Over the last 18 years we have photographed all kinds of families. We have seen families “grow up”. We have started by photographing the wedding and then photographing their family as they have had children. At each stage of a family there are different needs to consider when the portrait is taken and then when it is displayed. Over the next while we will dive in depth with these stages but here is a brief overview to introduce you to the idea.
Stage 1 – Forming Stage
This stage begins when your first child is born until your last child is born. In this stage you are dealing with young children. You are also dealing with changing dynamics between siblings. Small children are extremely sensitive to things that make them uncomfortable (temperature, hunger, fatigue). You need to help the child be as comfortable as possible in order to get great images.
As for displays – you need to make sure your display includes adding children. We have many suggestions for displays that you will be happy with.
Stage 2 – Rearing Stage
This stage begins after your last child is born and before your first child leaves home. During this stage you could have newborns, toddlers, pre-teens, teens and even young adults. As the children get older you will have more options you can do. The older children can and will do more things especially if you have portraits done regularly. Older children may have a harder time making the time if they don’t already know it is important to you.
During this stage you don’t have to worry about changing your display each time. If you do a great display to begin with you could just duplicate the display each time.
Stage 3 – Transition Stage
This stage begins when your first child leaves home and ends when your last child leaves home. This state is extremely important to have regular family portraits scheduled. You now have to deal with other adults with their own schedules and you may have little power over what they are willing to do. However, if you have already established that family portraits are important to you then it will be more likely that they will adjust their schedule to accommodate family portraits.
You will now have to re-evaluate your display. You may need to make adjustments to accommodate things like wedding pictures.
Stage 4 – Grandparent Stage
This stage begins when your first grandchild is born and may overlap with the transition stage. You will now have the same little child situations that you had in the growing stage. Hopefully by this time you have established a good pattern for family portraits. You will now have to deal with pregnancies, small children, long distances and busy schedules. Our best advice is to stay on a regular schedule and you will have more success than trying to get the timing right.
You displays will not necessarily have to change right away. As more and more grandchildren come and as they get older you will want to figure out how you want to display them. There are several options we would love to help with.
Hopefully this gives you an introduction to the different stages of a family and how those stages will affect what you are doing with family portraits. Where does you family fit in? If you have questions how to deal with your specific situation let us know. We would love to help you work through any situation you might find your family in.