By: Jennifer Murray

I RESOLVE….

….to take higher quality pictures in 2008!

I have a real love for photography, but really haven’t vested the time or energy into improving my novice skills. Thanks to an anniversary present, I’m hopeful to capture some great shots of the kiddos in 2008.

So here’s the dilemma….pay BIG $$$$ for 1st bday professional pictures or take my own shots?????? Will I regret not having the real prints someday – or is it too much stress to try and get shots of 4 mobile babies at a studio or maybe it’s too crazy to try at home? Plus, we’d have to leave the Casa de la Quarantine and risk the germs….ahhhhhh – decisions!!!

I’ve got about a month to practice, if I go for home shots- so I’d love some tips/critics/advise from you, my readers!

29 Days Until Birthday Numero Uno (Holy Moly!)

Brooks (gotta love those eyes)

Isaac (the smile that lights up the room)
Henry (such a sweet little mouth)

Clark (cheeks that are beggin’ to be kissed)

42 Responses to “I RESOLVE….”

  1. Andria
    January 3, 2008 at 12:27 pm #

    I think you take awesome pictures! Advice….just take LOTS of them, you’re bound to get some you like! I get frustrated with camera settings, perfect lighting, etc, then throw in the cooperative kids (and I only have 2!) It’s tough training the kids to “like” the camera (and the mom too!). Good luck! Keep on snappin’!

  2. Anonymous
    January 3, 2008 at 12:41 pm #

    I am a fellow mom from the monoamniotic website and have been following you since the birth! Your boys are beautiful.

    My advice for pictures is go get them done. I have cherished all my shots with my kids (20 month old twins and a 4 year old son) and they come out so well. Yes, it will be crazy but so worth it. I would hate for you to look back in a few years and regret it. They only turn 1 once. You can go to Sears, Walmart, JcPennys for not that much money and they do wonderful shots.

  3. Anonymous
    January 3, 2008 at 1:16 pm #

    Hello ~ I am new to your site. Came to it through ^Jack’s^. Just wanted to say that your boys are adorable!! I loved the highlights of 2007 blog. You are very creative and a fantastic mom. I will be back to check on your beautiful babies. God Bless you.

    Julie http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/hayden

  4. Anonymous
    January 3, 2008 at 1:29 pm #

    Professional Portraits really do showcase children. With the carefully neutral backdrops you see them at their best/worst. I purchased my daughter both smiley/screaming because they are priceless. Short of setting up your own studio with proper lighting and a neutral background I think that taking them in is the way to go.

    However what if you made several appointments… Take each of the boys individually and have their portraits done.

  5. Carrie
    January 3, 2008 at 2:16 pm #

    I have a friend that dabbles in photography that takes pictures of my twin boys, but my mom and sister wanted to get professional pics taken for their first birthday. Honestly, the candids that my friend takes are so much better than the expensive ones! We do try and stage them a bit, but she also just captures them interacting with each other. You could try your own and if you can’t get a shot that you love, then get professional ones done. Or just give one of the less expensive studios a try. Your boys are so adorable, it won’t matter who takes them- they are sure to be cute!

  6. Drea
    January 3, 2008 at 4:06 pm #

    I think your photos look beautiful! If I lived near you Id do the shoot for you at a very affordable rate. I mean really who could pass up photographing those 4!
    I charge 25 a child and that includes the copy write to all your prints. So you can get as many printed as you’d like.

    Their so cute!

  7. Drea
    January 3, 2008 at 4:09 pm #

    Ow! and tips for photographing.
    Get a good camera.
    use natural lighting. most of my shoots are done outside. Or next to a Huge window w/ lots of light coming in.
    If you want a backdrop go to wally world (aka walmart) and purchase a $2.50 flat sheet in the color of your choice. I use black and white mostly. It works wonderfully and you can get some great shots out of it.
    I double layer my sheets if its black.

    Hope that helps.

  8. Career.Nanny
    January 3, 2008 at 4:36 pm #

    Hello! Taking your own shots is a great idea – You’ll get completely different expressions and responses from your children than a photographer would, but then, maybe that’s what makes a photographer so appealing, getting a different side of your babies than your used to.

    In the past we’ve found really talent photographers on Craigslist. There are a few for Indiana and you could check them out here, http://geo.craigslist.org/iso/us/in
    There are loads of aspiring photographers with real talent usually offering their services for next to nothing, sometimes for free actually just improve their portfolios. If it is possible, oh, Indiana, probably not, I was going to suggest an outdoor shoot as you wouldn’t know the person. But you could ask for references.

    You can definitely get some great shots yourself too. If you are really dying for professional shots and CL sounds too risky, try looking for local promotions. You might even contact a local photographer. As drea said photographing your boys would be an opportunity, privilege and an honor for any photographer.

    Either way I’m sure you’ll get beautiful shots of your adorable boys. Have fun!

