Last night I attended the Sandy Puc’ Kids Tour in Kansas City, Missouri. If I took one thing away from that conference it was this.


Sandy spoke about a friend she had many years ago that planned a session with her daughter and how time and life got in the way and forced them to reschedule the session. Shortly after the third reschedule something happened, and as Sandy said, “Her daughter will never have those images to look back on.”

My family knows all too well that tragedy can strike at any minute to anyone. Just 7 years ago I was a new mother to a colicky 7 week old. Sleep was golden not only for us as parents, but also when Connor was finally sleeping. No one dared wake him up because they knew they would endure fits of crying. However, one day in mid August 2004, my brother-in-law, Jason, just 18 at the time, stopped by the house. I had just gotten Connor to sleep and told him he better not wake him up. But, what 18 year old is going to listen to their sister-in-law? Soon Connor was awake and Jason was holding him and talking with his brother, my husband, Shawn. The moment wasn’t planned, but as a photographer, and new mother I grabbed my camera and snapped off several shots of Jason holding Connor and standing with Shawn, all while in our drive way.

Just several days later, after a long night of being up all night will Connor, I received the call that changed our lives as we knew it. On August 24, 2004, Jason had been killed in a car accident on his way home. The next few hours were a blur as life went on. The only thing I remember while sitting there was that I felt I needed to go to make copies of the images I had just taken so shortly before, and found myself staring at a kiosk bawling while printing the images in a one hour lab. These images I was printing were ones that almost didn’t happen. I am so thankful that we have those images of Connor and Shawn with Jason. Of course Connor doesn’t remember that time, but we tell him that Jason loved him and held him. Without those images he could only imagine what was.

The preparation for tragedy isn’t the only reason you should make it your goal for today and not someday. Who doesn’t love to look back at old pictures of when you were young? Give that gift to your child, but not only of what he or she looked like, but what your family looked like at that moment.

Our last family portrait back in November 2007!

I know what you are probably thinking. I need to wait until I grow my hair out, until this bruise heals, I lose a few pounds, XYZ…. As a
photographer, I know these excuses, because, just like you, I have used the excuses myself. I have PCOS and complications from it have been one factor of my weight struggle since having children. My “wanting to lose a few pounds” has forced me to postpone doing a family portrait for almost 4 years. My children, now 7 and 4 have very few pictures of me with them. They have plenty of them, but the last family portrait we had? It was taken when my daughter, Madelynn, was under a year old! She was nearly bald and not even walking! Now she has long hair and she and Connor run circles around me. A lot changes in 3-4 years.

My goal for this weekend is to finally take the family portrait I have been putting off for far too long. I challenge each of you to do the same. Maybe not this weekend, but soon. Take your family out to your favorite weekend spot and have a friend snap off a few pictures. It won’t matter to your children if they were professional or posed just right, but it will matter if they have none to look back on.

Now you are probably thinking…. Wait, did she just tell us to take our own pictures? Isn’t she supposed to be a professional photographer? Yes, and yes. Photography is my passion, and while I would LOVE to be your photographer and capture these memories for you, I know I can’t do it for everyone.

So get out there and get IN FRONT of the camera! And, please, feel free to share these images or your story with me in the comments below!

Think it’s time to schedule your family portrait? Call or message me to set up an appointment.
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