|Mar 3, 2008 5:08:00 PM
Note To Self
Get Professional Photos of Your Children
I’ve never forgotten an invaluable piece of advice that I heard from an older friend right after my first child was born. She told me, “One of my greatest regrets about my children’s childhoods was that I didn’t have more professional pictures taken.”“You didn’t take many pictures?” I asked.“I took tons of pictures,” she said, “but the fact is, professional photographs are so much better than even the best snapshots.”I absolutely agree—professional photos are better. And keeping her advice in mind, ever since my daughters were born, I’ve been zealous about getting their photos taken professionally at least once a year. While it’s a lot of fun (and also a pain) to take pictures myself, it’s terrific to have some pictures that are truly excellent. These photos don’t take the place of the on-the-spot pictures that I take myself—I still take scads of photos at birthday parties, first days of school, on the slide, with a popsicle—but these pictures memorialize my children’s childhoods in a different way.Plus they make great family gifts. I can never figure out a good present for the grandparents and great-grandparents, but they always love to get a really great photograph—especially the relatives who don’t often get a chance to see the girls in person.
Also, research shows that one way to boost your happiness is to reflect on happy times, and looking at photographs helps keep memories more vivid.
It’s a splurge, of course. Professional photos aren’t cheap.
However, I figure that the money I spend on these photographs will strengthen family bonds, enhance happy memories, and capture the fleeting moments of childhood. They give me more pleasure than practically any other purchases that I make. That strikes me as pretty good happiness bang for the buck.
A friend’s family had another great photography tradition. For her whole life, at every milestone, her parents took a picture of her and her brother sitting exactly the same way on their front stoop. It’s fascinating to see them change through the years. Along the same lines, the artist Nicholas Nixon took a photograph of his wife and her three sisters once a year for 33 years. The collection of these photographs, The Brown Sisters, is riveting.
Getting professional photos take is a great example of the tiresome fact that happiness takes thought and effort. These photographs are easy to arrange; in the scheme of things, not terribly expensive; contribute greatly to our family happiness—and yet it probably never would have occurred to me to do it if my friend hadn’t suggested it.