10 Reasons You Should Take Annual Family Photos

I don’t know about you, but I am starting to lose track of time. Has it been a year since the last election? Four? It is so cliche, but time is flying by me so fast I can’t keep up. Between our busy schedules and endless to-do lists, it is easy to forget to have family photos taken. I am terrible about scheduling important appointments. Annual doctors appointments, visits to the dentist, even getting my hair cut—as much as I love it when I do—don’t make the cut on my to-do list priorities as often as they should. We can all come up with one million excuses for not to making the time for annual family photos, and we may even forget why it is important to begin with. With one of my kids in college, and the next one rapidly approaching her senior year of high school…I am really recognizing how short my window is. Every moment that you have together as a family is priceless and there is no better way to catch up with time than with a family photo.

Here are ten reasons or reminders for why getting your family photos taken should be a higher priority than even getting hair cuts (I won’t say higher than your annual visit to the doctor, even though my track record for doctor visits would confirm my sub-par priorities on that! haha).

portland family portrait photographer

1. Create memories. Let’s put the most obvious one first, shall we? Past experiences form us into who we are today. I do not have very many photos of myself when I was young, in fact I have so few photos of my childhood that I can vividly recall the handful of photos I have seen immediately in my head. Families grow and change for reasons such as marriage, birth, loved ones passing away, and others moving far away. Yearly photos capture these changes, creating a timeline of milestone events. I love looking at pictures of my kids when they had curly hair (before that dreaded first cut that took away the curls), braces, the missing teeth, the too cool to smile phase, etc. These pictures bring back a flood of memories of my kids and my family’s life that are absolutely precious to me. Even if you are in a moment or stage of life you think you don’t care to remember, you will be grateful you have those memories in the future, I promise!

portland family portrait photographer

2. Infinite Worth with Exponential Growth. Looking through old albums is such a fun way to reconnect as a family, and to remind ourselves of stages and phases of life. Our children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren will have these precious heirlooms forever! How many things can you think of that become more valuable to you with every passing day? There are few things besides perhaps my home (which can increase or decrease with market changes) that increase in value over time. Only my photographs are guaranteed to become more valuable to me year after year. The newborn photos of my children were a treasure to me the day they were taken, but as the kids grew and changed, with every new step, every new tooth, every new haircut, every new word, and every new milestone along the way, life drastically changed. It became harder to remember the days of nursing and toothless smiles, chubby cheeks and belly laughs, but those photos take me right back to that time. One day soon, my kids will all be out of the house (insert sobbing gasps here). My home will no longer be filled with the sound of busy childhood, teenager shenanigans, etc. I know that one day, devoid of all of the perhaps forgettable, mundane things that are happening daily, I'll look at those photos and they will be worth infinitely more to me than they even were at the time they were taken.

portland family portrait photographer

3. Document Growth. That newborn outfit fit your baby just last week didn’t it? Babies turn to toddlers and toddlers turn into teenagers honestly faster than I ever could have imagined. Family portraits are a great way to document their growth progress, watch how much they change from year to year. Also, looking back on past trends and styles will be sure to provide a laugh in the years to come (don’t ask about the amount of Aquanet required for my awesome hair in my senior Prom photos!). Families are never the same; they’re always growing and changing.

4. You Never Know When the Last Chance for a Family Photo Will Be. Life is short and unpredictable. Unfortunate things happen without warning and loved ones may pass unexpectedly. Take advantage of the time you have together now and cherish this blessing of family with a permanent reminder of something that is fragile and unpredictable. This is a hard thought to think, but it is such an important reason to take photos each year. We never know if we'll get one more year, one more week, or even one more day with each of our precious loved ones. With the blessing of seeing families grow and change also comes the tragedy of taking the last known photos of some of my clients' parents, grandparents, and siblings. I've unfortunately seen firsthand what a gift it can be for families to have had a recent photo session when one member passes away unexpectedly. Sometimes we want to wait until we have lost five pounds, or have time to better coordinate our outfits before we schedule our session, but there really is no time like the present to document this beautiful life, in this very moment. 

