Portrait photography: the gift you won’t regret

If you’re like me, guys, gift giving isn’t your strong suit. Don’t feel bad: we men are naturally inept at guessing what our spouses want. Even when we think we’ve figured it out, we’re bound to give something that makes others question our judgment and possibly our humanity.

With one exception.

Portrait photography is a keepsake they will cherish, maybe even for the rest of their lives.

Think about it. Jewelry is exciting at first, but styles change as often as the weather. And even if you eat, sleep and breathe fashion, it’s impossible to predict what the cool kids will be wearing two years from now.

Vacations and spa days are nice, but the minute they’re over, there’s nothing left but fading memories and the sad realization that it will be a long, long time before that will happen again. Chocolate is a bit like getting a carton of cigarettes with a bow on top — it feels good for a little while, but the enjoyment comes with undesirable consequences. And a dog or cat as a surprise gift? Trust me: bad idea.

But a photographic portrait of your spouse, your child(ren), your fur-kids, or your whole family — that’s an expression of love you can both enjoy in perpetuity. It can strengthen feelings of attachment and can remind you how beautiful you are to one another. It can help sustain you through the inevitable relational challenges that lie ahead. And eventually, it can remind your progeny of the people who brought them here.

If you’re a decent photographer, you can do it yourself. Sometimes I shoot my own family portraits, and sometimes I have another photographer shoot us. It’s tricky to position myself in the frame and keep firing until I get a shot in which we all have our eyes open and none of us look psychotic. So it’s no surprise that I generally prefer relaxing with my family while another photographer shoots us. We get better portraits that way, and we’re more likely to still be on speaking terms after our photo session.