The Perfect Family Photo

I have to admit, I was not looking forward to our family photo shoot last week. Why? I have several reasons.

First of all, well — just look at me! I’m not exactly photogenic thanks to a face that would make a train take a dirt road. That’s a fact that’s magnified tenfold when you put me next to my gorgeous wife and son. But what I dread even more than that is all the other crap that goes along with the family photo. What are we gonna wear? Where do we take the pictures? Do we all have to match? When can we do it? But the most important question — at least to me — was choosing the right photographer who is not only affordable, but who wouldn’t land us on one of the many websites solely devoted to awkward family photos.

And that’s when I got a timely email from an old college classmate.

In addition to being one of the very first readers of this blog, Meri Belanger is the owner of Sootie Studios where she is — wait for it — a professional photographer. I remember her being very talented in the arts at school, but I was nervous to take her up on her offer of doing a family photo shoot. Mainly because I was worried about not liking the pictures and then not being able to give her a good review. The dangers of working with friends and family.

Luckily, that turned out to be a non-issue.

As you can see by looking at these pictures, Meri is insanely talented. But there are some other things you need to consider that make these photos even more impressive:

  • It was hotter than 90 degrees that day
  • We were sweating like crazy
  • There was a 4-year-old involved
  • There was a crazy golden retriever involved

That’s no easy task to be outdoors in a public place (Borderland State Park in case you were wondering), with a kid and a dog in suffocating heat. But Meri not only took great shots, she did it quickly and efficiently. Probably because she’s also a mom of two kids so she gets it.

The other thing I really appreciated was Meri’s prep work. I really wanted to avoid the studio setting with a canvas background and stupid poses, but I wasn’t sure where we should go. So Meri suggested a few places and we settled on a great state-owned park in Easton, Mass. She did some advance scouting and had a bunch of specific spots picked out ahead of time. And she listened to my requests about not posing and just capturing us in our (mostly) natural state, and was able to get some really terrific candids.

You guys know I don’t do many reviews and I don’t recommend products or people I wouldn’t use myself. But I can promise you with absolute certainty that if you choose to go with Meri at Sootie Studios, you’ll be incredibly happy. And you’ll probably go back because she does newborn/maternity pictures, kids birthday parties, senior pictures, graduation pictures, weddings and any other event you can think of. That’s why it’s my

pleasure to recommend someone who is not only a professional and wonderful

photographer, but also a fellow parent and a friend.

So if you’re in southeastern Massachusetts and you want some fantastic pictures that don’t break the bank, done by a truly nice person who’s also a mom, check out Meri here or here and follow the contact information on her website to set up an appointment.

And on a personal note, I want to thank Meri for our awesome photos. Not only didn’t I end up on Awkward Family Photos, we now have a bunch of pictures that will grace our walls for years. We’re even going to give them to family members as gifts. I’ve never been happier to be wrong in my life!

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7 thoughts on “The Perfect Family Photo

  1. Forget Southeastern Mass., she has ties to the Merrimack Valley area as a native of North Andover. She does work up this way a few days out of the month. You are right Aaron, she is one talented individual. I’m actually planning a photo shoot of my niece and her dog for my sister’s birthday surprise. I have seen her talent firsthand and also recommend her to your readers.

  2. That shot of all 4 of you is INCREDIBLE. Truly one of the best family portraits I have ever seen. Even the dog looks freaking thrilled to be there – that’s talent!

  3. Awww shucks! You guys were really great! it was helpful that you were relaxed and that both Will and Haley were so well behaved! You two a great job raising those two!

    Thanks so much for the opportunity to document your family. It was an honor to do so after reading so much about your family for the past several years. Glad to see you all again too! Hope we can do it again in the fall!:)

  4. Not only does she take great pictures, but she makes you feel comfortable while doing so. I never like getting my picture taken, but meri makes it fun! She is one of the sweetest women I know, and she wants you to enjoy your session. She has been taking pictures of my
    Daughter since she was 5 days old!!!

  5. I have a friend named Clover. She is a photographer and it sounds like her and Meri do the same work. She doesn’t own a studio though (yet) and works out of her home.
    I have had the opportunity to work with her a few times, and have even done some “modeling” if you can call it that. Mostly volunteered to do some shots with her for her portfolio in exchange for shots. She recently did updated pictures of my son. Will and MJ’s photo is a lot like my favourite of Adrien and myself, and I even have a picture of him on my shoulders (which was some feat, since he’s already half my size and weight!)

    Pictures like this are beautiful. She really captured the love and the “family” feeling if that makes sense. And you all look comfortable, happy, and relaxed. Good photos for the wall!

  6. I guess that it really takes a lot of photography and people skills to get a four year old and a golden retriever to be still for a few moments. Overall, those photos were really great!
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