Family Photos

Documenting four generations in one photo

*I got a lot of comments on the photo in my previous post, so I decided to share a little bit about how that all came together.*

A few years ago, I had been browsing on Pinterest, when I saw a generations photo with four levels of a family represented in one picture. I know it’s not incredibly common to have four generations, and I wanted to document it in some way.

I had tried a few times to come up with a way to make a photo like this happen, but unless my back was to a wall, it was probably not going to materialize.

Then came my mom’s 60th birthday. We had planned a surprise party and I knew this was my chance. I pitched the idea to my dad and he liked it. Then, I had to run it by the matriarch (this my family’s Queen Elizabeth). I figured she’d question it and maybe get on board, but her reaction wasn’t at all what I expected.

“I get my hair done on Friday. Why don’t you come over after that?”

So, I bought a frame large enough to reasonably hold a picture like this I headed over to her place for a visit and the photo. I showed her what I was trying to accomplish and she loved the idea. She sat for the outside picture, which actually looked like this:

That’s right. I got all the way to her apartment and realized I didn’t have THE FRAME. Luckily she had a few frames in her closet that I could use as place holders. And yes, those are filled with photos that are  roughly 22 years old. I’m in the photo on the far right at the bottom. I was probably a sophomore in high school. Yikes.

The frame wasn’t ideal because it wasn’t really big enough to hold the next three generations, but I figured a little Photoshop work would get us there.

So, next up was me. I needed to have all the pieces ready to go on this so I figured it was easiest to get me and my kids. I’m a perfectionist who trusts very few people to take my picture so, I set up my camera remote with a ten second timer. It fired in succession every 10 seconds and I took about a million photos and just picked the one in which I felt I looked the best I could. It looked like this:

Then came the kids.

I was going to wait until they were dressed up for their Christmas program, but that was going to really cut the printing time awfully close to party time, so I made them dress up one afternoon and take a photo. My middle daughter wasn’t happy about this, so she tried to make the picture look like this:

All I asked them to do was put on a dress, sit for 45 seconds and take a picture. I knew the actual shot only needed to be from the waist up, if that, so bottoms didn’t matter, but my only requirement was that she smile. And she didn’t want to because she’s stubborn and sassy. After pleading and then making some fart noises, I got this:

Then came the tricky part. I needed my mom, but this was her birthday gift. So I enlisted the help of my dad. I told her I was tinkering with a project and needed her picture. He drove her to my house on their way to a Christmas party (so I knew she’s be dressed in a way that she wouldn’t mind having her picture taken). I do wish the lighting was better on this photo,  but I got this:

Oh! And I needed to replace grandma’s frame because it didn’t match and wasn’t large enough. So, I took this.

I used Photoshop. I cropped out the frame and replaced the one in my grandma’s hands. Then I used layers and prayers and came up with this:

With four generations in my family right now, I have two generations I can look up to and learn from.

I’m sure there are easier ways to do it. I’m sure if everyone knew about it you actually start from the bottom and work your way up so everyone is actually holding the framed picture, cutting out the need for Photoshop. However, this worked for us. We like the photo and we’ll be able to keep it for…well, generations.

2 thoughts on “Documenting four generations in one photo

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