Little hands on my face

We've been trying to get a family photo thing happening for a couple of weeks now. I've tried sitting us all down in front of the tripod and using the self timer and remote control. I've tried handing the camera over to my mum. It's hard to get Grace to be still for long enough, and although we've taken millions of shots, in each of them someone has looked totally wrong. So at the eleventh hour we asked Shaun to come over with his camera. He took some lovely photos in the week after Grace was born and took the one above while we were waiting for the light. It's a little soft focus for my taste and although it's seasonally appropriate, I'm not all that keen on red and green together. Still, I was trying to keep Grace in a clean t-shirt and even at that stage we were on number two of three, so I guess that's just how the day went.

I think what is most notable about this and the other photos that he took, is his ability to capture little moments between us. It's probably helpful to be a bit outside what's going on and not being constantly distracted by the cat stealing the smoked salmon, Grace playing with my camera, or trying to have her first taste of red wine (foiled) and all the other bits and pieces that make up family life. Shaun never uses a digital camera and I'm struck by how different these photos look on glossy paper and after scanning them in.  Something is definitely lost in the process and no amount of tweaking can get it back. So I've been very minimal in what I've done. Yet as much as I love getting printed photos, owning a digital camera has made taking pictures much more accessible for me than ever before, so I don't think I'll ever go back to film.

As it turned out he was only marginally more successful with the group photo efforts. In one of them I look positively browbeaten, and Gerard looks about 78 years old. There's one that's OK enough to be sent off to Gerard's family in Tasmania. Even though I'll cringe if I see it in a frame on the sideboard. We also made them a little album of photos, mostly of Grace playing in the backyard and eating her dinner, to send with the parcel of biscuits and jam. They've asked for no presents and yet overwhelmed us with gifts. It feels wrong not to send anything. Hopefully they'll like the photos.

Most of the photos I take of our family aren't of the staged sort, but sometimes that's what the occasion calls for. If anyone has some foolproof (or not) hints for taking family portraits, I love to hear them. December's self portrait theme is red, which I just happened to fluke this week. Go see what everyone else is up to here.

8 comments:

  1. I think it's a lovely shot.
    And absolutely no advice whatsoever on the group photo.

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  2. Love the candid feel of this shot. Very nice!

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  3. I agree -- it's a lovely, spontaneous shot.

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  4. We only have a few photos of the four of us (me, my husband, and ethan 4, maggie 2)
    We took one recently that I liked. The children are old enough for bribery. "if you smile and stay still you can have a piece of chocolate!"
    When takling pictures of the two children I usually say we are playing "freeze" and they have to stay frozen until I say. This gets them to giggle.
    Mostly I like natural pictures like this one which captures very well the love between you two.

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  5. In almost every picture I have of my younger daughter and son, it is blurred from their motion and energy. I think your shot here is beautiful, as a mother--I know what this moment you've captured feels like...but its emotion carries over even if someone catching a glimpse of it is not!
    --D.--

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  6. What an utterly beautiful picture. I'm the family photographer so there are rarely pictures of me with the kids. I treasure each one.

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  7. Superb photo, as are the other ones from the baby shop.

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