Last year my mom wanted a family photo... so I told her "you get everyone here at the same time and I'll do my best to capture us all in a picture". Believe it or not, everyone showed up. We did not "coordinate" outfits or colors... there was no big plan, just show up and smile! Turns out, this isn't a bad way to get a great family photo. I found out that looking through the lens as the photographer and trying to set up the shot (and BE in the shot) are 2 very different skills! I set up my tripod, got everything ready on the camera, jumped into the shot and "clicked" my remote... as many times as I could - hoping to get a good shot. Since I had no idea what it looked liked, I just kept clicking away (hoping there would be some good images in there!). I learned a lot that day. For instance, I learned that it is important NOT to zoom in too close to allow for various crops of the photo to various sizes. I learned that it's hard to feel relaxed in the photo when you are also the photographer. I learned that my family knows how to have fun during a family photo shoot. I learned that my family is VERY understanding when, after viewing the first set of shots, I decided we needed to do another set. Most importantly, I learned that when you photograph a LARGE group of people it is very difficult to get a shot in which every person looks "perfect" (especially if there are children involved - smile). While I wouldn't say the family photo is the best I've ever taken, I did manage to "capture the moment" of US at that moment in time. I especially like the second shot... that's the REAL us! I wonder if my family will be up for a new family photo this Fall? I hope so!