family vacation photos

The Truth About Family Vacation Photos

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I’m horrible at family vacation photos.

Really at photos of any kind, but especially those that are intended to capture the loveliest of family memories.

Mainly because these are the extent of my photography skills…


vacation photos
Beautiful sunset. Panama City Beach, FL. October 2015.


I also really hate having my picture taken. Really, really hate it. It’s not just the awkwardness of it all, or the “looking at myself in photos and facing the realities of my age”, but I’m actually really terrible at the whole process. Here are some recent examples of me participating in a family photo shoot at the beach:

vacation photos
Here I look like my retinas are burning out of my head from the sun. BECAUSE THEY ARE.
It’s like this whole family picture thing is very confusing for me.
vacation photos
Here I’m totally aware of the fact that we’re taking pictures. Absolutely paying attention like everyone else.


So this is the time of year where all the over achievers are already ordering holiday cards and photo albums. Another area where I’m an epic failure.

Last Christmas I used a photo for our cards that was evidently of poor quality, and the online program kept trying to tell me to choose another photo, but I was all, “just take my stupid photo! It’s the 11th hour and I need to order some cards!”

I’m pretty sure we impressed a lot of people with that card.

Don’t misunderstand me for what I’m about to say, but do you ever wish we could all update each other with a Christmas card (or even our social media posts), where our pictures show what’s actually going on in our lives?

I’ll see posts of snuggly, beautiful couples and then “out of the blue” they’re splitting up?

Or pictures of smiling teenagers. This is at best an anomaly.

What about the moms of newborns? You haven’t slept in months, how do you look like that???

How refreshing would it be to see cards of the family getting ready for the Christmas picture, rather than the final shot? The one where you’re bribing the toddler with animal crackers so that he’ll sit still, and promising the tween-aged girl that “of course she’ll get to see the proofs before we pick one, because OMG people are going to see this and you always pick the ones where she looks ugly”.

I’m not starting a revolution here. Trust me, my Christmas card will still try to imply that we have a lot less crazy going on than we really do.

For those of you already planning your Christmas cards and gifts with your cute kids and pets plastered all over them, Shutterfly, Inc. is ready to hook you up. 

And if anyone has funny, realistic family photos that you don’t mind sharing with me, please email them to and I’ll choose some to share on my blog!


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