Friday, October 30, 2009

Say "Click"....Take a Pic!

Family pictures taken at JCPenney. November 2008.

* * * * * * * * *
Last November, we all went to JCPenney for our family pictures, which were to be used for our Christmas cards. I couldn't have asked for a better picture-taking experience. We were in and out in about 1 hour.

Let's compare, shall we, the adventures of the previous year. November of 2007.....I waited too long to book the appointment, so we wound up with a 2pm appointment...on a Saturday. I cringed, knowing we'd be there for a looong time. We arrived on time for our session and wound up waiting on line for 2 hours before we were called in. Apparently, our entire county decided to have their pics done on the very same day. What are the odds?

Very good, you say?

Well you're clearly a whole bunch smarter than me.

The kids behaved pretty well, considering they were only 7 1/2, 5 1/2, almost 2, and 6 months old. I consider it to be a raving success that no one one was one had a potty accident....and not once did I whisper under my breath that I wanted to choke the ever-lovin' snot out of the people running the photo studio. (You don't understand what a huge accomplishment THAT was.)

We were finally ushered into the sauna...I mean, studio.

Really? Is there a need for the studio to be 80 degrees? We weren't taking these pictures in the nude!

We barely made it through the session....and it showed on the final pictures. When the associate pulled up our pics on the computer, it didn't take too long to pick which ones we would buy cuz they were all borderline horrible.

Let me just explain that when we take family pics, I try to keep the clothing and background as simple as possible. I prefer a solid-color background like white (we've done black, too, and it really looks nice) and I dress the kids in clothes with complimentary colors. Last year, I had the girls in dark pink and the boys in light blue. My reasoning is that I want to see the faces...not the cheesy fake fireplace background or the god-awful light-up Rudolph sweater my daughter fell in love with. (Yeah, I'm sure SOME store in SOME corner of the world has a light-up Rudolph sweater. I've seen stranger things. Like the hideous Dora sweatshirt that makes noise via a little sound box attached to the sweater. I'm not making that up.)

Where was I?

Oh yeah. The wardrobe.

Let's just say that this is the only time during the year when I become freakishly obsessed with how they are all dressed. Ordinarily, I let them wear whatever they want.

So in 2007, I thought it would look great to use a white background and dress all of the kids in navy blue. I found navy, button-down shirts for the boys and navy dresses for the girls. In real life, they looked pretty sharp. On the pictures, the blue looked black and depressing. Combined with the fact that they were all completely fed up with the whole day? My beloved family pics looked more like prison mug shots.

When I actually brought the final pictures home a few weeks later, I stuck them into a scrapbook and forgot all about them....they were too pitiful to hang up. When I look at them now, I can laugh at how horrible they are.

2008 was a whole different ball game. I managed to get the 10am appointment, which is the first session of the day. I picked much lighter colored clothing for everyone. I had a list in my hand of which pictures I needed to order, so that process went much quicker. We actually had fun during the shoot and my very favorite picture, which I have as a framed 8x10, is one of us all laughing about something silly the photographer did.

My only boo-boo in the whole thing was not thinking ahead to my framing options. To hang in the house, I ordered 2 of the 5x7s and 5 of the 3 1/2x5s. There's no way to put those into a collage without having them custom framed and I wasn't interested in spending over $100 for that. I finally came up with the solution you see above. I bought one of those "floating" frames. It's 2 pieces of glass and a frame (instead of one piece of glass and a cardboard backing). You're supposed to put any size picture in the frame and it appears to be floating. I also bought a roll of double sided tape and a large piece of textured poster paper (the kind of stuff kids have to use for school projects). I laid out the photos in an arrangement that I liked and used the double sided tape to affix them to the paper. I was left with an awkward looking bare spot near the bottom, so I got a book of family quotations stickers from the scrapbooking section of the craft store and filled the space with this:

I was quite proud of the finished product. And if I had to guess, I'd say the whole thing was done for less than $30.

As for this year....pfft.

I'm too tired. We're skipping the family photo shoot. If I can ever get myself motivated, I'll pick one of my own pictures to use for the Christmas cards.
Posted by Picasa


  1. We just got home from our trip to Penney's for the family Christmas photo. It was nothing like your pleasant experience last year. I'll post to FB whenever I get them... Love your floating frame idea, btw.

  2. I am so laughing at this. With you, of course. I take the kids to a pricey professional photographer once a year and then wince when I order the prints. Your montage turned out beautifully!

  3. I love your photos from last year. Very cute arrangement and I LOVE floating frames. :)


I'd love to hear from you!