How To Make Children Look Good

It was a perfectly crisp autumn day and the leaves were just starting to go. The weather was mild and the clouds were scattered over the sun–ideal weather for a photo shoot. 

In the past, I have been too cheap/busy/lazy to have professional photos done of my kids. I don’t care for the canned studio pictures from Walmart, so I continually put the whole picture thing off, finding fleeting contentment with my own candid pics.

Then I see real photos hanging in someone’s house and guilt crashes down around my Kodak EasyShare. Harrison is five and I’ve never had professional photos. I’m a loser mother. I could wait until next year…then he’ll be six and I’ll hate myself even more.

And so, with the support of my husband, I made a plan. This plan included falling leaves and old barns, fishy crackers and an entire laundry basket of potential wardrobe choices. But most importantly, this plan included Veronica Reeve

I have to say that the biggest catalyst with this whole photo thing was finding Veronica. I check out professional photography sites now and then, see what other people are having done, but when I saw this girl’s work it was all over. She was the one. No contest.

In the hours before our scheduled shoot, I coerced Harrison into letting me clip his hair (no time to get to Aunt Heather, who works at Cookie Cutters in Bountiful. He likes her way better) and chased Rex around the house with scissors, snipping a little here and a little there and leaving a trail of whispy blond hairs all over the upstairs. The price, my friends, the price. 

In my frantic attempt to get the boys ready, June fell and smashed, that’s right smashed, her little face. Huge scrape across her nose, red and instantly swollen. Note to self: next time strap baby into the car three hours before departure to ensure safe arrival (thank you photo shop).

We finally pulled into the parking lot to meet Veronica. I hadn’t actually come clean with the kids about the purpose of this trip, I’d only told them we were going to go see trains and school busses. At three, Rex kind of freaks out about everything. Prepping him doesn’t help. 

We followed cute Veronica to the first photo site and got out. At first glance, it didn’t look like a picture perfect setting, but I wanted Urban Chic so that’s what she gave me. And chic it was. The boarded-up warehouse was ideal with its ladders and perches and rusted metal stairs. 

I’ll save you the details of Harrison’s photo shoot. Picture Mr. America at a press release and you’ve got a good idea of how much he loves the camera. She had him jumping through hoops, literally. 

Then she turned the camera to Rex. “NOOOOO!” he said, clutching his ziplock bag of animals and running for the nearest homeless person. Do not ask me how that woman got such fantastic photos of him, she’s got the magic touch. 

I do have to admit that at one point the kids were all sitting on some metal stairs and Junie was so cute I could hardly stand it. Then she fell forward and smashed her face again. I stood there in horror watching in slow motion as she toppled down the rusted iron stairs, yelling “Nooo!” I was kind of stuck in place, it was like watching a bad film. Thankfully, Veronica sacrificed her body and camera, pushed me out of the way and saved June from certain doom and a trip to the ER. Now that’s dedication. 

Let me tell you, when I saw the proofs from this photo shoot there was no doubt in my mind that this girl is worth every cent. I must plug her, it can’t be helped. Her niche is children and families and she’s absolutely incredible. I know she’s booked up through the end of the year, but she’s got some openings in January.

Check out her blog for recent (totally amazing) photos–and not just these. Be sure to scroll down and see the mom pushing the baby carriage. Precious.

And hey, maybe if you tell her we’re friends she’ll cut you a deal…


  1. What can I say except that your kids are absolutely beautiful…great pictures.
    I am a bad mom with no professional pictures either…perhaps you have inspired me…

  2. annie valentine says:

    That’s just it, they’re really terribly ugly children with buck teeth and greasy hair. Veronica is so good, you’d never know.

  3. Wow!!! These pictures are awesome. I think I need to hang up my camera or take more lessons. Your children are beautiful and the pictures are beyond words.

  4. Dang, those are good pictures!

    And now I’m feeling horribly guilty. The last time my kids had pics, my baby was still a baby (she’s six now . . . oops).

    Time to get some. I’ll have to check her out.

  5. Dang, those are some good-looking kids! Definitely worth whatever you paid.

  6. I love the pictures. I have gotten my kids pics taken, but nothing like this. At least they are perserved and cute and hanging on my wall, but seeing professional photos outside of a studio is really a step up. I guess I should spring for a couple of these sometime, yeah? I always loved that pic Robin and Steve had with their kids standing in that brook-very nice. Does this Veronica lady fly to WA?

  7. These are beautiful! I really want some nice, professional photos of me and Adam. Our wedding photos weren’t great (sorry, Dad!), and we haven’t had any done since then.

