Why Emotional and Connection Photos Are Just As Valuable as “Christmas Card Photos”

January 7, 2022

As a mom, and a lover of Christmas cards, I LOVE the photos where my whole family is looking and smiling at the camera. I love them, and as a photographer I know how important it is to get a few in each location of photos JUST like that. And to be honest, when I get a gallery back from my own family’s session, I look for those first!

But as our family has grown up, I find myself looking back on old galleries and tearing up at the photos where NO ONE is looking at the camera. I tear up at the ones with Grady’s head resting on my shoulder, or Blakeslee laughing up at Sean, or even Sean and I laughing at each other through our camera-awkwardness. These are the photos that SHOW love. 

I of course want to remember what our faces looked like at each stage – every photographer always gets those photos. But what I know I will cherish most 20, 30, or 50 years from now, are the ones where I can see FEEL what it was like to love and be loved by my family. The photos that show connection and emotion in the moment are the ones that are going to bring that connection and emotion back when you see them years later. I don’t know about you… but I want to always feel all feels. 

So, as a mom, how do you make sure your photographer is going to capture lots of emotional photos of you and your babies? You know he or she will get the Christmas card photos of course, but how can you trust that your photographer will freeze all your cuddles and love into a photo that will last forever (and make you ugly cry when those babies are big)? 

Here are 3 things you can do to make sure your photographer will capture ALL the emotional photos: 

1. STALK. THEIR. WORK. First, head to their website and see if you can see full sessions. You’ll get a good picture (LOL see what I did there) of what types of photos they like to take. If all the galleries are full of everyone looking at smiling at the camera, just in different locations… I would evaluate if this is what you truly want! You can head to their Instagram or Facebook to look for proof, too. 

2. Read their reviews online! You want to make sure that other clients are comfortable enough to show their emotions in front of the photographer, and you can absolutely tell how clients feel about them in their reviews. If the reviews say “Dana did a good job.”… maybe that’s a sign that they weren’t blown out of the water. See if there are any that say specifically that they were made comfortable, or that the awkwardness of being in front of the camera disappeared. 

3. Ask the photographer! You can absolutely put in your inquiry something like, “ I, of course, want photos of everyone smiling at the camera, but how do you set the tone for more candid and emotional shots? I would love to hear more about how you value these.” (If you actually write that in an inquiry, your photographer will probably cry tears of joy on the spot lolol). 

Doing all three of these things combined is going to make sure that you have photos that can be blown up on your walls for years to come… and bring those teary smiles to your face time after time, year after year. 

Now, let’s put some proof in these words! Below are side by sides of a picture of the family looking and smiling at the camera, and one of them making SUCH connections with each other. Each are valuable, and I took and delivered both of course, but which one would you blow up on your wall? Which one would make you remember those feelings 30 years from now? Do NOT miss out on having your love and connections documented; one day, it’s all you’ll have. 

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