I hear this every summer and fall – “We really need to do family photos. We will, one of these days.” Well-intentioned, family-loving people. I know where they’re coming from. Life happens. Life is busy. Things are hectic. Not everyone is on board (husbands, teenagers). It’s a process. Who has time to schedule it, make it happen, and have everyone looking like they’re happy and having fun? Sound familiar?
Well, this summer I attended two funerals. I don’t do well at these things. I’m as sappy as they come, and when it’s someone you cared about, it’s super tough. And even if it’s someone I never knew, just watching the family grieve can be almost unbearable.
But one thing that really bothered me about one of the services, in particular, was the very poor image they had of the woman. It was blurry, poorly lit, and very outdated. She was in her 40’s, but it had probably been taken over 15 years ago. No real family photo with her 4 children. No good headshot. No photo that showed the vibrant, loving woman people paid tribute to. The photo they used certainly did not reflect the woman they talked about.
While it can seem a bit morbid to think about having a good photo for your funeral service, think instead about leaving a legacy for your loved ones. Too often, fall comes, school starts, and another year goes by without taking a family photograph. But this fall, that family who lost their mom won’t have the chance to take the family portrait they had probably talked about a dozen times over the years.
A couple years ago, I learned that a darling mother I’d worked with had passed away way much too early. Because she had had her own photo session, as well as a family session in the last couple of years, it was easy to provide the family with a beautiful photo to display that warmed everyone’s heart as they remembered her, and her loving smile.
As a photographer, this is one of the least favorite things to provide photographs for. However, it is comforting to know that when family portraits are updated, you’re capturing those family moments, those special interactions, and that if, heaven forbid, something should happen, they will have a lasting memory to bring a smile for years to come, even after the tears have dried.
Whether you hire a professional or not this season – be sure to grab those special times. And every couple of years, splurge on a pro to help capture and preserve your family history.