Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Never work with kids or animals...

One of the things I absolutely love about my family is that my son has three cousins, all of whom live very close and whom he gets to see quite often.  They're also all very close in age, all under three.  I'm the oldest of three sisters, with only four years age difference between myself and the youngest, and we all had babies around the same time.  (It makes for interesting family get-togethers.)  For the sake of simplicity, here's how the babies and ages breakdown:

Cousin A - daughter of 2nd sister, just shy of 3 years-old
C - My (1st sister) son, about to turn 20 months
Cousin L - daughter of 3rd sister, 10 months
Baby I - son of 2nd sister, 4 months

Now, ever since Cousin A, the oldest was born, my parents have very generously taken the babies for portraits every 4 months, just adding babies as they come, basically.  Everyone gets individual portraits, but there's also always at least an attempt at a group shot.  Last time, because Baby I wasn't here yet, it was the older three cousins, and it actually worked out okay.

This past Saturday, we tried to take one with all four.

I have all the sympathy in the world for the photographer we had.  I can't imagine what it's like trying to deal with 2 toddlers and 2 babies you've never met before, trying to remember everyone's ages, which were siblings, which went with which mom (my sisters and I are very obviously sisters, so some of the cousins can pass for siblings), which can walk, which can sit up, which can follow direction, etc.

Okay, that disclaimer being made, the guy's idea for the group photo was terrible.  Even if it had worked, it would have looked really dumb.  We figured he'd maybe prop Baby I up on a pillow or something and let the older kids sit and stand around him.

His idea was to have everyone lying flat on the floor, in a circle with their heads together at the center, and take the picture from above.  Baby I, like most babies, hates being laid flat, and started to cry.  My son, C, who is super-sensitive about his baby cousins, then started crying in sympathy.  In his scrambling to sit up and check on Baby I, he bumped his ginormous pumpkin head into Cousin L's (the 10 month-old) little delicate head, and she started crying.  The oldest, Cousin A, is already kind of a nervous sort and, strung out by the whole situation, she started crying, too.

So the only shot we got of them all together is of them crying and squirming.  And honestly, with the big range in their ages in head sizes, even if they'd been smiling it would have looked really off, and cheesy.

Eventually, he managed to just get a good shot of the two siblings, Cousin A and Baby I, and made it into a composite portrait with C and Cousin L's individual shots, so it looked really nice.  And everyone's individual shots came out great.  Still, there were some highlights.

~  The photographer not realizing until the shoot was almost over that Cousin L can walk very well, though she's only 10 months.  We'd been wondering why he kept trying to get her in sitting poses.

~  You know how the photographer will sit cross-legged on the floor to take photos of the little ones?  My son got worn out during his individual shoot, and just walked over and plopped down into the guy's lap.  Because he has a severe lack of stranger anxiety.

~  Cousin A giving the envious death-stare to another toddler whose family was rude enough to let him bring a Wendy's Frosty in to the studio.

~  2nd Sister not liking any photos of Baby I because she's convinced he looks like a turtle.  (You know how, sometimes really little babies have thin lips, along with lack of teeth?  Kind of like that.)

All in all, it worked out pretty well though.  It was an exhausting day, but we got some really awesome pictures, and the babies all slept really well that night.  Of course, so did I.

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