In case you don’t know, I love taking pictures, and my favorite subject is my family. While I am always taking pictures of my boys, I generally have my camera with me at all of our family gatherings, too.
A few years ago, my side of the family began making an effort to take group pictures whenever we were all (or mostly all) present.
If all of my family were together today, we’d have my parents, my 3 siblings and me and our spouses, plus 8 grandsons, 1 granddaughter (married to my oldest nephew), and a great-granddaughter. I don’t know of any additions on the way at the moment, even with Elijah still praying for another sibling, but I’m sure our numbers will continue to grow, and with all of our families growing both in age and number, we want to document our time together as often as we can.
Having a professional photographer take our picture would be ideal, but since we don’t usually have a professional photographer at our family gatherings, we are still determined to get whatever pictures we can using my rather decent Canon with the timer and set up on a tripod.
However, getting several little boys (and big boys – thanks to my brothers who don’t relish getting pictures) to sit still and cooperate for photos can be difficult.
We have a few tricks that we try, but one of our solutions to keeping their attention has resulted in some of our favorite family pictures.
What is it?
THE SILLY PICTURE.
In my family, having fun is nothing new. We’ve never been a very serious group, and we love to laugh and joke around.
So when we were on vacation with my family when Elijah was only 3 months old, we were out on the beach, trying to get a nice group picture, and someone suggested, “Let’s do a silly picture next! Everyone do something silly or goofy.”
With everyone in agreement, I pressed down the shutter button and ran back to my spot in the group, trying to find my silly pose before the timer went off.
It was a fun way to capture each individual personality of our fun-loving family in a wonderful way that could never be achieved with a seriously posed picture with everyone’s forced, plastic smiles.
Even my non-picture loving brothers showed their styles, with one completely turning his back on the shot.
That picture was an instant classic.
With the success of that picture, we started a tradition. So now every time we do a family picture, everyone knows to expect a “silly” picture (or a few) at the end. All the little guys grab on to that, sticking out their tongues or making funny faces at the camera, free to move a bit instead of sitting perfectly still and having to behave.
And without fail, those silly, goofy, free-to-be-them pictures are always our favorites of the shoot, the ones we can’t wait to see. Sure, we always take a few “good” pictures, too, and it’s nice to have those. We make a good-looking crew. But the silly pictures are the ones that capture my real family.
Whenever I look at them, I can’t help but smile, as the memories of giggles, tickles, and different funny faces we tried out play through my mind.
Those are the moments with my family that I want to keep forever.
Those are the ones that make the great family pictures.
Here’s one more, from my parents’ 40th anniversary this year. It was a little departure from our usual silly picture, but I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s a really great picture nonetheless. 🙂
TELL ME: Do you have any fun tricks or traditions for your family photos?