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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Family Portrait

"Hey! Hey! Brrrrrrrrrrrrrr! Boo! Boo!"

The babies looked up at me in annoyance, then cast their suspicious eyes upon the photographer.


"Well, I guess we won't use that one," she said.

No kidding.

We'd already been there for too long, taking picture after picture. You stand here, you face her, look lovingly at each other, could you get the babies to cross their legs and hold the umbrellas in their left hands while whistling? Okay, so I made that last one up, but she may as well have been asking that. They're two. They don't really pose on command.

Why we were even there, in the mall department store's tiny portrait studio with a white sheet tossed over a ledge for background, I still don't know. I'd been drawn to the store with one of their super duper deals. $35 for every size photo imaginable plus greeting cards.

I'd figured it'd just be one pose. A family portrait. When the woman kept snapping and snapping away, I got my hopes up. First the family, then the parents, then the babies. Huh. Maybe we could choose multiple poses. Of course we could. For only an extra hundred bucks or so.  Oh, Olan Mills. Good to see some things never change. You disappointed me 20 years ago with class pictures, and you disappoint me now.

I asked for the "laser" background, and the photographer didn't even crack a smile. I thought it was hilarious! Maybe she's too young to remember the coolest class picture background that my mother would never let me get. I was always stuck with the classic blue fuzzy background.

Anyway, after a multitude of shots where she chased the babies around with a multicolored feather duster to get them to laugh (haha, no, it got them to cling to my legs in fear), we had enough shots to go through and choose.

My favorite part of the trip was when the photographer was annoyed at us for only wanting the deal we signed up for.  Like we'd wasted her time taking all those extra shots. But, in the age of digital photography, it's not even like she wasted film. Enough with the attitude. We'd just like our first cheesy mall family portrait, please.

"What would you like on the greeting cards?" she asked.

"Oh, I don't know. How about Happy Easter? That would be nice for family."


Then I was forced to leave for a bit to keep my restless babies under control. Going through all of their "deals and options" took a long time, and there's only so long jumping over cracks in the floor will amuse toddlers.  Especially when there are glass bowls on display in the home department, right there, ripe for the breaking.

I got back just in time to pay. "These will be ready May 2nd. When would you like to pick them up?"

I looked at her blankly. "May 2nd?"

She rolled her eyes. "Yes, we have to blah blhablhabljabl" (I don't care what she said here. It's all crap anyway, these are digital pictures, and if they aren't, then what the heck?!)

"Right..." I ventured. "That's all well and good. But Easter is April 24th. It would have been helpful to know that the delivery date would be a week after the know, since I said Happy Easter on the greeting cards."

"Oh, right."

Right, indeed.

So, why did I drag my family to a mall to get an old-fashioned out-of-date chintzy family portrait? Is it nostalgia for my youth? I remember turning excitedly to my husband as we pulled into the parking lot saying, "I've never gotten one of these as the adult in the family! I've only been the child!"  Is it a sense of family duty? Does everyone get them?

I know that this will likely be our only one, after that experience.  I have a digital camera, and while I don't have any skills behind the lens, every once in a while I get lucky. Plus, Walgreens will print out as many different pictures as I want for 20 cents a photo, and I get them all on the internet.

Plus, at least the babies smile for me.


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  1. We've only done "professional" pictures twice. Once when the girls were really young, the second was the WHOLE family, cousins, uncles, aunts, etc. The third was just recently at my mother in laws mardi gras ball. The latter was by far the easiest, but the youngest still has issues. We want to do another one but kinda just never do.

  2. LOL! I only laugh because I, too, have had multiple nightmare trips to get portraits done, only my experiences are with Walmart. You know, the deals where you get a bazillion pictures for 4.95? The package comes with one pose, but you still "have" to sit for 7 poses cuz "the computer makes you" and then you have to listen for 15 minutes enduring their schpeel. Oh yes, Walgreens... I LOVE you. Great blog! :)

  3. ahh yeah.... still can't really believe i did that job for almost 4 years. although your kids would have been a challange i would have loved.

    ah walmart how i love and hate you.

    I think your picture of the girls is really humorous.

  4. We still haven't gotten professional pics for either of the girls. I keep wanting to go to this cheap place near us, but I'm scared! And this post didn't help lol

  5. We bought a portrait package from groupon or some site like that not long ago and we plan on using it next month (fingers crossed). My SIL used to get pics of my niece all the time when she was a baby, and 7/8 months seemed to be the perfect age. The babies should be sitting unassisted by then, but they'll be too young to crawl away. Also: easily distracted by the photographer! The almost 3 year old will be another story though... :(

  6. That looks suspiciously like a photo of little girls. What happened to the babies you speak of?

  7. LOL, you're right. I really do have to stop referring to them as babies. Though, it took your comment for me to go back and look and actually see them as little girls.

  8. I stopped doing professional pictures at studios long ago! It's so much easier to just do them myself!

  9. When was the last time you told your son or daughter that you were proud of them? Or your employee that they did a great job? Or your wife or husband that you love them? Or your friends that you appreciate their friendship? Or your customers that you appreciate their business? Human beings crave appreciation. When you show it, people will respond to you in the most positive ways.

    adult greeting cards

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