Rebecca Eckler's Family Portraits
Professional family portraits are a rite of passage for most families, especially first time parents. With my first daughter, we had portraits done of her when she was about 18-months old. The entire photo session lasted almost an hour and a half, most of which she cried through, but a good photographer can capture an amazing shot in those three short minutes when your child is not crying. The portrait is gorgeous, but I still look at it sometimes and think, “Man, that day was exhausting!”
For my fiancé’s upcoming birthday, I decided our four children (two from his previous marriage, my daughter, and our son together) should have a photo shoot as a gift. This was such a great idea! (In theory, it turns out.) I hired Trish Mennell, a well-known Toronto photographer, who came highly recommended. I didn’t want shots of our newborn in a bowl of walnuts. (Seriously, I’ve seen this. And why, why, why put your baby in a basket of walnuts?)
I possibly booked the worst time for a photo shoot. Because Mennell comes to your house, I had to wait until the children were home from school and finished with their extra-curricular activities, which meant the shoot started at 5:45 p.m. The children were excited, but tired and hungry, since they didn’t have a chance to eat dinner. My newborn’s EVIL hours are between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Basically, I had three starving, tired children, plus a cranky baby, who were supposed to pose HAPPILY for these damn shots.
At one point, as Mennell had all the children lie on my bed, their heads touching, as she stood over them snapping away, I thought to myself, “You have to be one patient person to want to take family portraits. I bow down to you.” Also, I thought, “She must do a lot of yoga, because the positions she’s getting in to get good shots are quite difficult.”
Two and a half hours later (with one clothing change, and many shots indoors and outdoors) they were finally finished. The children were grumpy (they still hadn’t eaten.) The baby was screaming. I was desperately looking for a bottle of Advil. And, yet, when I saw the finished products, I was like, “This photographer is a genius!” The shots were of smiling children and an adorable happy baby! How did that happen? Seriously. I was there! It was a complete mad house! It will be a great gift. I only wish I could tell my fiancé the PAIN it took for this to get accomplished. I think it will be years before I do this again. Years.
Rebecca Eckler is one of Canada's most well-known journalists. She has been a columnist with the National Post, Canada's national newspaper, for five years, including a stint as a New York-based columnist and feature writer. She is the best-selling author of Knocked Up, Wiped!, Toddlers Gone Wild, How to Raise a Boyfriend and The Lucky Sperm Club. Rebecca lives in Toronto with her fiancé and family.