calling Elle Ma'am? When he kept repeating it, I finally glanced his way only to realize that it was me he was talking to!!

I never thought that I would have been the hard one. ;) And I guess I didn't realize that he was trying to get us all to look out into lala land.

This should be interesting seeing the pictures. I love hearing the stories behind them. :)

Amy Cherise said...

I'm so sorry amm!!! That is terrible!! xoxo

Jen said...

We had one of those sessions, too, though it was actually my 5yo who had the biggest problem. Ethne LOVES to be photographed on her own but refuses to cooperate for group pics. Ever. We did get one where Brett, Catie, and I are all smiling and Ethne looks like she's...constipated? I don't know, but we didn't buy a copy either.

Busy Mom said...

oh, what a good giggle! You are NOT alone on this one it appears. I for one didn't care for the Mr. photo man either. I thought they did a very POOR job and I will say though that my children did look's was the mother that wrecked the photo--the gentleman did not notice that my eye's were closed in all of them. (Was he NOT looking at the screen with the images when he took them????) Of course once we went back to look at them all my kids had already changed out of those nice church clothes...and Ms. Photo lady thought we should redress and start over???? I think not...I told her I was just going to swallow my pride and try to not care that I have my eye's closed. I'm thinking that if and when the church does this again they should choose a different company maybe??

Rebekah said...

It sounds like it's going to be quite the collection of photos!! Can we join you on the photo taking classes? I was seriously in a horrible mood after that was over. I was already knowing and feeling fat but after seeing myself I really and truly wanted to weep over my excess poundage! And my kids were frustrating the photographer...Josh kept saying, "It's NOT funny" every time the guy would use his Donal Duck voice. I was wishing he'd get the hint that Josh didn't like it and would quit using it...not happening!

This book may be a realy jem! :)

Jenna said...

You just crack me up. "heard angels singing" :) From being on the other end of the camera, I will tell you, for families like ours (yours is a little more crazy), you just have to learn some mad photoshop skills. I would switch heads, bodies and open eyes. So for all those family photos out there you see where everyone is perfect, you know there is some photoshop guru behind it, because Nobody has toddlers that sit still and pose. Just doesn't happen.

Amber said...

Hmmm, Jenna . . .how much would it take to bring your photo shop services to Bloomington?! : )

I should clarify, I really do think the idea of the photo directory is great. At least we know all our pictures will be "amongst friends!!!"