Posted by: Modern Mom | January 11, 2012

Family Photo Fiascos

You moms out there know how difficult it is to get family photos done. Kids don’t cooperate, husbands don’t cooperate. Getting everyone dressed and to your appointment on time without greasy hand prints smeared on the front of their shirts can feel like a small miracle. Don’t even mention once you get there getting everyone to look at the camera and smile. It can feel like wrangling cats.

My boys are 3 1/2 and 1 1/2 and getting them to be still long enough for the slow-on-the-trigger JC Penney’s photo gal is mission impossible. Add me and my husband to the mix and we have a recipe for disaster. My husband has never liked having his photo taken, so just the act of getting ready for it makes him grumpy. Then putting up with the whizzes and whistles and whoops of the photographer trying to grasp the attention of two littles can put him over the edge to just plain unbearable. At least he does what he’s told – mostly.

So our experience went something like this; Mom, you sit here, Dad, you here. Big brother, you sit like this… no… hold still…. like this…. no…. leave your brother alone. Sit. Sit. SIT. Then the mom look. OK, that one is in place.

Then the photographer-in-training (because, aren’t all JC Penney’s photographers just photographers-in-training?) notices that she’s down one child. I point to the wall of shelves lined with props and breakables and things that could fall and crush her equipment, where he’s scaling the shelf like a pro. She pries him off the shelf, kicking and screaming. By this time the older one is out of the studio talking up the cute girl at the counter. Don’t think we, the parents, haven’t tried to call him back. Oh no. It’s just that he is immune to the sounds of our voices. She hands me the baby and goes to retrieve the big brother. Hubby and I are still sitting patiently where we were told to.

By this point my husband is extremely agitated and probably embarrassed. I, on the other hand, am finding it frustrating and a little amusing at the same time. Someone else is trying to wrangle my children. Maybe this will be good birth control for this poor unsuspecting girl. She retrieves big brother and places him yet again. Little brother is still red faced from his fit about having his climbing adventure cut short. He starts to resist his placement in the photo by arching his back to an impossible angle that the highest trained Yoga professionals would envy, because he knows it will render us unable to hold on to him.

By the time we are all in place, and able to restrain the baby long enough to snap a photo, something has gone awry with her equipment and the photo comes out completely black. Awesome. Both kids think they’re off the hook and bolt for their new found interests. I am completely disgusted at this point. I mean, really. Working with kids you’ve got to be quick on the trigger. I don’t mind having to weed through lots of photos, but please don’t miss that one priceless candid shot while you’re messing around with a teddy bear and hooting instead of keeping your finger on the button. It’s digital, click with reckless abandon! I don’t mind having a ton of shots to choose from, just so I have something to choose from.

Needless to say, there weren’t many choices and the ones we did get weren’t very good. What should I expect from JC Penney’s, right? We did end up with four shots that I would consider acceptable. Thankfully one of those is a family shot. I think next year we’ll be hiring a professional who’s a little faster on the trigger. Live and learn.



  1. We’ve actually had pretty good luck with JC Penney’s, altho we’re prolly at a different mall than you. (unless you guys are driving all the way to Washington Square). But I’ve found it REALLY makes a difference going midweek. Brian actually takes a precious day off for the event, and the place is usually deserted. Last time thye took one look at my little teddie jumping off the waiting room chairs and said “Better have Betty take this one” and she was awesome. (altho her name prolly wasn’t betty, I don’t remember). Going when they aren’t busy gives you a better pick of the photographers I think. Anyway, the one good pic looks good! šŸ˜‰ I need to post mine, since I never managed to actually mail the christmas cards…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: