New Family Picture!

My friend has been taking her family for photos to a place called Portrait Innovations for a few years and I liked how they looked. It seems to be a marriage between the professional photography and the mass-production of photography. The photographers take a bunch of different pictures “free-form” with their camera that can click two or three images at a time. They take any types of pictures you want . . . individuals, groups, subgroups, and in any position. At the end, you sit down and narrow down your choices within each area. You then determine how many of each you want, as well as creating several specialty pictures like groupings of several on a page, black and white, etc. They can also crop, do fade outs, and recenter. You take the photos with you before you leave!

For our large and unique family, it seemed to be the way to give it a go. Although our candid family photos have turned out extremely well, it’s always fun to try to do something in a studio. So, here’s the turn out:

So, here’s the backdrop stories. I’m fairly proud of the color scheme I put together. I can’t say that I have a talent in visual imagery or developed the fashion skills, whether it’s in clothing or decorating a home. So, I feel pleased with how the colors coordinate.

Getting Adam (far right) to not only cooperate, but to enjoy himself took quite a bit of pre-work. For instance, you are looking at a 15-clip haircut, done by yours truly. That’s right, he does not like haircuts for sensory reasons and finds the feel of it harsh. So, we negotiate how many clips I get to have. I usually get to have 50, which doesn’t go far, either. Every so often, when he is in a good sensory place, he actually lets me buzz cut his hair. (That has happened twice.) This time, he was not in a good place, so one 10-clip timeframe, and one 5-clip timeframe was allotted me. He had hair several inches below his ears and eyes before this look, so I think I did fairly well with my 15 clips!

Wearing new clothes is both a sensory thing, but more importantly, a routine thing. He wears navy blue sweat pants every day. He has done this for several years now. He wears tan dress slacks for church, with a white shirt, untucked. He has actually become a little more flexible if it is something new. So, first, I had to get him prepared for “the picture store” several days in advance, and I let him know that he is going to put on “picture clothes”. When he saw the tan pants, he was alright, but when he saw the blue shirt coming, he declared, “White shirt!” I said, “White shirt is for church; blue shirt is for pictures.” He quickly relented. I then went for the sweater, and he declared, “No sweater!” I replied, “Sweater is for the picture store, and when you’re done, you can take off sweater.” He again, relented! Yeah! Don’t let me tell you how hard it is to have him buy new shoes!

Then, for the actual entering and waiting in the store was another whole process. First, we arrived early and he and I walked up and down the storefronts, peeking inside, preparing himself for what it looks like, but having the freedom and space to find his own time. Prior to arriving, our oldest son, Eric, agreed to not speak the entire time while in the store. Adam cannot stand the sound of his voice, and screams and gets aggressive everytime he does. It’s been going on for a year or two. It’s difficult for everyone, especially Eric, but he willingly agreed. Abbey brought the Game Boy Advance in order to play some games for him to entertain him during the wait. When the time came to enter, Adam came in eagerly, walked around the inside for a while checking out everyone in action, and then spied an empty changing room. Ah, a little tranquility amongst the chaos. Abbey went in with him for a while to sit. She then helped him take a chair in the main waiting room and played Game Boy for him. They looked so sweet together.

Abbey is already prepared to be an awesome mother and future unschooler. She has already developed the ability to do what is right for her family and not worry about what others think or “typical rules” for locations. For instance, I mentioned that we might want to help him transition from the changing room if someone will need it, and she simply said, “You know what, they can use the bathroom. Adam’s needs are important, too.” That’s my girl!

The final element involved was being patient with each transition to various photo areas, asking short increments of time from him and then letting him wander around, when larger chunks of wait time in between shoots occurred, someone took him outside to walk around, or in the dressing room, or Abbey did another Game Boy spurt with him. Finally, Adam knew that the cumulative reward was getting to go to McDonald’s playground and eat and play there. He enjoys that environment.

I stayed behind to pick out pictures and wait for the print-outs, and my valiant and awesome hubby, along with supportive older children, took the crew to McDonald’s without me. And all went well! Overall, it was an enjoyable family moment πŸ™‚

5 responses to “New Family Picture!

  1. Wonderful photo! The story behind having the picture made is really a family portrait in itself.

  2. That was such an insightful post.
    My nephew is autistic, but his parents insist on trying to make him follow “normal” rules. He is going to be 12 in February, and my sister is bothered because he still wants to play with action figures and dress in costumes. They also insist on making him mainstream into the public school system (which he hates). When they were reading Hellen Keller at school, the teacher asked everyone whether they would rather lose their vision or their hearing, and he told them he would rather lose his hearing because then he couldn’t hear the other kids make fun of him. πŸ™ I wish my sister would take a page out of your notebook and give him some of the things he needs for comfort.
    The haircutting episodes had me smiling because I used to style hair, and trying cut my nephew’s hair really is hard. I love your technique of letting him choose how many clips you get to take. I may just have to borrow that idea. πŸ™‚

  3. What an awesome picture! I sure loved the haircut story. You are awesome with Adam and have a great family picture to go with it!

  4. That’s a lovely family photo. Your oldest looks a lot like his dad! How wonderful Adam gets to be himself even in the context of what needs to get done. What a great girl Abbey is! She obviously loves her younger brother very much.

  5. I love your new family pic, it’s wonderful!! I also love the story of how the picture was taken… Funny how complicated seemingly simple things can be, isn’t it?