  9. Suzanne
    January 3, 2008 at 4:47 pm #

    hey woman! i would say, practice practice practice…but when it all comes down to it, i would spend the money to have them professionally done. you can make faces at them and get them to smile at you without your face being hidden behind the camera lens…doesn’t work so well with MY babies. i’ve found that they take cuter pics when someone ELSE is taking the shot, and i am dancing around all goofy and making them smile! but it is YOUR call! these pics that you took are BEAUTIFUL!

  10. Lady Why
    January 3, 2008 at 7:15 pm #

    I vote to take your own. Your pictures are terrific and I have found that I like the pictures I take better than the ones done at a studio. Plus, there is the germ factor! I’m a complete germ phobic mommy in the winter time!!

    Those are some super cuties you’ve got there!

  11. Barbara Manatee
    January 3, 2008 at 8:43 pm #

    Good luck practicing! I’ve always wanted to play around more with photography, but never taken the time to really do so. Here’s one suggestion if you end up not taking your own – seek out a photographer who will come to you! We did that for our 6 month photos and Hayley came to our house and was there all day doing shots of whatever – different spots, outfits, combos, etc – she was super flexible if we needed to take a break to feed them or even nap, etc. They are most comfortable in their usual surroundings and you don’t have to worry about germs either! If you’re interested, click on the Live Laugh Love link on my blog and you can see her work – she might know someone in your area…I’m sure she networks! good luck!

  12. Sarah Reaves
    January 3, 2008 at 9:26 pm #

    Jen–
    I was most thrilled with JCPenny (though I went to Terre Haute, not Indy). Target in Avon did a decent job…but it was Christmas time and SO busy.
    I think your shots are beautiful…but don’t want you to regret anything by not trying. My mom and mom-in-law were very understanding of the cost and I told them that I was going to get the pictures and just give them a 3 1/2 X 5 and if they wanted to order others they could. You usually get a not-so-good quality print out to make your choices, but I think they can get online as well…it’s been so long (Kim’s been doing Caeleigh’s the past 2 years) and I haven’t done any for a year (besides school pics). My mom and Shirley then ordered for their brothers/sisters/parents/etc.

    Sorry I didn’t make it over during my break…but Caeleigh started with a stomach bug (22nd through the 26th) and then I had it! FUN!

    Hope to see you soon!

  13. Felicity
    January 3, 2008 at 9:41 pm #

    *de-lurking*
    I would be surprised if there wasn’t a local photographer willing to take the boy’s pictures for free just to have them included in their portfolio. I mean how often does one get a chance to photograph such adorable little quads! You’ve got nothing to lose by calling up a few places, even if they aren’t willing, most have contacts for other (maybe less experienced) photographers. =)

  14. Stephanie
    January 3, 2008 at 9:41 pm #

    If they’re going to look like these, take your own! These are awesome. :)

  15. Krystyn
    January 3, 2008 at 9:59 pm #

    Keep experimenting and see what happens the next couple of days. The ones you have are great. It seems like you’ve captured them at their finest and expressing their most notable faces.

    I’ve done both my own and the studio, and even though my daughter was teething and miserable, they still got several good ones.

    However, I would call around and see if somebody is willing to give you a deal!

    Good luck with your decision.

  16. Tony & Jaimie
    January 3, 2008 at 10:50 pm #

    ok, to be totally honest, when i first pulled up the blog this evening for a brief second i thought that picture of Brooks, i think that was the first pic…i thought was Matthew! They are def related :) great pics girl, keep ’em coming.

    JZ

  17. Vicky
    January 3, 2008 at 11:24 pm #

    I’d say save the money, save the germ-exposure, save the hassle and take your own. What are the chances that all four will be happy and at their photo-taking best at the exact moment you happen to schedule an appointment? At home, you can take the pictures whenever they are having a good day and looking adorable. You take great pictures… I’ve thought so before this post.

  18. Anonymous
    January 4, 2008 at 12:53 am #

    I love your family. I wish you had the time to blog every hour…
    I have twins that are 17 months. I also have a 6 year old. When I went through everything to have my babies, I told me husband all I wanted was to have my babies’s first year photographed. I didn’t do it with my first (not sure why after waiting 11 years) but I love my gallery of pictures that remind me just how far we have come as a family. My photographer came to my house and took pictures of all of us. She also offers a package that she films you for a few hours…think how fun it would be to not just have pictures of the boys posing but of you bathing, feeding, playing with the boys etc. I am sure there is a photographer who would love to spend the day with you and your 5 wonderful guys. Good Luck and can’t wait to see the results.
    We live in Dallas. We also got small smash cakes for them to eat with birthday hats on and just their diapers or shorts.

