Many, many years ago, before I was a professional photographer here in Tampa Bay, my wife decided that she wanted a professional family portrait of my side of the family. So, somehow she managed to wrangle everyone together and we went down to a local studio and had it done. My mother framed it and hung it in the hallway of her home. My sister did too.
Without fail, every time I went to either of their homes I would stop at some point and look at that picture on the wall. Every time. As the years went by it only became more interesting. My small children are now much older. I’m much older. The picture is such a great reminder of our history.
My niece was in town last week and decided to take up the task that my wife previously accomplished of getting everyone together for a new portrait. I talked to my friend Kevin at Newsome Studio and asked if he would come out and work the shutter for me so I wouldn’t have to use a remote. One of the advantage of being involved with the local photography community is that I have so many friends who are photographers and we help each other out. Just today I had lunch with some fellow shooters and one returned a lens to me that I had loaned her for a real estate job. Kevin and I have shot together a bunch of times.
Well, asking a photographer to just show up and push a button rarely works out that way, especially when you are dealing with a photographer who has been doing this as long as Kevin. I started to pose my family, turned away for a second, and Kevin naturally started moving people and fine-tuning. I could have asked anyone to come click a button for me, I wonder why I asked an accomplished and seasoned pro to do it? I knew that he, like me, would not be able to resist contributing to making a great shot. I’m not stupid…. I knew that having Kevin there would only make it better!
When it was all done, we had a great image to go on the wall.
I have a reputation as a wedding photographer but I do family portraits as well. I wish I did more. They are so important and so special and bring you so much joy day after day and year after year. In this day of instant gratification-cellphone pictures we are fooled into thinking that, just because we take so many more pictures of our families than we used to, we don’t need a professional to do the job for us. Nothing could be further from the truth. Because we scroll through thousands of pictures on our phone all the time, we need that one, beautiful, color-coordinated, well-posed, in the frame and on the wall family portrait. We need it so that we see every day, by accident, at a glance, how lucky we are to have the lives we live and the people in them.
That’s my Mom and Dad in the middle. Me and my sister on either side. My wife and kids on my side and my sister’s two kids, son-in-law and grandchildren on the other.