The Reality of “The Family Photo Shoot” and Why it Matters

The Reality of "The Family Photo Shoot" and Why it Matters | Houston Moms Blog

Spring has sprung and bluebonnet season is upon us! It’s the time of year we think of deep cleaning, new beginnings, and probably a bit of redecorating. The photos on the wall are a few years old, and you have the itch to gather all of your motherly strength together in preparation for yet another round of family pictures.

Let’s face it, those cute cheeks change so much in a matter of six months, even. How could we not want to capture every ounce of that, at least every other year?

But we all know the beauty behind the photo only comes completely together after sacrificing blood, sweat, and tears. 

In case it’s been awhile since your last family photo shoot, let me remind you what you’re in for ::

What to Wear ::

There is a restlessness in the soul over the single decision over what to wear. Earthy or Bold? Pattern or Plain? Casual or Classy? Shoes or Barefoot? Something brand new or pick up what’s already in the closet? You can research Pinterest for days in this single area. If you will {you know, for funsies}, multiply that insanity by the number of individuals you have to “cover”. For someone like me, at this point I wanna yell “somebody, anybody…pass the wine” {cause I heard that helps}, but I don’t wine…I just find a corner of the house and rock back and forth in a fetal position while cursing incessantly in my head. It helps. The time, the effort and the money shoveled out in this category alone could actually pay for one roundtrip ticket to a tropical island. Just sayin’.

Where to Pose ::

We’ve been in Texas for seven years. Seven years and we’ve never had pictures with the bluebonnet. It’s a shame. I figured this year if we didn’t get our shot with this magnificent state flower, we might get kicked outta the Lone Star State. It’s basically the only family picture that matters in these parts, a right of passage if you will. Don’t you dare even say you’re Texan if you haven’t laid claim on a hill of gorgeous flowers that may or may not be infested with fire ants. Yes, the probability of you and or your offspring exploding into an allergic reaction is high. Pfft, small price to pay really. Remember the Benadryl and Cortisone. It’s fine. It’ll be fine and usually only takes about four weeks to come back from an attack by these rascals. 

There are a few other Houston hot spots I’d love to get a family picture in front of as well. You know, just to solidify that I’m all in and totally committed to our residency here. Like, how about that gorgeous graffiti wall? Blue jeans, vintage t-shirts, no shoes and hats on backward?!? I mean, can you even handle how cool that would be? I could make this work. Next time, for sure. 

I truly feel like over doing it, is totally acceptable. It’s not like anyone really believes you live next to a field of bluebonnets and just happen to have a picnic in them on occasion. Having fun with my ideas is my only saving grace and the only thing I have any control over.

Come picture day, the only thing you’ll have “control” over is absolutely nothing. Actually, count on that. You will have control over zero things, day of. We moms don’t do well handing the reins over to the universe…or even to a paid photographer. Turns out that working up a silent sweat of anxiety and frustration causes flat frizzy hair, amongst other things {insert miserable children}. Keeping it cool, calm, collected and letting it be, seems like a solid piece of advice. However, I wouldn’t know…I’ll be the 1980’s throw back from the chin up, front and center this year. Fantastic. 

The Reality of "The Family Photo Shoot" and Why it Matters | Houston Moms Blog{Proof of the hair situation; it’s a problem}

Who to Hire ::

Wide range of options here, but I would highly recommend a professional, not just any momtographer will do. I guess what I’m trying to say is, don’t attempt to take this task on yourself. 

These are your one and only, your heartbeats and the culmination of all the love in your being. If you like your people {even just a little} and would love to enjoy a teensy bit less chaos, it can’t be you. Finding a a trusted individual who works well with children AND {a possibly more than likely high-strung} mom, is so important.

Your ultimate goal here is to capture their {the family} most prized eyes and contagious smiles onto film, place it on canvas and then display it on the wall for at least a year. No pressure at all, jeez. Do some {more} research, ask around. You may want a quick interview to check the chemistry and vibe, and then go for it! The worst that could happen is that you dislike the outcome, they are terrible with the kids and they forget to make you look like the star of the show. No big deal…at least you won’t be the one at fault here. 

Check out our Houston Moms Blog Ultimate Guide to Houston Photographers to find your perfect match!

Why the Fuss ::

With all the pressure, countless hours and extra mayhem that is guaranteed to ensue, why bother with such a mission anyway? Why not get the school pictures {taken twice a year, mind you…smh}, paste them on the wall and move on with life. Actually, that’s a hard one to pass up. This is exactly how my very own mother handled documenting our growth. It works.

BUT, the reason behind this life sucking activity called “the family photo” is this :: 

It’s so we can claim our spot.

Many of us mamas aren’t superfans of the camera. We are hard on the way we look, if our outfit is perfect, if we are thin enough, tan enough, pretty enough…if we are enough.

Please shoot from above and from this angle. Retake that one, because I’m hunched. I forgot to lightly place my hand on my hip and now my wrist looks weird, can we try that one again?

Those feelings are universal. We get it. Allow those thoughts to pass you by, and as they push their way through {not allowing them to stop for a visit} wave them on with your middle finger, ADIOS. You are the most important part of that photo. Claim. Your. Spot. You are the family! Behind the scenes are great, and so much more comfortable, I know. The pictures you snap of  “just” your children are treasures all on their own, it’s true. Your kids will always know mom was there taking the photo, but there is something magical about gathering yourselves together {including you} to get a single shot of all the glorious perfection in your own creativity. 

It’s more than a snapshot or selfie. It’s a focus in on the whole of who you are, your creation, your existence. It’s a work of art made just for you, by you, and most importantly with you. It’s a daily reminder as you pass it on the wall, that the moment, it matters. Just a single instant when you pulled off yet another miracle.  

The Reality of "The Family Photo Shoot" and Why it Matters | Houston Moms Blog  

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Sunny is a midwestern city girl from Kansas, who loves the *idea* of living on a big plot of flat land somewhere in the middle of nowhere...but, actually has no interest in maintaining that land, or milking her own cows, or raising her own food. So basically, that’s out. The only crop she’s ever grown is that of her own children, five of them to be exact:: Kenny {2004}, Matthew {2006}, Belle {2007}, Lukas {2011}, and Otis {2012}. She is married to her {sometimes} best friend, Matt. Sixteen+ years into the nonsense and she has decided to stick it out. Writing has always been her safe space, but she has also learned that medication, a good therapist and rage shopping help soothe the rough spots. She speaks her truth even when it’s hard, and has a deep desire to help other women find their own beauty in the chaos. She loves Houston and its diversity of music, sports, art, history and people. However, if she ever wins the lottery she would seriously think about living right on the beach in Maui, at least part-time. For more ridiculous mothering ideas, humor or to waste some time, follow her on Facebook @grabamoment, Instagram @becomingthemom or on


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