A Picture for Grandpa that’s Worth More than $1 Million.


A Picture for Grandpa that’s Worth More than $1 Million.

Tomorrow while you’re sipping your morning coffee, think back to the last time your family had a professional family portrait. I don’t just mean Daddy’s little boy in a red wagon or Mommy’s blue-eyed Elizabeth graduating from kindergarten. Nor do I mean the quick shot the freelance photographer captured of your family dressed in spirit wear at lizzy’s winning soccer game. I mean a real family portrait.

Grandma and Grandpa always ask for pictures. In fact, the holiday gifts they probably love the most are coffee mugs or custom-made calendars featuring their loved ones. Photos are appreciated even more when you live 3,000 miles away from each other.

You’d think if you had an awesome photographer (like me) in your family, you’d be getting photos taken all the time, right? Wrong. My family is scattered across the United States from coast to coast. Our first family photo shoot EVER will be in 2016, when my grandparents celebrate their 50th anniversary (and yes, my calendar does go out that far).

Even if your extended family won’t be getting together for another two years either, maybe it’s a good idea to start planning now for a way to memorialize the event. Life is just too short to pass up an opportunity like that. And don’tforget to add me to your guest list.

My last family portrait session in California was 8 weeks ago, with a family group. I know, you’re wondering, why so long ago? No, I didn’t take the summer off, and I’m not a horrible businessperson. I went back to my New York hometown to visit my own family and offer them my creative services.

This family is your normal all-American family. Photogenic, especially when they’re all dressed in white shirts and blue jeans. One little redheaded boy with curly hair and one brother with blonde hair and blue eyes. We met at the beach bright and early in the morning. My enthusiasm helped to get the family motivated so that even the men had a good time. On our journey from one end of the beach to other, I was able to get to know the family and soon found out that this was the very first family portrait to include four generations.

At the end of our session, I sprang a surprise location on them. I had an intuition that I could get some special pictures there, and I was right. The men led the way down a steep 20-foot dirt trail. On the short walk, we came across a cave and many seashells that the kids found interesting.

I heard a little voice say with excitement, “Grandpa, Grandpa!” He had found crab claws. You may not think this would be a big deal, but it was. Even more of a big deal when the little boy held onto his claw like a puppy he would neverrelease. He was so proud of his claw that we had to stop and capture his excitement in a photo.

The rest of the family kept moving to the final destination, except for Grandpa. While I took the “fun” photos of the crab claw, Grandpa took me by surprise. As I held my camera in midair, he caught my eye and said softly, “Please make sure I get those pictures.” I felt a rush of emotions because my grandpa means so much to me, and I felt honored to be part of such a special occasion. Grandpa wouldn’t have traded this first, and possibly last, extended-family portrait session for a million dollars.