portland family portrait photographer
portland family portrait photographer

5. High Quality Photos to Last a Lifetime. In today's world with selfie sticks and SnapChat, professional photos may seem like less of a priority. Hiring a professional is an investment, I understand that. If you can’t afford a professional, at least ask a friend to snap a picture. It is still worth the effort, even if it isn’t as perfect as you would get with a professional. You do generally get what you pay for in quality, however. When you invest in quality portraiture, you are investing in something that will be valuable for a lifetime. It has value the second you create it and it will become more valuable every single year. I offer a variety of different plans for different budgets as well as payment plans. Most of us spend so much on things with little or no value but fail to invest in the things that mean the most.

portland family portrait photographer

6. Everyone is back home from school, travels, and most importantly mom is actually in the photo. Travel is easier than it has ever been, living in different states, and even countries seems to be a norm nowadays. Even in regular day to day life, how often do you really come together as a family and do something all together? You wake up, go to work or school, come home late from carpools and activities, make and eat dinner, sleep and tomorrow is another day. Before we know it, our kids are grown, our parents are getting old. Life changes fast. Holidays and events that bring the family together are a great time to schedule your family photo. Particularly if there is one person who always takes the pictures and is never actually IN the picture. When you look back on the images of the last year, it’s almost as though that person wasn’t there (in my family that is me!). It’s something that I’m working on, something that takes a constant effort to change. But, one of the ways we get everyone in the picture is through annual family pictures. It requires a little planning and effort in order to make it a priority, but then someone else is in charge of the camera!

portland family portrait photographer
portland family portrait photographer

7. Family Portrait Sessions are actually kind of fun. This is may not be a universal belief, but I do think if you find the right photographer, getting together for pictures can be a lot of fun. This does not need to be a dreaded experience. As a professional photographer, I can understand why some people dread family portraits. Choosing outfits and getting everyone to cooperate can seem daunting. However, if you can find a photographer who enjoys the experience and can take the stress off, family photos can be a great experience where kids get to be silly and have fun and be themselves while the photographer captures those genuine interactions. Make it a fun family tradition, go out to dinner or dessert after and make it something even dad looks forward to year after year. (Okay, that might be a bit of a stretch, but be creative, make it an event to look forward to as a family!).

8. Photos Make Great Gifts. I am pretty sure I have given my dad more framed photos than any normal person should ever own. He is impossible to buy for, but man he LOVES pictures of his grandkids! He has pictures in his office at work, his home office, in his wallet and even as bookmarks and mugs. (Yes, I have actually gotten that desperate).

9. Portraits Make Awesome Home and Office Decor. Do you have a giant blank wall that you have no idea what to do with? I love coming into a home with tastefully hung personal photos. It is like you immediately get to glimpse who this family is and what they care about based on the art on their wall. Get your family photos printed, find some trendy and affordable frames and shake things up with some new pictures and a different display on that wall. Make your house a home with family portraits as some of your decor.

portland family portrait photographer
portland family portrait photographer

10. Life isn’t perfect, but it is still a beautiful thing. All too often I hear people say something to the effect of, “We’ll do family pictures when..”, “We have to wait until…” Don’t wait. Maybe you want to lose some weight, get your hair done, life slows down, or maybe after your 14 year gets her braces off. If you wait until whatever it is you’re waiting for arrives or changes, something else will take its place, and you’ll have missed out on a whole lot of life. Imperfect is real, and real life is beautiful, meaningful and worth documenting.

Annual family photos are pretty important. Not just because you are important (and you are!), but because our messy, imperfect, chaotic lives are a beautiful part of who we are, it is part of who our children are, and all of that is worth remembering. I would love to help you capture your family memories this year. Schedule an appointment today!