The Artistry of DIY Family Portraiture
The poetic among us would find rich metaphoric comparisons between the taking of our yearly family portrait and my annual health checkup. I kinda froze here: one is a figurative pain in my tuchus; the other is literally.
:: snap :: ... and exhaaaaale -- good.
Though a notoriously mediocre point-n-shooter, I undertook the job of family photographer this year because I now own a decent camera and we were going on a scenic week-long trip out West. The breathtaking, soul-enriching beauty of the Grand Canyon and such should surely override my technical ineptitude and my motley crew's many flaws, right?
Take 1: My daughter's eyes are closed. My son, obviously, needs some Ex-Lax.
Take 2: Mother Fletching snakes on a plane! You think one of them would have said something about this hat head of mine before I let that nice Korean couple who took this for us get back on their tour bus?
You'd also think with digital cameras having built-in monitors that you'd notice these basic flaws before you, say, hopped in a rental car and drove 5 hours to your next location. Well, you can. If you know how to use the zoom feature for those tiny 2.5-inch playback screens.
(Slaps head) Idiot!
With the biggest hole in the continental United States well behind us [Ed. Note: Insert your own Kim Kardashian joke here], it was on to Utah's Rainbow Bridge National Monument, the tallest natural stone arch in the world.
HUSBAND: You coming on to me?
WIFE: Uh ... the kids?
HUSBAND: Who? Oh, yeah. It's OK. My camera has a self-timer. I do know how to use that.
WIFE: Really? And how ...
HUSBAND: KIDS! GATHER 'ROUND FOR A PHOTO!
Based on our canyon photos, I first took a test shot.
Of my hair.
Hat on! Hat on!
WIFE: We're so tiny. No one's going to know that's us.
HUSBAND: You say that like it's a bad thing.
HUSBAND: That's a big hole.
WIFE: Will you get your mind off Kim Kardashian?
HUSBAND: We could stand closer to the camera, but I'm pretty certain we'll end up with a picture of cankles and knobby knees.
WIFE: Speak for your own cankles.
HUSBAND: I am.
SON: (mouth full of brown goo): I need to poop.
HUSBAND: AHHH! That's not chocolate!
Our last hope, unless we wanted to pose with showgirls and Elvis imitators in Las Vegas, was Zion National Park. I purposely didn't wear my hat the morning of our hike. Or let the boy eat anything.
HUSBAND: Yeah, but the sun washed out the background. I don't know the settings to correct that.
WIFE: Fix it in Photoshop.
HUSBAND: In Photoshop, I know how to eliminate red eyes, remove crow's feet and zits, and turn the word 'books' into 'boobs' but that's about it.
WIFE: But you know how to work the self-timer?
HUSBAND: KIDS! OVER BY THAT ROCK! HURRY!
HUSBAND: Stupid steep rock! Let me run back and adjust the timer.
WIFE: Our daughter's hat is swallowing her head.
HUSBAND: Forget that. Check out the huge space penis shadow on the right.
Desperate, my wife suggested my photographic fallback: putting the camera on the ground and shooting straight up.
HUSBAND: That sucks. ... Unless I can figure out how to force flash.
WIFE: Enough with the dirty talk.
HUSBAND: No. That's setting the flash to always get off -- go off. KIIIIIIDS!
HUSBAND: Polygamy Porter! I did it! Everyone gather 'round the camera!
WIFE: Crop out my thigh!
HUSBAND: Chill. Our son's eyes are closed again. ... Boy, you're not -- uh, warming up the big guns down below are you?
SON: Heh, heh. Heheheheheheh.
HUSBAND: Hurry, everyone. One more time!
DAUGHTER: This is BORRRR-rrrring. All we do is look at rocks and trees. I miss the Internet.
HUSBAND: Almost done. C'mon, everybody. It's vacation! Pretend we're having fun.
DAUGHTER: I can't have fun without my iPhone.
HUSBAND: Timer's going. Everyone do SOMETHING!
SON: Heh, heh. Heheheheheheh. That's. My. Butt. Heh, heh. Heheheheheheh.
WIFE: MY THIGH! CROPITOUTCROPITOUTCROPITOUT!
DAUGHTER (crying): I miss ... I miss 3G service!
HUSBAND: I'm done. Next photo goes on the Christmas card this year no matter how bad. Now @#$%ing smile, lunatics.
A professional painter.