    Suzanne

  19. Anonymous
    January 4, 2008 at 8:09 am #

    I would say to get the first bday pics done at a studio. We had our twins’ 1st bday pics taken in Nov at Picture People and they turned out awesome and it was easier to get them situated just how I wanted them and have someone else manning the camera.

  20. Anonymous
    January 4, 2008 at 8:12 am #

    We did professional pictures every month for the first 2 years and haven’t regretted it, now we’re going to do every 3 months for awhile.

  21. Karen
    January 4, 2008 at 10:06 am #

    I think you take great shots but I would say get them done professionally. You won’t regret it. I just went to Portrait Innovations and they were wonderful! At least go get one professionally done of all 4 at once:) Your boys are just darling!

  22. Shauna
    January 4, 2008 at 12:46 pm #

    I love your blog – thanks for commenting on mine! Your boys are so beautiful! You know I will be stalking you now!! :) Have a great day!

  23. Anonymous
    January 4, 2008 at 1:21 pm #

    I say go for the professional pics – even if you just get one or two. Also, professional photographers will often come to your location (especially for quads – it isn’t something they get to do very often) to do pics – which would relieve you from having to pack the kids up and take them out (exposing them to germs).

    Best wishes.

    KS Dallas

  24. Veronica @ Luv My Quiver Full Of Arrows
    January 4, 2008 at 8:41 pm #

    OOOH, Jen, you are gifted at taking wondeful shots…however, I think that you won’t regret having someone other than yourself take the pro. shots. You can also take some yourself that day. I think someone else mentioned the fact that you would be able to make the funny faces, etc, if you are not the one behind the camera. Either way, you will be blessed! It seems your boys are quite the HAMS!

    In Christ,
    Veronica

  25. Laney
    January 4, 2008 at 10:51 pm #

    Hi! I found your blog through another MOM’s blog. I have triplets and love reading other Mommy’s with multiples blogs! Your babes are so gorgeous! Cheers to a happy new year!
    Laney gliser.net

  26. Anonymous
    January 5, 2008 at 1:12 am #

    I think I take pretty good pictures of my boys, and I know you’all take great pictures of your boys — so I would say go for it. But my best pictures of my almost 3 yr old twins are from their school (daycare). I haven’t been anywhere around, and yet they come out great. Do both.
    Christine

  27. shergzus
    January 5, 2008 at 12:03 pm #

    You’ve received so many great ideas. I must say the pictures you’ve taken so far have been amazing…so if cost is the biggest factor in determining what to do….then take your own and take lots of them. You are sure to get some really great ones to choose from.
    I took Keeley’s Senior pictures myself with her own Digital Camera (was an early graduation present). She is soo photogenic that we had so many pictures of her that turned out so well that it was hard to choose which one to use. Plus I used a photoshop type program to crop and adjust tint/lighting, turn them into black and whites etc. But one word of advice. If you do choose to take your own, I wouldn’t print them on my own printer. Instead, create a picture cd and take them to Walmart, Target, etc. and tell them to use their highest quality paper and process to develop them with. It should take them a little longer to process, but it’ll be worth the extra wait.
    We had Josh’s Senior pictures taken at Sears. They turned out fine, but I have to say that the ones I did of Keeley are actually better because we weren’t limited to a studio setting and backdrop. We just didn’t feel that a professional studio was worth that kind of expense when pictures become dated so fast. So many photographers these days are taking such exotic/sexy looking pictures of Seniors now and we didn’t want that at all.
    Josh & Jess would probably advise you to do it yourself. They hated all the pictures of the two of them that their professional photographer took. So they re-rented the tux and went to Sears six weeks after the wedding and had pictures made of just the two of them. They turned out amazing!
    Whatever you choose to do, I’m sure it will turn out great.

    <3
    Sher

  28. Anonymous
    January 5, 2008 at 1:55 pm #

    Find a KIDDIE KANDIDS in your area! They give a free 8×10 during the month of a child’s birthday. With our four kiddos (soon to be five) I just take them every year to get a free birthday picture. We get family and group shots at Sears. I take tons of pictures on my own, but I love being able to have annual professional pictures of my children taken (at no cost!) And the pictures always turn out beautifully!

    Melissa :)
    http://www.withasmile.wordpress.com

  29. Anonymous
    January 5, 2008 at 2:13 pm #

    Id say….since you do such a great job taking pictures of your boys, if you can use the extra bucks….take them yourself and there is like a website photopipe.com that has wonderful quality pretty cheap. God will bless you for spending your money wisely! I just think you do a wonderful job with your kids and I dont think you will regret it! I admire you using your talented skill and sharing the priceless photos with us. Keep up the great work momma!

  30. Anonymous
    January 5, 2008 at 10:08 pm #

    The boys are adorable and no matter who does the pictures, they will be awesome!

    Check out this blog: http://babiesbum.blogspot.com/
    They are a new set of triplets at St. Vincent Women’s! Sure you could share your experiences!

