Be on the Right End of the Camera
Awkward family portraits. We see them, we laugh at them… but danger lurks around every corner. For you know, deep in the dark place in your mind where you never go, that somewhere, somehow, and at the worst possible time… someone will find the photos of the Rainbow Bright themed birthday party you were sure the other boys in your Boy Scout troop would think was just the coolest.
We cannot erase the past, but we can safeguard our future. Here are some tips to make sure that when it comes to awkward family portraits, you remain the laugher, and never the laughee.
1. Clothing Choice. Some of the most embarrassing family photos come from a simple lack of wardrobe sense. Matching clothing is never a good idea, and themes are right out too. Sweaters should not be too hideous, and family pets should not be ridden, hoisted, or given hats of any kind. If clothing choice is out of your control, do not attempt to convey your disapproval through facial expressions. The damage is done. A frown, a scowl, or a silly face will only strengthen the awful longevity of the photo. Smile obliviously and hope for the best.
2. Pose Selection. Do not stack your family. Do not make your pregnant wife stand on her head. Put just a little extra thought into your posture as you stand behind your horse. Choose props that will make sense in the context of your surroundings… If you feel strongly that a shotgun makes for funny holiday pictures, then maybe someone else should wear the Santa suit this time around. Tap dancing is unilaterally frowned upon.
3. The Complete Stranger Test. If you have any suspicions, no matter how slight, that your photo could conceivably end up in an awkward family photos book, seek assistance immediately. Friends can often be a reliable sounding board, but if your situation warrants it, you may need more drastic measures. Randomly flash your photo in the faces of strangers on the street. If their first reaction, before surprise, outrage, or confusion, is uproarious laughter and a mad scrambling for their camera phone, convince them to sign a nondisclosure agreement and quickly exit the area.
If you have been the victim of awkward family portraits, there are steps you can take. Burn the negatives, bribe your friends, and expressly forbid the offending brainstormer from offering any future ideas for family pictures. Never let awkward family photos happen to you.