Thursday, December 21, 2006

You better watch out, You better not pout

Every year I torture my kids to pose for Christmas pictures.
I know lots of people do this as I get lots of Christmas cards from my friends with their kids posed in Christmas outfits in front of the tree.
Rarely is the photo an artistic masterpiece (--well except for my cousin Ray's and that is because she hires a professional to do it).
More often than not the photo is blurry or the kids are looking off in different directions or there is red eye or something is off.
But I know when I get the card what I am seeing is a labor of love as I know all too well the ardors involved with the Christmas photo.
And I admire those who just say no to the whole thing.
I, however, cannot.

In the past I have set up the Nikkon 35mm on the tripod and taken photos at a slow shutter speed. I love how the slow shutter speed portraits turn out--all ethereal, glowy and warm. The only problem is that the subject must hold perfectly still otherwise the photo is blurry. Holding still is not something my kids ever do.
I usually go through at least 2-3 rolls until I can get one picture that I can use. The chances of getting a decent picture exponentially decreases with the number of children you have. And you would think that as the kids get older it might be easier but this has yet to be the case. And I should tell you that not only is this a mentally draining experience that involves having a glass of wine within reach at all times it is often a physically destructive one too. I use to have a nativity scene that sat under the tree but between Carmella's toddler years and Beau's-- well just all of Beau's years-- there are no whole figures left. All the animals are missing limbs, ears, or tails. The Angel; a wing and a halo. The Wise men; gifts and heads. Joseph was completely obliterated and Mary and the Shepard might be okay but are both missing. I think only the baby Jesus was spared. And that is only because Carmella protected him. This is not mention the ornaments that get broken and thrown at each other or the hair pulling and shoving off of the step stool. It is a really fun way to spend an afternoon.
Crazily enough though, in the past, I have even volunteered to take pictures of my friend's kids for their Christmas card. My thinking was that an extra adult hand might be helpful but apparently the chaos of more kids trumps that so it is even more disastrous.
And while last year I did the tripod set-up and tortured the kids and myself with the Christmas photo shoot I ended up using a photo I took from my digital because out of 3 rolls of film I got nothing. So this year I eschewed the tripod and the Nikkon and saved myself the emotional distress of the experience and took the easy way out. Not to mention less expensive. I just used my trusty digital. I have found digital is the only way to photograph small children.
I tried to compensate for poor quality photos by using costumes and a kitsch idea.
I have to say that this was the most agreeable my kids have ever been for any Christmas photo shoot. They loved dressing up and took direction very well. So either they are so use to having their photo taken and me trying to pose them that finally they are catching on or costumes are the way to go from here on out.

And I should add that they of course loved being devils far more than being angels. But isn't that how it always seems to go?
I had a boyfriend who once told me that it is always easier to get forgiveness than permission. So in that respect it is just more fun to be bad-- especially when you are so cute the consequences are negligible.
My kids wholly embrace this notion.
And my accepting this philosophy is probably the very reason why the clerk who helped me out to my car with my groceries at Publix yesterday told me that I had the wildest kids he had ever seen.
And maybe if I didn't think they were so darn cute and funny I might be better at disciplining them.
Or maybe if I wasn't so exhausted from their craziness I might be better at punishing them.
Or maybe if I wasn't just so beaten down.
Well anyway, it is probably one those reasons.
I am too tired to figure out which one.At least when they are bad they are still very good. I just love them bunches, well, most of the time . . .


  1. I love your photos. The costumes were genius!

    It took us no less than 6 sittings (that means six separate days, a million photos per attempt) to get our card photos done. And, because you've already gotten our card, you know that I still couldn't get one photo with both kids smiling and looking at the camera.

  2. Those photos are hiliarious. The devil horns and pitch forks were a stroke of genius.