The plan was perfect.
We scheduled our annual family photo shoot with the photographer we’ve used since 2009. Hubs ordered a sweater, I got a necklace and boots, and we put some outfits together for the kids. Everything was ready to go.
That is, until a toss-and-turn night found me sleeping on a chair in our bedroom. The next morning, our toddler came into the room, wondering why I was sleeping in the chair. She flung her body back hard with the intention of lying next to me, but instead banged my eye up big. It hurt. It swelled. I cried. And I had a black eye for two weeks.
Our perfectly planned family photo shoot was down the drain. We canceled, because truth is, I still had a black eye the day we were scheduled to shoot.
The photographer wasn’t available for two weeks, and we didn’t want to take any chances with winter weather on its way. So we decided to do our own make-shift family photo shoot. I’d just purchased my dream camera two weeks prior. Why not use it?
The plan was perfect.
We’d get all dressed up, just like we would’ve for our family photo shoot. And we’d use my brand new camera to take pictures of each other. Sure, we’d miss the family photograph of all five of us this year, but we’d get all the other pictures we wanted!
Off we went. The day was perfect. The sun was shining. The temperature was just right. The leaves were golden yellow. We couldn’t have asked for more.
That is, until things started going wrong.
The baby got crabby.
And I couldn’t get the lighting right (not to mention the tree coming out of her head).
Kids didn’t sit when they were supposed to sit.
Then it was windy.
Our pre-teen boy cooperated at first, but then got irritated with this process.
We moved to a new spot and he started cooperating again.
But apparently it takes more than two weeks to master the perfect balance of ISO, shutter speed, and aperture in the live context of a photo shoot, so we experienced more lighting issues before we found our happy spot again.
When I finally got the lighting JUST RIGHT, baby started getting extra crabby.
There was this.
Yeah. We wrapped this shoot with more bad lighting and more baby crying.
This is how mama looks when baby’s standing on the ground screaming and clinging to mama’s legs, and daddy’s determined to finish this photo shoot properly. (This one seriously cracks me up. NOT cute.)
Daddy dashed for the car with said baby crying. I stayed to try to get a few more good shots of our two oldest. But they were clearly fatiguing. It was time to go.
All five of us got back in the vehicle. A few words were said. Then I put my dream camera away, looked out the window, and cried.
Our PERFECTLY PLANNED family photo shoot was NOT PERFECT.
When we got home, I was still quite upset.
I could’ve given up. I could’ve given in to the lie that we’d just experienced the most catastrophic disasters of family photo sessions in the entire world.
But I knew better. I knew there was still hope for this thing. I knew we’d taken some good shots. And I knew there were still a few good ones to be taken in our backyard.
So I put my brave on and got that camera back out.
Within 20 minutes, I had a handful of great pictures of our son, and 15-20 awesome shots of our oldest daughter.
After everyone went to bed that night, I spent two hours weeding through the day’s photographs, 350 a rough estimate. I made a list of every photo worthy of being transferred to a disc, checked it twice, and burned it baby.
“Fall Family Photo Shoot 2014”
We were doing this. We were choosing to remember the good that happened that day.
Three weeks later, I received an email from Shutterfly with some crazy deal, like 30% off holiday cards + another 40% off that! The offer expired the next day, so we knew we had to take advantage of it.
That night, we pulled out the CD from the NOT-SO-PERFECT family photo shoot. We selected seven pictures we LOVED and wanted to share on a Christmas photo card for family and friends.
And just a few days ago, we received the big orange Shutterfly box in the mail with 130 photo cards in it!
What were the words that came out of my mouth when I saw the cards for the first time?
“I love these! They turned out awesome!”
Life isn’t perfect. And typically? Family photo shoots are far from perfect.
But if we’re persistent, positive, and willing to look twice through those all those “horrible pictures,” we might just find a beautifully imperfect family, a beautifully imperfect life, and perfectly beautiful photographs waiting to be shared with loved ones.
Shutterfly is running an awesome sale on Christmas photo cards through Sunday, November 16th! Just enter promotion code JOY2ALL at checkout, and receive 50% off 6×8 flat and 3/4 folded cards OR 40% off 5×7, 5×5, 4×8, 4×5 flat, 5×7 trifold, or 5×7 folded cards. And don’t forget free shipping on orders $39 or more; just enter code SHIP39 at checkout! This is one of the best sales Shutterfly runs on Christmas cards, and is the one our family typically takes advantage of every fall.
One more thing before I go…I’m excited to announce that I’ve recently become an affiliate for Shutterfly! That means that if you make a purchase from Shutterfly through the links in this blog post or any Shutterfly link on my blog from here on out, I’ll receive a small commission which will help cover some of the ongoing costs associated with the blog.
Wishing you patience and a sense of humor as you search those family pictures for one that represents your beautiful family.
P.S. This, of course, ISN’T our seven-picture Christmas card. But hey, I thought I’d give you a little sneak peek of one of the good photos and share one of Shutterfly’s cute designs!
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means that if you click on the link and purchase something from Shutterfly, I will receive an affiliate commission. Having said that, I promise readers my highest of integrity in that I will only promote products I use, love, and believe will add value to your lives. I’m disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”