  31. Calonder Crew
    January 5, 2008 at 10:22 pm #

    I have always had my two older boys pictures taken professionally. When we had the triplets, we invested in a very nice digital camera and I tried doing it. I actually am pretty proud of a lot of the pictures I have taken because I can capture the “real” child. For their first birthday, though, I do want to get them done professionally. I haven’t yet and I think I will. I think whatever you do will be great, because it will still be their pictures (and you take awesome pictures!).

    I use a white flat sheet on the backside of a couch and put them in front of it on the floor and get down with them. I both use the flash and don’t and I take literally 100-150 pictures very quickly of them to *hopefully* get one that turns out worth blowing up. Another advantage to doing it yourself is you can get them whenever they are in a great mood and stop and start whenever you have to.

    Good luck!

  32. Anonymous
    January 6, 2008 at 6:55 am #

    Greetings!
    I’m a professional journalistic photographer from northern Indiana who has been following your blog since Labor & Delivery!
    I began as you have, shooting candids of my envoronment before moving to newspaper and portrait style. Work on your own shots, it does take an amount of professional mindset with the backdrops and lighting and incredible patience with four 12 month olds, but if you’re unsatisfied, call a professional in your area and ask if they’d like the opportunity to shoot the boys. If not, call me!

    Stephanie DeBolt
    sdebolt@maplenet.net

  33. Anonymous
    January 6, 2008 at 7:24 pm #

    issac looks just like your husband! Personally, i think your candid shots are great! I don’t know where you find the time to take so many pics of all the boys though! hehe. Do you still have all those people coming to feed and change the boys for you? if so, im jealous…lol

  34. Cathy Hengst Photography
    January 6, 2008 at 8:24 pm #

    They are just adorable. I am a photgrapher unfortunatly not in your area of I would do it for free. BUT I have taken a lot of multiple pics. I took a set of quads last srping at their home. I would be happy to share them with you and some ideas. Email me if you would like to see them and what we did to make it an easy session. Also if you do get a professional. Ask them to come to your home and you will avoid the germs 😉 cathy_hengst@sbcglobal.net

  35. Aimee
    January 7, 2008 at 10:41 am #

    Drea already commented on your blog, but check out this link to her blog. She did the CUTEST pictures of her son on his 1st birthday! When I read your post, this is what I thought of immediately, so give it a try! :)

    http://dreawd.blogspot.com/2007/12/burgers-1st-birthday.html

  36. Stacie
    January 7, 2008 at 12:38 pm #

    I wouldn’t be surprised if a professional would be thrilled to waive a session fee just to have the chance to shoot quads.

    As far as getting better at your own photography, do you know about ILP? It’s a children’s portraiture forum and is really helpful.

    http://ilovephotography.com/forums/index.php

  37. Anonymous
    January 7, 2008 at 4:51 pm #

    I think you take wonderful photos – and if you take enough usually there are a few that will come out professional looking! This is a website of someone in Indianapolis who I think does beautiful work. Her blog is http://www.nicolegreenphoto.blogspot.com/. So if you wanted a professional, maybe look into using her. I’m sure whichever way you go (or do both!) you will have pictures to treasure.

    One cute idea would be to have all four boys lay on their backs with their heads together (in a circle of sorts), and then you or Brad could stand on a chair/ladder, and take a picture looking down at all their faces. I love poses like that – although with as mobile as your guys are it might be a tough shot!

    Best wishes!
    Katie

  38. Melissa Dovel
    January 10, 2008 at 7:39 am #

    Wow you have tons of great advice on here. I say you can do it. Do it a bit early and if your not totally happy go to Sears or WM you may even find your self there for the family shot anyway. My husband is super talented and does all of our port. He is even able to do family shots. BUT he is also really good in photo shop. If your able to photo shop you can take a great snapshot and get a professional port. The best photos I have are candid with work done on them. One of my oldest daughter and I that is my fav. we were really reading a menu at a restruant. Feel free to ask any questions thru my blog as for ideas I always get great ones by browsing photographers sites.

    Blessings
    Melissa

  39. Melissa Dovel
    January 10, 2008 at 7:41 am #

    PS- its easy to see you have great talent!

    :)

  40. Emily
    January 12, 2008 at 1:56 am #

    Do both!!!!

  41. Kristen Duke Photography
    January 23, 2008 at 9:12 pm #

    Hey, I’m a photographer and I found you from Rachelle Wilksinson’s blog…mom of the quints in Texas. I’d love to give you some tips to help you before their first bday. I wish I lived by you and I’d give you a good deal…where do you live anyway?
    kristenduke@gmail.com

  42. Alicia
    January 30, 2008 at 10:05 pm #

    they are absolutely adorable! I recently found your blog and read it from the beginning. I just love your boys and reading all about them- especially the cute photos and videos!

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