Family Looking Up

Support for the hardest, lowest paid job... MOTHERHOOD

Essential Tips and Tricks For Taking Amazing Family Pictures – Guest Kristen Duke. Episode 72.

As I write this I am vacationing in Mexico with my husband and two oldest kids!  Because of how our kids are spaced we decided to take them two-at-a-time on a special trip with mom and dad while they are in high school.  So, this episode is pretty much perfect for my life right now. Kristen Duke is here to talk with us about the essential tips and tricks for taking amazing family pictures!  

One thing that is really important to me is to take lots of pictures of the experiences of our lives so that we can always remember the stories.  For instance, we flew from Salt Lake City to Los Angeles and from there we were scheduled to fly to Mexico.  

My two kids waiting in Salt Lake City for the flight.  Don’t they look happy? Full of hopes and dreams and carry-on luggage!

In Salt Lake City, as we literally were walking onto the plane, they told us that we were not going to be allowed to keep our carry-ons because the overhead bins were full.  They told us to remove what we needed and they slapped a tag on our bags and whisked them away.

Not So Fast Amigo

I didn’t think that should be much of a problem (as long as our bags actually made it to Mexico), but I reconsidered my calmness about the situation when, as we landed in Los Angeles for a 1 hour layover, my son informed me that he had left his passport in his carry on bag.  “No bueno” as they would say in Mexico!!! No bueno at all! His bag was in the process of being moved from the cargo hold of one plane to the next. We raced through the LA airport (muy grande) and arrived at our next gate only to find a line. A VERY LONG line.

We waited, prayed, and waited some more. My husband left to go find someone to ask questions to.  We kept praying. Every employee who was apprised of the situation made the face you make when your tooth has a cold sensitivity and you bite ice (complete with the sharp intake of breath).  It was bad. (Muy mal, senors y senoritas, muy mal indeed). We knew we would not board that plane without his passport, and his passport (along with all of our other luggage), was headed for Mexico.  Ay caramba!

Finally we came to the front of the line.  Bueno! Our plight was explained. The attendant helping us looked horrified at our situation and was in the middle of telling us we were out of luck when the attendant next to her overheard and told her to call a “Red Coat” and see if they could get the bag.  I had absolutely NO IDEA how a British Revolutionary War soldier fit into this story, but if they could help I cared not!!

The Red Coat

We were told to wait to the side.  Time ticked on and no British soldier showed.  The plane was leaving in 30 minutes. 20 minutes.  15 minutes and finally a Red Coat! I was surprised to see a tiny Asian woman.  I had no idea that is what the British army was comprised of! She was brought up to speed on “THAT” family.  (How had we become THAT FAMILY again?!?)  She shook her head showing her lack of hope that any human being could help us get that passport and make the fight UNTIL the greatest thing since cheesecake happened….our flight was delayed!  I have never been so grateful for a delayed flight in my LIFE! Now that tiny British soldier was up for the challenge!! “Go tiny Red Coat!!! GO!!”

She asked for a description of the bag so she could find it in the underbelly of the plane.  I was relieved that at least it was an uncommon color. Black….with black wheels… and a black handle….easy right?!  She looked skeptical about tracking it down, but still persevered. Rapido muchachito!

The next 15 minutes were intense.  We prayed, searched for the tiny Red Coat, prayed some more. Finally she appeared with the passport!!!!  We could not believe it! After much thanks and a stern lecture from the tiny one about never doing that again, we finally we got in the line to get our seating assigned.  The kind attendant that had saved our bacon in the first place by suggesting the use of a Red Coat was the one to assign us seats. She took pity on us (I think she could tell that we had developed several stomach ulcers over the course of the last hour).  Our seating was upgraded and we were assigned seats next to each other. What an hour!!


As we began to decompress in line we started laughing and sharing  what each of our silent prayers and feverish thoughts had been. We were SO HAPPY to be together, to be getting on that plane, and for kind attendants and  a determined little Red Coat. Life was good. I suddenly remembered that I NEVER wanted to forget that moment so we made sure to snap a quick family picture.

Notice how red my poor son’s face was after this ordeal.  Life lessons learned.

Now, I know that both of these pictures are NOT what anyone would call “family pictures,” at least not the kind that we frame and hang in the front room.  However, the principle is the same. Life is made of so many moments. And those moments are comprised of emotions, experiences, and each other. Are we doing anything to make sure we remember them or are they just passing us by?

Enter Kristen Duke

One thing I could be much better at is taking family pictures more often.  Either the hassle, the money, or the 20 pounds I’d like to lose always seems to get in the way.   This weeks’ podcast interview with Kristen Duke was enlightening to me and I think it will be for you as well.  She talked with us about all the essential tips and tricks for taking amazing family pictures. She hit topics like how to choose clothes (what clothes are the most flattering on camera), how to choose a color combination for your pictures, what time of day is the best for pictures, how to choose a location that will stand out, what things you should consider when taking pictures at home, what you can expect a session to cost and so much more!  

I hope you will enjoy this interview and start planning your next family pictures.  In the meantime, I need uno mas Pepsi Lite por favor (they don’t have Diet Dr. Pepper here…..such a hardship…).

Your friend in the mess,


Mom Squad Challenge

Take a selfie with each one of your children this week.

To Learn More About Kristen Duke:

Visit her on Instagram @Capturingjoy

Or listen to her podcast “Beyond Good Intentions”.

2 Comment

  1. I loved this episode! It was so helpful in taking some of the stress out of the details of family pictures. Also, I totally took the challenge and took a selfie with each of my children AND my mom and dad too. Life is too short to fret about wrinkles, bad hair or extra lbs. We are here! We are doing this life thing and we need pictures to prove it! 😉

    1. Yes! So true! it’s tragic how focused we can become on all the unimportant things and forget to show that we were here living and loving!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.