You see it everywhere today—people capturing the world around them using their phones, whether it’s a concert, sports event, school play, or any family gathering. To be clear: there is absolutely nothing wrong with that picture (pun intended). It’s wonderful that people can capture memories so easily and conveniently on the go.
However, when it comes to capturing a permanent memento—one you want to hang on your wall for generations to contemplate in years to come—there’s nothing like a professional portrait. A quick iPhone snap just can’t replicate the technology available to a professional Chicago family portrait photographer or all the years of experience a trained professional brings to the table.
So absolutely, keep taking those amazing on-the-fly iPhone shots, but also take a minute to read why it’s a great idea to also engage a professional photographer to complement your own photographs.
1. Document Memories Permanently
Sure, you can print out high-quality iPhone shots. But let’s face it—they’re not going to be the same quality as pictures done in a professional studio. Why does that matter? Because it’s the little details that you want to capture and preserve for posterity. Family pictures are time capsules of sorts. While you’ll enjoy them in the moment they’re taken, down the road your grandkids (and maybe great grandkids!) and their families will undoubtedly ask about the family history. What better way to share stories than by pairing them with a wonderful portrait?
A professional photographer can help you capture a moment that you want to share in time someday, from the background to the poses to suggestions about what you’re wearing to ensure that you and your family are best represented in your picture. Then, after your family portrait has been professionally captured, it will be printed on materials that won’t fade or yellow over time like a normal snapshot would. That way it’ll be almost as crisp and fresh in 50 years as the day it was taken and will give your future family members a real window in that special moment in time. Let’s face it: these portraits will be part of your legacy, artwork heirlooms to be shared throughout the decades, and therefore they need to be of the highest quality, so they last forever.
2. Create a Visual Timeline
Yes, you want a beautiful family portrait for future generations. But you also want it for yourself, so you don’t forget all those little moments that happen so fast they’re gone before you even realize it. Your child taking a first step. Meeting Santa for the first time. Losing a tooth. Going to the prom. Driving away in their first car to head to college. It happens in the blink of an eye and a wonderful way to make sure those special moments are indelibly etched in literal ink is to have a professional family portrait done each year. That way you can capture one unique moment in each year of your lives together, which represents all the growth that has occurred.
Think about how much fun you have looking at friends’ family portraits and smiling at the changes in fashion, scenery, etc. over the years. Yearly family portraits will serve as forever reminders of who you and your loved ones were at key moments and who you eventually became.
3. Don’t Know What You’ve Got Till It’s Gone
It’s a sad truth—life happens, and not always in the happiest of ways. Precious mementos get destroyed. People pass away. And you may not even know you wish you had a concrete, physical memory to hold in your hands until it vanishes in a flash. It’s yet another reason why having family portraits is so vital—after you lose a loved one, you’ll realize how much you wish you had beautiful pictures that clearly show all the wonderful times you spent together. Whether done in studio or at a picturesque Chicago location, family portraits will bring a smile to your face and help you keep those special memories vividly alive every day as you walk by them where they hang in pride of place.
4. Nothing says HOME like a Family Portrait
Modern art is beautiful and has a place in any house, for sure. But if you think about the warmest, coziest homes, they always also have family portraits hanging up. That’s because nothing can replicate the feeling of looking at a picture and getting that feeling of belonging, of rootedness in family and love. It shows people what you value most and can brighten the darkest day as you glance over and remember the happy moment when that photograph was taken.
5. Family Portraits are Great for Kids!
Kids need to feel a sense of belonging—that’s a basic psychological fact. And having consistent, visible evidence of special moments helps them to develop a sense of being well-grounded in the love of those who care for them most. Being a part of a family portrait gives your children the knowledge that they are part of a bigger whole, a family that deeply cares for them and will always be there through the best of times and worst.
While a phone backdrop is great, there’s just nothing like having a physical picture to touch and hold to make a memory fully multisensory. Taking family portraits and making a tradition of spending time every so often looking at them with your kids and talking about them, even looking into the future when your children will have their own adult portraits done, is a very special moment.
6. Getting a Family Portrait Done is Fun!
It really is, no matter what you may be thinking about the chaos of rounding up all the kids, choosing the outfits, getting everyone to smile, etc.All those moments are just part of the overall wonderful memory. A professional photographer will guide you through the shoot and make it a joyful, fun time that will only add to the memories you and your family already share. You’ll find yourself looking forward to having your portrait done each year!
7. Life Goes Fast
We said it before, but it bears repeating: life happens in a flash. If you sit around always thinking “oh, I’ll get a portrait done next year … next year … I just haven’t exercised enough … my hair doesn’t look right … I don’t know if we can coordinate everyone’s schedules” eventually it will be too late. In addition to all the usual life events that bring families together and apart, in this day and age it’s very common for people to move far away and so it becomes that much harder to bring everyone together for a picture. The moments will have passed and you won’t have them to remember except at the back of your mind, where time is sure to eventually erode them.
Don’t let that happen to you. Take the time to really think about the value of family portraits and consider booking an appointment with a professional photographer today so down the road, you’ll always have those memories right in front of you to cherish. We can promise that someday, your kids will want to have those pictures to look at, and even if it takes a bit of effort to bring everyone together, it will be worth it down the road. Make a family portrait a tradition that becomes part of the fabric of your lives! Start today.
I’m a Chicago-based professional family portrait photographer with years of family portrait experience. Please look over my Chicago Family Portraits Section for information and samples of my family and children’s portrait work, and book your session today.