Kids, it’s Picture Day!
by Shawna Black

Kids, it’s picture day! Let’s go to the park. It’s time for Mom to take some portraits.

After my first kid was born, I did the same thing that moms all over America do. I went to the JC Penney Portrait Studio and had pictures taken of the little bundle of joy. Dress baby in some uncomfortable little outfit that Grandma bought (because you know that “someone” will be upset if you don’t have pictures taken in that “cute” little outfit that “someone” bought), load him in the car, feed him before we go into the studio so he doesn’t cry from starvation half way through the session, prop the kid up on some unnatural-looking platform, and then wait for 30 minutes for the kid to wake up because you just filled his belly and now he’s content and happy and fast asleep. Finally, the eyes open and the “professional photographer” gets a couple of shots. Maybe five. But then you’ve got to stop because baby is now grumpy from being prodded to wake up so his picture can be taken. Maybe one of the shots looks half way decent. Maybe. But now baby is crying and his diaper is wet and he’s just pissed at this point. You can almost hear the kid saying, “Mom, the photo shoot is now over!”

The pictures sucked. I swore I’d never do it again. I was caught in the “professional portrait” trap only once more – after my second kid was born. By the time the third kid came along, I no longer had any desire to have “professional” portraits taken of the new baby. I buy the school pictures of the boys only because I think it’s fun to line up those 8x10’s of each year to see how much the kids’ change. Even though the baby’s only two, I’m sure I’ll buy the school pictures of her, too.

As you may have surmised by this point, I take my own kid portraits. The picture this week is one of those portraits, of my two oldest kids, and one of my favorites of the boys together. I took this picture a little more than two years ago, right before the baby girl was born. In black and white, the boys look a lot alike to me. In color, the hair will throw you off – the older kid has bright red hair and the younger, very dark, almost black hair. (Yes, they have the same father – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked if they are true full brothers.) And the girl has dirty blonde hair – go figure.

OK, got off on a tangent there, sorry.

Back to the photo - what can I say? The exposure is good, the lighting is good, the depth of field is perfect and the print turned out great. The expression on the little one’s face, looking back at his brother through the corners of his eyes, is priceless.

No more JC Penney pictures for us. I do my own, thank you.


Shawna never tortures her kids with uncomfortable outfits.



On behalf of my client, J.C. Penny, we hearby issue you a cease and desist order against any more slanderous and uncalled for attacks against our client, J.C. Penny.

They are good people with a sadistic streak against little children.

While they have a somewhat weird obsession with torturing little children, it is by no means illegal or any reason to insult their good name in the photography industry.

Cute kids and good shot, shawna


It's not slander if it's true...



My kids are way past portrait age, but I take their holiday photos myself.

It gets harder as they get older. Trying to get a Christmas picture last year without my son making some obscene gesture behind his sister's back wasn't easy.


It's more real if you do it yourself anyway. Great capture of Riley's face.


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