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How Often Should I do Family Portraits?

How often do you think most families take family portraits? The answer might shock you.

Most families fall into one of two categories. The families who have them taken regularly and those who occasionally go through an excruciating experience where survival becomes the only goal.

Avoiding The Dreaded Pushback

Let me see if this seems familiar. You have decided it is time to have family portraits taken because it has been a while. So you start to look at your schedule and you find out that there is absolutely no space for the next 2 or 3 weeks. So, you ask your husband to look at the schedule in 4 weeks and you find out that he wanted to go hunting, or the kids have ball games. After painfully finding the date that will work you let the kids know and they begin to complain; “But I wanted to spend time with my friend” or something like that. Then on portrait day, the perfect storm hits. Naptime was interrupted, your daughter is not happy she has to spend time away from her friends, your son just spilled ketchup down his shirt and you wonder if it is really worth it.

It is scenarios like this that keep people from doing family portraits. However, there is a solution to this. Could it be?

The Every Two Year Secret

Believe it or not, the answer is to have them taken more often. We have found that families who have family portraits taken at least every 2 years are not only much more successful at getting their family portraits taken, but they also enjoy them more.

The alternative is almost always that families wait between 5 and 10 years to have family portraits and they are often more problematic.

family portraits

Successful families have family portraits every two years or less

Nearly every year we have a family call us in January, excited they have finally found the perfect date for their family portrait. They explain to me that it has been over 15 years since their last family portrait and they are so excited it is finally happening. More than 50% of the time we get a phone call a week before the session with the mom in tears explaining her son took an extra shift at work and so they have to cancel.

The reality of this situation is that for the last 15 years the family members have not seen family portraits as a priority and so what has made this time any different? This sort of pattern leads to “why do we have to do this?”, “I don’t want to be here” and many other comments of complaint.

Why “Every Two Years” Works

It Sets a Pattern

People do well with patterns. It helps us know what is normal and what to expect. You will have the most success if you start while your kids are young. They will just grow up knowing that family portraits are something your family does. As your kids get older this becomes harder. But, any effort in this direction will make family portraits easier in the future.

It Is Easy To Remember

An every other year schedule is easy to remember. If you have your family pictures taken on the odd-numbered years (ie. 2019, 2021, 2023) all you have to do is see what year it is to know if it is time for a new portrait. If it is longer than that, it is really hard for people to keep track of when the last portrait was. This almost always results in an every 5 to 10 year schedule.

It’s Easier To Coordinate Schedules

As you advance through the 4 stages of your family your schedules will become more and more complicated. At first, it will be the kid’s activities, then you’ll add spouses and grandkids. Your family may even move away. The more complicated the schedules the more exact your date needs to be. For example, you may say that every August of the even-numbered years is when we do family portraits. Your family will learn that the family portrait is top priority for that month. Many times they will even plan their visits home around those times.

We Can Even Help Remind You

We are now making it even easier for our clients. For those who would like, we now have the capability to send a reminder communication (via text or email) to help you remember. Just ask us and we can get it set up for you.

Whatever You Do…Set A Regular Schedule

Family portraits have a lot of positive benefits for a family. They can also be our record to future generations if done right. I believe we owe it to our families both present and future to regularly have family portraits taken.

Whether you use our recommended every 2-year schedule or not, at least be on some kind of schedule. When your family begins to change, you’ll be glad you did.

Never Pay a Family Portrait Session Fee Again

Each year we do around 20 free family portrait session days.  We call those Family Portrait Photo Safaris.  These are very popular days among our regular clients.