My family is horrible when taking photos

My family is the worst.  Seriously, I love my kids but sometimes they’re just horrible.

Almost a year ago I scheduled family photos for August with the world-renowned husband and wife photography team Wendy and Tyler Whitacre from Blue Lily.  I prepped my kids a year in advance by promising to lock them out in the cold if they messed up the photo shoot.  Every couple of months over the year I’d threaten remind them about the deal and how they were going to behave during said family photos.

We’ll be good‘ they said,

We’ll behave‘ they said.

brother and sister

If there’s anything I know by now, it’s that kids are liars.  Little liars from liar-town.  They know how to lie professionally.  They could work for top level secret service organizations in the lie department.

Is that what it takes to survive being in a family?

little boy

Does this little man look like he’s behaving?

No.  No he is not.

my husband

What about this guy?

He wasn’t (as) bad this time around, but there must be some old Russian / Polish folklore about the camera stealing your soul if you smile for a family picture.  Otherwise there’s no excuse for this:

mi familia

The Pole looks like he might kill you in your sleep and Charming looks as if he’s in the middle of a sneeze.

Us girls are holding our own, because even if we don’t feel like it, we want to look pretty for the camera.  Someone in the family has to represent the effects good life and the boys would have you believe they’re still in the ration line for bread.


Maybe no one was behaving because The Pole and I took so many make-out breaks (as we are wont to do), but that’s a flimsy excuse for behaving badly.

happily married

See?  An almost-smile!  That’s the happiest he gets, folks.

my family is horrible


my family is horrible with photos

Now they’re smiling.  Sure!  When we play karate-chop-kill-your-brother/sister everyone is happy, but when it’s time to look at the camera it’s all Grumpy Cat.


Or naughty cat.

Either way, it’s do-the-opposite-of-what-your-mother-told-to-do.  Because if you’re 8 and 14, (respectively) you must be smarter than your mom.


This one was smiling because her braces had been taken off the day before photos after EIGHT YEARS in treatment.  She had a lot to smile about with all those pretty, shiny, new, expensive straight teeth.

petit elefant

And me?  I stopped snarling for the camera somewhere after my 18th birthday because once you stop listening to Nine Inch Nails in the dark every night, life gets pretty good.

In all seriousness, Wendy and Tyler are phenomenal.  If you have a chance to book them on their worldwide tour (the announce their dates every January) you should do whatever it takes to make it happen.  Wendy was so good with my sassy small people, and Tyler is adorable and hilarious.  They’re both so chill you can’t help but be happy while they take your photos.  The whole photo shoot only lasted 45 minutes top to bottom, (plenty of time for children to behave badly) but even the naughtiest family can survive.

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Hello there! I'm Allison Czarnecki, founder + editor of Petit Elefant, a blog all about style on a budget for every part of your life: style / home / travel / family. I do a lot of how-to beauty + style tutorials, travel posts, easy recipes, home remodel projects, and cool DIY crafts you totally want to try. I'm super happily married (to a hot Polish immigrant) and am the mother of two kids, a daughter and son, all of whom are featured here on the regular. We live in the country but we're a little bit rock + roll. Welcome!


  1. Kate :

    Oh my gosh “The Pole looks like he might kill you in your sleep” had me laughing out loud. And, I think you’re on to something – my hubby, with a Polish background, pretty much never smiles in pictures either . . . you’d think he was being tortured instead of just being asked to say “cheese.” Anyway, I love the pics!!

  2. Corrin :

    Wait. I was supposed to stop listening to NIN in the dark 10+ years ago. Damnit.

  3. Michal :

    “A photograph is a most important document, and there is nothing more damning to go down to posterity than a silly, foolish smile caught and fixed forever.” – Mark Twain

  4. Katelyn :

    Oh thank you. I totally need that laugh. Thank you Pole and Charming. That made my day….that and Poo-Pourri commercial. Thank you!

  5. jane :

    love the photos…but love your post even more. it’s all so CUTE and ADORABLE. for realsies. and hilarious. xoxo

  6. Jenny :

    Ugh. Kids are freaks. We have so many photos of the kids making terrible, terrible faces. I’ve started using them just because it’s all I have and they should be more embarrassed and they aren’t. Grr. Ed is attempting photos of the kids again on Sat. I’m excited to see how it goes down…

  7. Emilie :


  8. Heather :

    How did u and your straight faced man meet?

  9. Lori VW :

    “I stopped snarling for the camera somewhere after my 18th birthday because once you stop listening to Nine Inch Nails in the dark every night, life gets pretty good.” haha! You are so funny. You all look great.