The most important times to have a family portrait created
Feb 20, 2019 | By: Allison English Watkins- English Photography
Being a photographer, I would tell you it's always a good time for a new family portrait. But let's be honest, there are some lifetime milestones that truly need to be marked with a fantastic new family portrait. After almost 25 years in the business I think I have figured out the 5 most important times to stop and capture your family.
PORTRAIT 1- The first year a couple becomes a family. Bringing a life into the world is a huge deal and marks the creation of a new family. Your life will forever have a "before & after" mile marker and life will never be the same again. I had our first family portrait created when Will was 9 months old. When I picked up my finished 20x20 black and white portrait I cried and cried because it was a dream come true to finally have created my own family. 18 years later that portrait hangs in my bedroom and I cherish it everyday because it reminds me where it all started.
PORTRAIT 2- When you finally have all your kids. This milestone can be a little tricky because not everyone has control or knows when their family is complete. Circumstances might cause your family to change as marriages change. But every time a family changes is a good time to celebrate with a new portrait.
PORTRAIT 3- (My Favorite) The year your oldest child graduates from high school. I think this might be the MOST important year because after this stage it's only a matter of years before additional people might be added to your family. College, travel, career, marriages and babies happen in the next phase of your kids life, all things a parent doesn't control. That year when your child launches into the real world from high school might be the final year where your nuclear family is your whole family. Creating a large family portrait is one of the best gifts a parent can give themselves so that everyday they have a daily visual reminder of their family together, loving each other.
Portrait 4- When parents become grandparents. Just as becoming a family was a huge milestone becoming a grandparent is also life changing and worthy of celebration.
Portrait 5- Whenever the future is unknown. Families can be very delicate and change can happen suddenly. Whenever health issues arise, members join the military or kids move far away is an important time to create an insurance policy family portrait. This can be the hardest time to pull your family together but it can also be the most important. We regret 100% of the portraits we didn't take.
Truthfully, the more often we create family portraits the more our families gets use to what is expected for a successful experience. My mother-in-law has created a family portrait EVERY year for the past 51-ish years. We are a family of almost 50 so this requires a lot of coordination. As I look back at the visual legacy she has created I admire her commitment to stop and celebrate her ever changing family. What a gift she is giving her legacy.
My own mother called me a couple weeks ago to tell me how much she loves her newest family portrait. She was in tears as she described how looking at her family portrait allows her to send love to each of her offspring on a daily basis as she meditates on her family portrait. We both believe that love knows not the confinement of space and time, so her family portrait is the center of her daily meditation as she casts her heartstrings to each of her loved ones.
Below is the perfect example of portrait milestone 3 as this family gets set for high school graduation this spring. Come fall this family won't be living under the same roof for the first time ever. This portrait will be mom and dad's daily visual reminder of the family the work so hard for. I love that these images were created at their home, a place where love abounds. I cherish the connection and love that surrounds these wonderful people. Our homes should be a refuge from the outside world where each member is reminded they belong.
If you have a graduating senior this year. Don't miss creating a family portrait, it's the best gift a parent can give themselves. Drop me a line today, I promise you'll thank yourself for it.