From my family reunion over the weekend. I call this a Grand Family Portrait.
I do a shot like this every year.
Imagine if your family had one of these for each year going back decades.
What would that photos look like from the ‘30s and ‘40s, or the ‘60s and ‘70s?
How different would the clothing be?
I’m guessing everybody would be dressed for church in the ‘30s and ‘40s. The clothes in the ‘60s and ‘70s family portrait would probably be a lot more relaxed and expressive and (for today’s viewer) entertaining.
What will this photo look like to someone viewing it in the year 2100, 81 years from now?
The only way they’ll have the opportunity to enjoy this snapshot of their family’s history is if you create that family photo for them today.
Why You Should Print Your Family Photos
I’m going to print that photo large and put on the wall because you cannot take in all that a photo like that has to offer by viewing it on a cell phone screen.
To really appreciate certain kinds of images, you have to print them big so the viewer can stand there and experience them and really get to appreciate them. A two-second glance at a photo like this on your phone does it no justice.
Also, as a print, it becomes a family heirloom that stays prominently displayed and gets passed down over generations, all the while carrying forward and showcasing your family's history.
In time, people who are not here yet will see their own faces in the faces of family members they never met. They'll literally get to see where they came from.
The opportunity for those random revelatory moments that come from people seeing photos prominently displayed on the wall just doesn’t exist when your family photos exist only in the endless abyss of digital files on your phone.
Family Photos Are Really Your Gift To Your Children
In the two images above, you see my brand new second cousin Franklin taking a swim with his dad.
In last year’s Grand Family Portrait above, cousin Franklin was just along for the ride with his mama.
That’s mom and dad on the left at last year’s family reunion. Mom is my cousin and the two on the right are my cousins.
And here’s mom in 2019 with her happy baby boy.
As is the case with any new arrival, cousin Franklin is getting lots of attention. Here you see him with all his cousin attendants.
Meanwhile, his dad is hustling pool…
…well, not really.
The 89-year-old on the right is generally the one who stays on the table because nobody can outshoot him.
The Eagle-Eyed May Have Noticed This
This year’s Grand Family Portrait had quite a few more people in it than last year’s.
This handsome crew below accounts for some of the “new” faces.
They’re the progeny of my grandfather’s sister. Somehow, that branch of the family and my branch of the family lost contact over the years.
My parents made contact with someone in that branch a couple of years ago and that ultimately resulted in this year’s family reunion truly being a family RE-union.
The cousin on the far right—one of the “new” family members—told me that he and I probably met when I was around 4 or 5 years old.
Of course, I have no way of remembering that.
Just like Franklin won’t remember meeting his cousins for the first time.
But Franklin won’t have to remember.
He’ll have family photos that marked his arrival on the family tree.
This is why family photos are important.
They’re not a big deal, until you realize you don’t have them. And then it’s too late. Family history lost is family history lost.
Celebrate Your Loved Ones While They’re Happy And Healthy
I encourage you to not wait until someone is sick, dead, or dying to prioritize family photos in your family.
I can’t tell you how many times someone has reached out to me for a photography project to commemorate someone who just died.
Posthumous celebration of someone makes no sense to me at all when you could have done it while they were alive.
Are you happy that your loved one is dead? Then why until immediately after they die to celebrate them?
Give your loved ones their flowers while they’re here to enjoy them with you.
Photography is fun for everyone. Bereavement photography is fun for no one.
Those large prints that you want to have on display at their funeral? Those prints should already be hanging on your walls where everyone in the photo can enjoy them.
Don’t wait until someone you love is no longer here to decide to put them on your wall.
Your family photos should adorn your walls every day to give you life and remind you of what’s important to you and why you go out into the world and work so hard each day.
That’s how you want to use your family photos.
Your family photos should not be something you only think to put on your walls to remind you of someone you lost.
This Is What Family Lifestyle Photography Is All About
Whenever your family comes together, if you do nothing else, you at least want to create your Grand Family Portrait.
Photograph your family on your best days as a matter of habit.
And print those Grand Family Portraits! Big!
That’s priceless family history that it only takes a minute to capture and preserve forever as a piece of wall art that your family will pass down AND DISPLAY forever. It’s never going to end up in storage.
You may not see the value in it now, but in twenty or thirty years, that print will be priceless. In fifty or one hundred years, the word “priceless” won’t be big enough to explain the value that print has to your family.
What would that large wall print of your family’s Grand Family Portrait from 1960 mean to you and your family right now? What would that be worth to you?
You can’t achieve that with digital files on your phone.
Here are a couple of Grand Family Portraits I’ve created for other families:
Those photos aren’t vanishing into oblivion on someone’s phone. Those photos are hanging on those family’s walls as large prints.
And they will continue to do so for generations.
Family Reunions Also Make Great Family Photo Albums
That’s another piece of family treasure you have an opportunity to create.
Again, files on your phone will eventually be lost to time. Printed photo albums last forever.
Families can converge around printed photo albums and listen to stories about “back in the day” from the family elders who appear as children in the album.
Imagine Franklin, eighty years from now, trying to pull up an electronic album of family photos from today.
Now imagine that same eighty-year-old Franklin being able to go to the bookshelf and retrieve the 2019 family photo album from when he made his debut at the family reunion.
This is another reason why it’s important to print your family photos. Technology changes. Files get lost.
One day, you’ll be the senior citizen for whom the latest technology does not come easily.
Do you want your most precious family moments trapped inside whatever the technology of the day is decades from now, or would you rather they be in a printed photo album where you can easily enjoy them without someone having to assist you?
Plan Your Family Photos Now
If all this sounds great, but it’s something you’d rather outsource, I’m here to help.
Summertime and the holiday season are two times of the year when large family gatherings typically take place.
You don’t want to wait until your family gathering is upon you to start looking for a photographer. Hiring anyone you can find with a camera at the last minute is like hiring anyone you can find with a hammer at the last minute to build a deck in your back yard.
Helping you preserve your family’s history is way too important a job to hand over to just any random person who owns a camera, right?