The Family Portrait


The Family Portrait

When is the last time you took ‘the family portrait?’ I can remember when I was growing up, my family did the family portrait.  Every few years, we went to a photography studio and had a photo session with a photographer.  As I look back on these events, I do not recall the drama that most sitcoms of today portray, but I have noticed something else. . . Advertising.

Yes, that is right, advertising.  I know what you are thinking . . . The studios put their logo and/or watermark on the photo to show others who took the photo.  Nope.  That is not what I am talking about.  I am talking about my father, and his advertising scheme.  See, my father is in the Real Estate Business.  My mother wanted him to pay for a family photo, and see thought this would be a waste of money.  So, he decided to make his contribution to the photo in the form of advertising.

My father went out and purchased Sweatshirts, or Jackets with his Company Name on them and somehow convinced my mother that if we were going to have a family photo, we should take it all wearing those items.  I guess my mother just wanted the photo so bad that she gave in and agreed.  This also had the added benefit of making both the photo session and the sweatshirts and the jackets a tax write-off for his business.  He didn’t mind this so much since he was probably going to be purchasing sweatshirts and jackets for us kids anyway and this way he also got the advertising out of it.

When I was young, I don’t remember giving it a second thought, but as an adult, I understand more about how the world works, and to be perfectly honest, I think it was brilliant.  Setting the idea aside, I really think that family photos are a must for all families.  While I understand these can be expensive, I think it is overall a necessity.  These photos not only serve to remind us of our family, and can be used as Christmas cards, but they also serve to remind us that time changes.

I look back at our extended family Christmas photo and I have to laugh.  There are people in the photo that I have not seen in several years, and there are even a couple of people who have left this world.  We never know when tragedy will strike.  For all we know, the photo we are taking right now may be the last opportunity to have a photo of our loved one.  My brother died unexpectedly in a car accident and the photo of him that my mother took just a few days before became a cherished possession for our family.

There are also ways of keeping this photography cheap – mainly by taking the photo yourself.  Get the family together, break out the digital camera and take the photo.  Then, take it to your local Walmart, pharmacy, or photo lab and have prints made.  Hang it on the wall and display it proud.

No matter where you are, real time capsules are everywhere.  Do you have a story about taking a family photo and the drama that came from it?  Tell us about it in the comments below!


Making Milestone Moments Count,

– Mark