Time for the Family Photo Shoot

When I asked Shalae this morning what I should say in my blog about this year’s family photo shoot, she breathed a big sigh and said, “It’s over!”

And yes, it is over! And Shalae would definitely be the Gardner who is the happiest about that! She shoulders the bulk of the responsibility. Once we come up with a basic color palette then we buy everyone a new top, and Shalae is the one who takes care of that.

In the past, she’s spent hours shopping at different stores trying to find just the right combination; I’ll spend a day shopping with her when I can. She usually ends up buying more than one top for all of us, so we have choices. That means that she also spends hours returning the clothes we end up not using. So you can see why our annual family photo is a pretty big deal to her.

This year she ended up doing most of it online. It still took tons of her time, but I was a lot less involved! She spent lots of time computer shopping and ordering, and then organizing when the boxes began to arrive. I stopped by one afternoon and looked over everything, and then she invited everyone over another afternoon to try on things, then she returned everything that didn’t work. Probably still took her just as much time, although hopefully it was more flexible and convenient. . . 

The actual shoot was Saturday morning. Through the years we’ve developed quite a smooth process, if I do say so myself. We arrive at the studio in shifts, with those who need the most make-up coming first, and those with younger children (and this year Shanna, who is still dealing with morning sickness) arriving last (that means a minimum of time for youngsters to get impatient or anxious).


I have to say that one of the things I was most impressed with this year is how wonderful the children were. Everybody is comfortable with the process and knows what to expect, even the little ones. Once the photographers started arranging us, the children sat patiently, remembering where their legs and arms were supposed to be, and even tilting their heads in the right direction. They were all fabulous, and not just my family! We couldn’t do this without the incredible talent—and patience—of the people behind the scene (make-up artist, art director, photographers, etc.).

The other thing that stands out is that, after the shoot was done, everyone seemed to hang around a little longer than normal. In fact, Sterling was the first to leave. (He had clinic that morning, and we’d actually had to schedule the shoot a half hour earlier than usual so he could make it.) Usually everyone is so glad that it’s over that the flash hasn’t even cooled off before people are heading out the door to go home. This year we gathered around the fruit and veggie trays and chatted for a little bit. . . a reflection, I think, of how well it had gone. Nerves weren’t frazzled, tempers weren’t flaring, we had enough energy left to enjoy each others’ company!

And yes, it is over for another year. I’m excited to see the final result—and hopefully you’ll be excited too!