Things I Hate: Generic Family Photos

Eric and I were talking the other night about family photos. Specifically, the fact that we need to take a picture for our Christmas cards before Christmas has come and gone and we're sending out Christmas-themed Easter photos.

The conversation quickly reminded me how much I hate certain types of family portraits. That "certain type" being the staged, contrived ones where everyone in the family wears a white button-down shirt and jeans/ khakis because that's what lame-brain photographers tell them will make them really "pop" and that these photos will be "timeless."

In case you happen to live on another planet, allow me to show you exhibits A, B, and C:

(This is also Xzibit. But this pic doesn't really apply to the scenario above.)

I don't usually use stock watermarked stock photos, but I opted to this time in order to avoid photographers suing me for talking shit about their dumb photos.

I know where photogs are going with this advice- it's an easy trick to make the subjects stand out. 

I still think it's generic. And when I see photos like these, my laser eyeballs automatically hone in on the crazy matching outfits, not the subjects' faces.

With that said, I love family portraits. I love studying the faces and seeing which characteristics were taken from which parent. I love seeing portraits that span several years of time because then you can see how each person has changed. I love holiday-themed portraits that show the change in seasons or decor. I love seeing portraits from generations past and recognizing fashion styles that have rerun over and over, like old episodes of Gilligan's Island. 

But I really dislike the cookie-cutter, lack of creativity, boring Webers-bread'ness of these white shirt portraits.

If you have family portraits like these, I apologize for pooping all over them. 

Does anyone else feel the same...? I realize I could be way out in left field here and maybe this template for photography is really the best thing ever invented.

Also, if I receive any holiday cards that use this template, we'll pretend this conversation never happened.


tara said...

You are definitely not in left field. They are so cheesy and very distracting. Just wear regular clothes people!!

Jes said...

I supplement my income by taking portraits. One of my number one rules I tell people is no solid white shirts. If you want to do white add lots of accessories and possibly a jacket. There are so many cute clothing options out there that this whole same outfit thing is just lazy more than anything. It doesn't show the individual personalities of anyone and actually makes your portraits pretty boring.

Coyote Rose said...

I totally agree with this. I mean my family never did christmas photos and thank god because I'm pretty sure they would have driven us all nuts. But at least be creative enough to have a theme that doesn't involve matching outfits.

Mandy_Fish said...

I'm going to take it a step further. I can't stand family portraits. Everyone always looks awkward and/or cheesy. Either take pictures of the kids, or take a picture of the couple, but not all together. I know I sound insane, but family portraits drive me nuts. You will not see one on my FB page and that's why. I always tell photographers, "Just take pictures of the kids. They're way cuter than we are."

TILTE said...

TARA - That's how I feel! Just wear nice clothes.

JES - That's a great point. Add accessories to make it look not so generic. You're a smart cookie.

COYOTE - I can remember ONE family photo our family took. It was at a portrait studio and there was shadowy lighting and my hair was cut like someone put a mullet-bowl on my head. I should see if I can find it somewhere.

MANDY - That's where we differ. I really like looking at the whole family. And I kind of appreciate the awkwardness of it, when you're looking back at photos of years past.

...Also, I always think I'm the cutest subject in the photo. Ha.

Simone DeBlasio said...

i LOVE the family uniform pics. always.

Erin said...

White shirt family portraits should die in a fire. I almost feel like: why bother? So you can look like a bunch of weird ass children of the corn? It completely removes each person's own sense of style. Each person should wear whatever they want, be it awful or awesome.

A Lady Reveals Nothing said...

Hahaha we did that, but it was 17 years ago so I forgive us.

Wombat Central said...

Attempt 2 at a comment. I don't think my first one werkt. Anyhoo, We've done sorta matchy before, but last time we just wore nice clothes. I don't like the all black/all white clothes either. You guys take a pic first and then we'll just copy you, m'kay?

Kara said...

My mom made us do this nonsense when we were little and we wore ALL JEAN OUTFITS. It was horrifying.

Connie@Connie Nikiforoff Designs said...

Well basically I HATE having my photo taken...sorry to those out there who are professionals at this.

Recently my hubby and I had our photo taken for our church directory by one of those "set up/do stock poses" companies. I hate,hate, hate it! The only good thing about the pic is that it'll be really small in the directory...haha! And because we got a free 8 x 10, I think that will make a fine target for shooting practice... :-)

Staged photos usually look just like that: staged. Candid shots taken with a good camera and by a talented person usually tell more of a story :-)

Anonymous said...

People have been doing this type of thing since the beginning of time. Mom is usually trying to get the family to have a united front, "This is great, and we all love being outside together." Unfortunately family portraits are not fun, "This t-shirt is baggy, why are we at the beach when it is freezing and acting like we enjoy holding hands?" I love family documentation in every way shape or form. If a family is clad in all denim it is a delight. Just from facial expressions alone you can tell who came up with the look and who was roped into it. The person that dreamed of that moment usually selects the final shot where they look the best. Seriously, the white t-shirt must be a way of TRYING to make the picture look timeless. Unfortunately, though the style is more current, it looks dated. I like Sears portrait studio photography. A smart way to have someone else get a half decent picture of your unreasonable children while they cry, fidget, smirk, and make faces. Oh, the faces I made to my father’s dismay. My son just got his school pictures back and I LOVE them. So people, send me your shots and I will cherish them all. Luckily, my husband is an art teacher and he gets students to take pictures of our kids. But we still need a family portrait. Okay Fraziers go get your turtlenecks, ties, plaids, scarves, ascots, hats and unwind that white backdrop. This is serious family, so don’t even think of smiling.

TILTE said...

SIMONE - If we ever end up doing one of those white-shirt portraits, I'll make sure to send you one.

ERIN - I always crack up when you say things should die in a fire. Lol.

LADY - Post pix, or it didn't happen.

WOMBAT - "Sorta matchy" is still acceptable. The white-shirt madness though... it needs to stop.

KARA - Haaaahahahaahaha! You need to post pix!!!!!

CONNIE - Thanks for stopping by. I completely agree- candid photos taken with a good quality camera are soooo much better. Let me know how the shooting practice goes.

MINA - Lol. I'm always the one who picks the best shot based on how I look. Because I'm thoughtful like that.

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