Family Photos with a difficult child...

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by fun fam, Oct 11, 2013.

  1. fun fam

    fun fam New Member

    I should have known family photos with difficult child would be a disaster, but still had hope that it would go somewhat well. We hadn't had family photos done in a long time because I knew difficult child couldn't handle it. But he's almost 6 and I just really wanted something for my walls. I spent a long time researching and found the perfect family photographer who has worked with lots of kids, including many with issues. She said she's seen it all. She was expensive, but I didn't care. I just wanted 1 nice family shot. I spent time buying our clothes and getting ready. I scheduled the shoot early in the day, before difficult child would be too tired. I bribed difficult child with going to Cold Stone after as well as being able to buy a new video game. Pretty good bribes I think. He agreed to all this...nevertheless...he had meltdown after meltdown. He insisted on wearing his favorite green hoodie instead of the nice soft gray sweater I bought him. So we are all in coordinating clothes, "business" casual style---and difficult child is wearing an army green hoodie with patterns on it.

    In the family shots, difficult child was pulling my hair, jumping up and down, running out of the way, screaming etc. I can't imagine we got anything half decent. He's probably going to be a blur in all of them. There goes hundreds of dollars I paid the photographer. I'm just really bummed. husband said, "well, what did you expect? We all knew this was going to happen." Well, yeah, I knew...but I guess I was hoping for a miracle!
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    You went TO a photographer.
    In "new" clothes, in styles and types that difficult child can't stand.

    Next time...
    Get a photographer who can come to YOU.
    Do a more relaxed shoot.
    While the rest of you can dress up, get difficult child exactly the kind of clothes he likes to wear, but get them in colors that coordinate, and make sure he's had a few weeks to break them in.
    Prep the photographer to not just focus on a group shot. Try to get a good individual shot of each person, and one of you and husband together. Then... even if the group shot doesn't work, you can end up with a very nice collage, which can be done in a single-picture format for sending out to family etc.

    There's more than one way to skin a cat, and more than one way to photograph a difficult child.
  3. fun fam

    fun fam New Member

    difficult child actually loves the sweater. I'm sure he'll wear it all the time--just not when I want him to. Its just his style and very nice and soft. I have no doubt he'll want to wear it some other time. I normally don't care what clothes he wears--his typical outfit is a spiderman shirt with sweatpants to school. Whatever. I don't care. I just cared a little today because of the photos. And he normally will wear sweaters, if he is going somewhere special and wants to look 'extra handsome.' He just didn't want to wear one for the shoot because I wanted him to.

    I was mostly just venting. I used to be a professional family photographer before I had difficult child. I quit shortly after he was born. I can take professional photos of my kids individually on my own. But for the family shot, with me in it, I cannot do by myself which is why I hired someone. Yes, I don't NEED a family shot. I just really wanted one after it being such a long time. And since family shots used to be my specialty when I took photos for others. My kids seemed like good ages for it and I wanted it to hang on the wall. This was just a vent. Something I was sad about is all.

    The photographer could have come to us, but there is no good area in our home or yard for a photo. We went to a fun outdoor location. I have no doubt difficult child would have been just as obnoxious had she come to our home. I tried to make everything as easy on difficult child as possible. Fed him his favorite pizza before the shoot, brought along his favorite snacks, bribed him with rewards, let him wear his favorite tennis shoes, carried him from the car to the location (only maybe 50 feet away from the car) so he wouldn't have to "get tired." (his favorite complaint) difficult child is always tired when we want/need him to do something, but if a friend is over, or cake is being served, or he can play wii, then he suddenly isn't tired anymore. I felt like I tried hard and tried to work with difficult child, but I guess you don't think so.
  4. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    It's just that... I've been there. I wasn't dumping on you - sorry. We only have a couple of good family pictures in 16 years. The things I mentioned were the only things that worked for us and/or for a few other families I know.

    Part of it is just that difficult child kids really don't like how they look in pictures. They are very self-critical (even though the often are verbally the opposite). So, they deliberately spoil the pictures, just so that nobody can capture the "real" person (but that's exactly what gets captured, right?)
  5. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Aaahhhh. The dreaded Family Photo. Sorry it didn't turn out so well, but I've found over the years that those hair-pulling-out frustrations make the best stories later on, as they become treasured family memories.

    Around these parts, we haven't had any posed family photos done since difficult child (now almost 24) was about 5 or 6. He couldn't stand the sensory experience of sitting under hot lights, having his hair brushed that way, etc. And the three younger Monsters are incapable of sitting still long enough for a photo session to be worthwhile. All of the family photos we have displayed in our house are candid shots, usually individuals or small clusters of us. And honestly, I like them much better than posed shots, as they really show who we are, crazy quirks and all.

    Life in difficult child-land is never dull.
  6. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I look back on our photos and they're not as bad as I thought they were at the time. I know what you mean about the new outfit and how they wear what they want. (In fact, that happens with-regular kids, too.) I have learned to let difficult child wear what he wants, but I also make sure that there is nothing in his wardrobe that is so bad it couldn't be seen in a photo. It may not match the theme but at least it's not outlandish.
    I cannot tell you how many times I bribed difficult child to get him to do photos. It sounds like you planned it well, but I always save one "carrot/reward" for afterward, because with-my difficult child, and I suspect with-yours, they will use up all the rewards and then never come through for you.
    I have always wanted to write a play based on a family photo, and have a freeze-frame and then one at a time, each person "comes alive" and you see the scene from their point of view. Could be funny, sad and chaotic all at once.
    Best of luck with-the proofs. I hope there's one you all like.