#letthembelittle: get “real” family photos. | Jacksonville, FL Family Photographer

With every new family I meet – and of course with families I have photographed for a while – the biggest concern I see during sessions is that their child is gonna get wild. Or, you know, abject horror when he or she actually does get wild. The age-old tradition of family photos!

One of my favorite photos of my family is one such horror story. My aunt was moving across the country, so the whole family piled into Olan Mills (or similar; aren’t they all the same?) to get family photos with her before she left. All the kids got into a frame with my aunt, but by then it was nearing the end of the session and everyone was cranky. Nobody wanted to sit still, our clothes were uncomfortable, and so on. Soon, my youngest sister had a full. on. meltdown.

The photo – which I wish I had available to share – is of my sister, red-faced and screaming – whacking one of my cousins in the head with a rattle, while the rest of the kids looked on in a mixture of shock and amusement.

It definitely went down in family history. Still, not the best way to spend an afternoon.

Let’s be honest here. The horror stories that we have all experienced as children and adults come from being forced into this exact Family Photo Mold. This is two parts wanting everyone to look coiffed and polished while they are being immortalized for family albums and gallery walls to come, one part embarrassment that our children are in fact raging banshees, and maybe one part wanting those clothes to stay nice so they can wear them again because you JUST BOUGHT THEM YESTERDAY THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS.

I can’t do much about the stained knees. But in reality, I freaking love when your kids let it all out. Just like we no longer dress up in high-necked dresses and waistcoats and sit in front of a gray backdrop for every family photo, no longer do we need to spend 15 minutes getting all of your children into a perfect pose and force everyone to smile neatly at the camera!

Yes, you will find that when you book a session with me, I will absolutely guide your family into position. I’ll provide suggestions for movement and interaction. So don’t be scared! But don’t be embarrassed when they just wanna have fun. Some of my favorites – and my families’ favorites – have been the un-posed, wild-child moments in between the full family photos. Oh, and don’t forget snuggles, of course.

So the next time you get family photos made, see where it takes you. Children are the life center of the family, and their energy is what brings the joy to the images you will cherish forever.

Let them be little.



  1. Oh my gosh Stephanie! That shot was the one I selected out of them all to remember each of you just as you were. It’s still my favorite. Watch for it in you email. 😉

  2. I love how you capture everyone’s personalities and moments! I’ll bet the families all choose at least one crazy photograph from you, and it becomes their favorite no matter how hard they try to epitomize the “perfectly posed” portrait. 🙂

  3. I’m super excited to receive that email haha! It’s a legendary photo.

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