Getting that perfect picture when all family members are looking into the camera at the exact moment is difficult for every family. Yet time and time again throughout the year parents are optimistically trying to do the impossible and capture that one moment when every member of the family looks picture perfect. Some of these occasions include seasonal changes, family gatherings, and for some lucky families it means professional portraits. By professional portraits, I mean the set of photos that are etched in time and proudly displayed throughout homes across the country for all to see for years to come. These portraits highlight a pinnacle stage for families with the goal to have friends and family bask in a family’s glorious moment, while trying not to stumble as they walk up a flight of stairs. Yep, these photos represent a family’s badge of honor.
We did what most families do, we hired a professional photographer to take our family photos. We didn’t just choose any photographer we chose an amazing photographer. We knew in advance this was going to be expensive, but hey we wanted to document our family history. We warned the photographer in advance that our daughter had autism. During the session there were lots of, “hey look at me,” and “look at the camera.” We didn’t think much of it at the time, because this is probably normal for small children. When we went to our viewing session our photographer informed us that she normally takes about 200 to 500 photos per session; however she took over a 1000 photos in our session to ensure we had a handful of good photos. This is when reality sets in for an autistic family, we didn’t have a lot of photos to choose from. With a little bit of compromise, we got some of the semi-staircase quality photos that we were looking for.
Being an amateur parent photographer, the challenge is even more difficult. Ah who am I kidding, it is downright frustrating. For example, after taking numerous of photos, you believe you will be able to pick from at least a couple that will be worthwhile. That’s when you realize you may not be able to capture the moment. A picture-perfect collage isn’t going to happen, it’s like seeing a flying unicorn on the 4thof July. There are only a couple photos to choose from and even some of those don’t all have eyes on the camera. You bite the bullet and select photos that aren’t too noticeable, and post the best of the worst on social media (deep down you know eyes are astray.)
It has taken some time, we have finally accepted the fact that we may never have a “Picture Perfect” family photo hanging on our staircase but we are okay with it. Our photos represent who we are, imperfection and all. The next time you trek up a flight of stairs to take a closer look at family photos, accept autism and its photographic imperfections.
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