Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Perfect Picture

I am notorious for ruining group pictures. For whatever reason, I lack that photogenic gene. I always end up with one (or both) eyes closed, with a mouth that is in an awkward position or, as evidenced in a recent national publication, I am the only person in the picture who is fuzzy.

It seems that the Biscuit has inherited (or perhaps learned) some of this anti-photo behavior from me. The Biscuit is such a handsome boy and, he does take a fantastic picture (on rare occasions). The camera LOVES his curly hair and baby blues. But (sadly) it takes about 20 crap pictures, to get 1 decent picture of the Biscuit.

A few times every year, I attempt to get "the perfect picture" of the Biscuit. Every birthday, Halloween, picture day at school, and (you guessed it) each year at Christmastime, I attempt to become an expert photog... and, every time I fail.

About a month ago, the Biscuit had picture day at school. We had been preparing for weeks: practicing smiling with a "Cheese!" The weekend before Monday's picture day we had it down to a fine science. I dressed the Biscuit in his cutest little collared shirt and sweater vest and sent him off to school absolutely sure that THIS year we would have the perfect picture (in year's past each picture conveyed a very, very serious-looking Biscuit, not at all the true nature of my fun-loving child).

I assumed that all went well with picture day. When I started seeing announcements that pictures were in, I kept waiting to see the final results sitting in his cubbie when I picked him up each night. A week passed and I saw notices of final orders for pictures. Thinking that his teachers had forgotten to put his pictures in his cubby, I decided to ask.

The Biscuit's teacher told me that the photog took some pictures, but (sadly even after several tries) they could not get the Biscuit to pose for even 1 crappy, smileless picture this year. "I guess they were all just too terrible to print." she told me. I was devastated. Will there be no memories of the Biscuit's Toddler 2 Year-Old days at school?

I decided that we at least had to get a picture of the Biscuit for Christmastime to share with family. So this past Saturday was our scheduled picture day at the house. Thankfully, the weather was agreeable.

We started the pictures inside, positioned next to the fireplace in a nice leather chair near the tree. I gave the Biscuit an ornament to hold/play with. The Biscuit's daddy was on snap duty while I tended to smile patrol. Again, the Biscuit was not amused. So I resorted to a time-tested toddler friend: goldfish (whole grain of course). We did manage 1 semi-decent shot (though you can see a bit of gold glimmering in his mouth).

We took it outside and used a different tactic: 2 cameras and 2 photographers. The Biscuit's daddy and I both took the helm on camera duty hoping that 1 of us would be able to catch a smile somewhere in between the other person's snap. After 20 minutes and 1 very irritated toddler who didn't want to sit on the tree stump that the squirrels sit on to crack nuts "See the empty nuts Biscuit?" anymore, we managed to rake out 1 more semi-decent shot.

I don't know what the rest of you do out there to get these beautiful pictures that I often see of your kids (and I wish you would tell me), but I know that it is HARD work to tame a toddler into a perfectly posed picture. Much respect to the photogs out there who do this for a living. I would lose my mind for sure.


Anonymous said...

This is why those companies make their money. I always look like the Elephant man in my pictures, but as long as someone other than me or my wife takes the shot they turn out very well. You are very good at some things, picture taking is not one of them. Maybe you should ask your dad for some hints. ; )

followthatdog said...

My secret of photos, take about 2,000 for 1 good photo. My dad is a fantastic photographer, and he does the same thing, takes a ton then edits down to a couple of good ones. Usually I give up and go for individual shots.

And I stay out of photos, that's one good way to keep from ruining them. For me at least (I hate photos of myself)