Every year since my 3 oldest children were 4 years, 2 years, and 5 months old, we've done a family photo session with a professional photographer (so 6 years now), where we meet her at an outside location and she shoots tons of pictures over an hour time period and later sends us electronic copies of the 30-40 best pictures to print and reprint and use however we want forever.
It is not cheap, but even me with my frugal tendencies can say those pictures are SO worth it!
I treasure the really great quality photos of my kids from those professional photographer sessions. I love that I have captured in beautiful pictures these years when they are growing up so fast!
Just look at them from the 1st session in 2007:
Oh my heart! Where have my babies gone??
Sadly, two years ago the photographer we'd been using and loved moved over seas. I half debated flying to Europe to get our family pictures taken because she was just that good and had such a sweet way of interacting with my kids and getting good smiles out of them.
But, happily we did find a wonderful new local photographer who took our pictures last year and again today. She, too, takes beautiful pictures and makes the sessions pretty stress-free. She's a mom of 2 kids close to my kids' ages and so she's realistic about what to expect from kids. I have some stories about those mall photographers and photo sessions with my oldest when he was a toddler -- not good, at all!
Here's a sneak peek from today and our urban shoot in front of some abandoned old businesses (my husband snapped these photos with his phone):
Here the photographer is talking to my 8 year about the pose:
She said, "Give me some sass":
That daughter has to be coached to add the attitude, but Little Girl (my 5 year old daughter) has it built-in and didn't need much coaching, "Wow, she is a natural!" the photographer commented.
Of course, there was a bit of time she was taking some pictures of the kids and they were getting tired of the whole thing and she was trying to get them hugging each other and one ended up hugging so hard another fell over and there was some fussing. The photographer just kept snapping pictures saying "how cute" the kids were and I was laughing at the ridiculousness of it and told her, "Good thing there is no audio to these pictures!!"
But we survived another year of family pictures, and I can't wait to see what the photographer captured!
Really the biggest marvel is probably that the photographer survived our family of 6!