  8. annie valentine says:

    Oh Kristina, you should totally get them done. Jason and I had the exact same thing with our wedding photos, so three years after we were married (BC) we had a beautiful couple shoot. I love that we have some amazing, professional photos of “us” before we started multiplying and replenishing. Do it!

  9. Gorgeous shots! Your kids are so dang cute!

    I’m so glad you didnt’ win the photo shoot. Although Shelle would have been better. 😉

  10. Just checking out what the other Mormon Mommy blogger, newspaper columnist, with three kids, a “Secret Agent” for a husband, named “Annie” is up to.

    I guess I can’t call you my alter-ego because we are too similar. You can’t be my long-lost twin because you are younger and cuter than I am. We are just going to have to be BFF’s!

  11. Those pictures are adorable. I have always hated the professional pictures of my kids (the 2 times we did it) because we could only afford JCPenny. UGH. So I just steal other people’s photo ideas and try my best to take pictures of my kids myself. That means I get to take a lot of pictures of my kids which is great, but my husband won’t let me pay a professional because, “I’m not paying for something you can do.” He has no idea how much more awesome our pictures could be….

  12. You Utards and your attractive children and your amazing local photographers. Here in the south, you hafta pony up at least a grand for pictures like that. I tricked Jared into a family shoot at one of those candid shops that has coupons for $10 family shoots and then they try to force you to buy more… heh on them, we actualy only had one decent picture before Solei went PSYCHOTIC and screamed foaming at the mouth for the next 4 hours.

    It’s almost enough to make me wanna try Utah… hrm, nope, just send us Veronica please!

  13. Wow, I wish Veronica wasn’t in San Diego to read this glowing review of her. Isn’t she great.. And your kids really are good looking!! Must be in the genes!

  14. Wow, these photos look like they belong in a baby gap catalog.
    My family has never had professional pictures taken. Maybe I should make some tees to raise the money.

  15. so cute, she did a great job. I love love his blonde curls

  16. You are cute! I’ve seen you around the blog neighborhood, & now it’s nice to finally meet you. Gorgeous pics btw.

    I’m the same though, I never get my kids pictures taken professionally & I feel like the biggest slacker Mom. School pics will just have to do.

  17. Precious photos. Do you enter in the County Fair? ….Yeah, I’d think that ‘cuz that’s where I go to see art. Heck, you could make a couple dollars too, plus some nice ribbons. Seriously, your photos are just beautiful. Your children are darling.

    You made my day this morning. I was so in NEED of a follower! You think out of six children…well, they are going to get an earful today. (I am laughing, oops, and toutin’) I should have just put “lol”. Thank you Annie! (((hugs!))) lymi Susan

  18. Oh wow.


  19. Darling children, absolutely darling!

  20. Those are amazing pics!!! Thanks for sharing!

  21. I must say-you had me at fishy crackers. I wish my mom would still bribe using those things…

    Darling pictures! Loving Rex’s hair.

  22. Those are amazing! There is nothing better than good professional photos to capture it all!

  23. Yeah, they’re cute. And the pics really are fabulous. If she flies up here to do Kelly’s kids, maybe I’ll borrow her:)

  24. I love the you can see the animals in Rex’s hands. One day when he’s grown up you’re going to see that in those pictures and just melt. Awesome.

  25. Great photos! And oh my gosh… I’m in love with those curls!

  26. Stunning!!! I wish I could find someone to take pictures like that of my kids! (Oh and I wish I could afford it…)

  27. I think you redeemed your past photo indiscretions (sp) and you have some BEAUTIFUL shots to blow up to poster size and plaster around the house. Those were AWESOME, and your kids are really adorable! I love those curls!

  28. So, I am in the same boat as you as far as no professional pics, and I went and priced a friend of mine who does similar portraits…. Oh it was around $500 for the shoot and a CD.
    You dirty dog. Perhaps I should come up for vacation sometime with the kiddos.

  29. Man – it’s amazing what that lady can do with a camera.
    Whatever you paid was money well spent. Unless you paid with your soul… oh wait, that’s what you spent on your ticket to see your man.
    Keep multiplying to get more cute kids since some of us can’t!

  30. A-MA-ZING photos! The last family portrait I had taken was by default – taken at my baby sister’s wedding when #5 was 4 weeks old. She’s almost 4. It’s time to cough up the cash & do it!

    I’ve already contacted Veronica – I used you as my referral, so get ready for your FREE 8×10!!


  31. Annie these are the best pictures I have seen of kids in a long long time. Veronica is great.

  32. Oh Annie, I can’t stop blushing, and smiling, and re-reading your post, and all these sweet comments. Thank you for your kind words, really. You’ve made my day, scratch that, month. 🙂 AND! It sure does help to take pictures of such beautiful children so that people think that I’m a good photographer! Ha!