The Quest For the Perfect Family Photo.

I have an almost pathological need to take pictures. This is expected, of course. As a blogger, I’m supposed to document everything. But my compulsion goes deeper than that.

There are no pictures of me until about age, I don’t know, five? And I do mean none. I could very well be adopted (as my cousins always tried to convince me I was). Except, of course, for the fact that the family resemblance is so strong. There’s no denying that I’m a Foulkrod through and through.

That lack of photographic evidence of my babyhood may have bothered my mom a bit. Especially since I have never been shy about rubbing it in. But she took it all in stride.

I, however, am not so good at dealing with guilt. So now that I am a mom with a family of my own? I have the aforementioned pathological need to take pictures.

Unfortunately, that means there are very few pictures of me. I am, after all, the one who’s usually behind the camera, demanding everyone smile and look like they’re having a good time.

To get the shining family portraits I dream of, professional assistance is necessary.

That’s why, on a surprisingly balmy day in early November, we gamboled about Oliver Winery, posing and otherwise hamming it up for our lovely photographer, Lisa Gupton.

We got lots and lots of fabulous shots. Photos in which we’re all smiling, with hair neatly brushed and clothes tidy and straight. But those aren’t my favorites.

Nope, the ones I love capture us as we really are – when we’re not trying to look shiny and perfect for the camera.

Hurray for Lisa Gupton

We have more photogenic shots of her. But none where her smile is this real.


Tori not pooping.

Brian thinks she looks like she's pooping. I think she's adorable.


Walking through an autumn wonderland

What can I say? I just love this one.

And this is my hand’s down favorite:

Picture perfect? No. Perfect? Yes.

Picture perfect? No. Perfect? Yes.

Brian’s looking down, Tori’s leg is in the air, but the joy? Is genuine. And that’s what makes a perfect photo, in my book.

What’s your idea of the perfect picture?

11 Comments on The Quest For the Perfect Family Photo.

  1. christina
    December 14, 2011 at 10:51 pm (4 years ago)

    can’t help but say love! LOVE! LOVE! :) Thank you for sharing them.

    • Amber
      December 15, 2011 at 11:07 am (4 years ago)


  2. andi
    December 15, 2011 at 9:18 am (4 years ago)

    our Christmas card photo this year are the three pictures we took of the kids with Santa. . . . . one in which they are both looking straight at the camera, smiling (boring!), one where Maddy is starting to pout and Landon is trying to make her smile, and (my personal favorite) one where Maddy is balls-out screaming and Landon is kinda smiling like, ‘well, she cries, what can I do?’

    It is, by far, my favorite Christmas card photo we have had yet.

    • Amber
      December 15, 2011 at 11:07 am (4 years ago)

      I think that sounds fantastic. Tori wouldn’t even go to Santa. Boo.

  3. Jen
    December 15, 2011 at 9:52 am (4 years ago)

    That is a gorgeous photo.

    And I totally understand what you are saying. I want photos that capture our joy, our love and just us. Natural is so much better than smiles and all looking at the camera.

    • Amber
      December 15, 2011 at 11:06 am (4 years ago)

      Thank you! You’re totally right. Those are always the best ones to look back at years later.

  4. Rebecca
    December 15, 2011 at 1:01 pm (4 years ago)

    You guys look great and Tori is a diva. What a darling girl.

    • Amber
      December 20, 2011 at 8:51 am (4 years ago)

      Thanks. She does love the limelight!

  5. Lady Jennie
    December 17, 2011 at 1:34 am (4 years ago)

    But these ARE shiny in my opinion. Just adorable!

    • Amber
      December 20, 2011 at 8:50 am (4 years ago)

      Definitely shiny. Just not quite as posed. Thank you!

  6. Meagan
    December 22, 2011 at 9:33 am (4 years ago)

    You should talk to Chris. When he had the photography business, some of the best pictures were the unplanned ones. The more candid ones capture personality. A good photographer is always watching, even when you don’t expect it, trying to catch those magic moments.

    I’ve been scanning a ton of old family photos from my grandma’s albums (over 1400 so far) and my favorite of their wedding photos is not one of the formal ones but a moment between when she has a silly look on her face, holding a hand up to block the sun – because it so catches HER.


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