Monday, December 29, 2008

If You Chance to Meet a Frown

There are a multitude of natural laws that govern family life. For instance:

*If you mop your kitchen floor, someone will—before the sun sets—spill his juice.

Last year when we took a family snapshot for the Christmas cards (we didn’t take one this year—we haven’t changed that much), we combed our hair, dressed in sort-of-coordinated clothes and herded everyone into the backyard. We were, of course, operating under the regulations imposed by the Law of Family Photos, the first of which reads:

*In any photograph containing four or more people, a minimum of one person must, for any given shot, have a goofy look on his or her face.

We had seven people in our photo, five of whom aren’t old enough to vote, so we were definitely subject to this law. We took a bunch of pictures, downloaded them, and evaluated the results. Take your choice—the manic chipmunk look, the “we are not amused” look, the winking look, the hand-over-face look, the nearly-closed-eyes look and—my personal favorite—the Fish Lips. Apparently someone was getting bored, which brings up the Second Law of Family Photos:

*If you speak the words “Just stand still and smile and we’ll be done with this!” then any child under the age of ten will interpret these words to mean, “Hey, you! Act like a crazed weasel!”

Actually, the kids did quite well, all things considered and several of the photos weren't bad. But given that we didn’t get one really good shot, my husband—who had apparently been snorting Froot Loops—mentioned that we could try again the next day. We quickly nixed that idea. Why go through the photo shoot ordeal when you can . . . Photoshop!

Truth be told, I can’t Photoshop—don’t know a thing about it. But my sister can. I e-mailed her what I thought was the best of the pictures. All of us fell somewhere on the not-bad range in that shot, but my older son had a very solemn look on his face. He was smiling in other shots, so I sent her one of those reject shots along with the good one. In a techno-version of the "smile-that-frown away" song of Primary fame, she replaced the frowny face with a smiley one.

I also asked her if she could change the color of one daughter’s shirt. This shirt had bold white stripes, and I worried that maybe it was too striking compared to the solids everyone else was wearing. My sister fixed the shirt, laboring to darken the white stripes so they didn’t stand out so much. She sent me the finished picture and I decided that I liked the white stripes better after all, and asked her to change it back, after which she sent me a rotten tomato in the mail and placed a curse on me and my descendants.

Just kidding. She said that, luckily for me, she’d saved her layer shots—I’m not sure what that means, but I sense that it’s important—and she promptly sent me the picture with the smiling son and the white stripes. Isn’t she a genius?

If we take a family photo next year, I think I’ll just send my sister random photos of family members taken at different points in the year and she can arrange us in portrait formation. And maybe she can give me toned abs in the process.


Jennie said...

Uh, we had some of those photo shoots too, but alas no sister who photoshops. It's funny how much we all love some of those wacky photos from years gone by. It's only when the pictures are current that we're horrified by the goofy antics, dour faces, and cross-eyed four-year-olds.

Primarymary said...

Our last family portrait was photoshopped. It is the only way to do family portraits with a big family. One of my goals this year is to learn to use photoshop.

Julie Wright said...

Oh Oh! If she can photoshop your abs, let me know! Family photos are evil.

Gale Sears said...

Very funny blog, Miss Stephanie!
Our small family of four has had its share of goofy photographs, and your story brought great memories of the fun and chaos. Thanks!

Jeri Gilchrist said...

Our family photos consist of Brad missing because he's the photographer, Bryan posing as either a super hero or the vilian-depending on the mood-it changes from second to second and me hiding behind anything that will, well, hide me. As you can imagine, we have some brilliant family photos. I need to check out how to work photoshop and then find out how to crop in the all the "right places" that I don't approve of on me. Wish we could do that in real life! Loved the blog, Stephanie!