Monday, June 17, 2013

Perfectly Imperfect Family Photos

I live in a house where the dust bunnies have names, the hand towels are stained with splotches of "washable" marker, LEGO land mines threaten to attack bare feet at every turn, couch cushions double as lava rocks or bombs, and the bathroom always smells a little like pee.

Really, it wouldn't make sense to have a bunch of framed photos on my wall of some perfectly posed family.  Because the reality is that my family is crazy.  And I love it that way.

Remember when my friend (and professional photographer) Jenn Van Wyk wrote about how to dress for your family photos?  I took her advice to heart and took some time to choose outfits for me and my boys that did not create a "matchy matchy" look, but still seemed to make sense.  I chose bright, fun colors that would pop against our backdrop.  I threw in some patterns for interest.  I even made the baby wear a hat.

But the outfits didn't do anything to hide The Crazy.  No sir, that business popped right to front and center and we got some amazing shots of our family that looked like this:

We've got one kid giving himself a mohawk, another doing the "Shooter McGavin," and the other looking like he needs to poop.  But I love it.  It's just so my kids.

Yeah, I can't really explain this one.  I have a little snarky side to me so I'm sure I was attempting to say something with a touch of sass.  Or I was just being petulant.  Likely won't be framing this gem, but it certainly makes me smile.

This one is the new background on my laptop.  Micah's intense face just cracks me up.

Here's the thing.  When you have a family like mine that consists of more monkeys than well-behaved little human-puppets, it's much easier to just embrace the crazy.  I over-analyzed, planned, and prepared for this shoot.  Heck, I even ran to Target at the last minute to pick out a new shirt for Thomas to wear because I didn't like the options I had in his drawer.

And then it stormed.  The rain came down in torrents and it even hailed as we approached the location of our shoot.

All I could think about was the loss of this idea I had created in my head of these photos.  I pictured a perfectly posed family with non-frizzy hair (sorry, that's just me) smiling sweetly for the camera in front of tulips.  No puddles tempting the boys to jump and splash.  No kid screaming because he has a fear of stairs.  No policeman poking his head out of the door of the Capitol and threatening to arrest my son.  (Yes, true story.)  But as we waited for the storm to pass under the protection of the parking ramp, I knew I had to just let it go.  What would be would be and I couldn't control much other than the clothing I had slapped on the little stinkers.

And really, we are not that perfectly posed family.  We are a family that always winds up dirty, that laughs, that goofs off.

Most importantly, we love each other a whole lot.  And I am so grateful that Jenn took so many photos that capture that perfectly.

Embrace the crazy, friends.  If you have the right photographer behind the lens who knows you well enough to appreciate the unique personality that you and your family bring to the party, then they will adjust their shooting style to capture more than just a perfectly posed group of puppets.  They will be able to show you as you really are....a real family.

Crazy and all.

Personal Recommendation:  To any readers in the southern Wisconsin area, I gotta give a plug here for Jenn Van Wyk Photography.  Based out of the great city of Madison, this gal knows how to rock it behind a camera.  She shoots families, weddings, engagements, senior portraits, babies, you name it.  She has a fun-loving personality and a beautiful eye for photography.  She is reasonably priced and she even gives you the rights to ALL YOUR DIGITAL FILES after your session.  That's right, kids.  You get to print 'em, post 'em, whatever you want to do.  I love this about Jenn.  As a scrapbooker, I love that I can edit and print my photos as many times as I want to use in whatever project I want.  If you're looking for someone to capture your memories, check out Jenn's website.  I promise you won't be disappointed!  Let her know I sent you, ok?

Disclosure:  I was not compensated in any way to write about Jenn Van Wyk Photography.  We are old pals and I think she does amazing work.  All opinions are my own.

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