The Perils (and Pricelessness) of Family Photos


The following are excerpts overheard at a recent photo shoot. Ahem, my family photo shoot, of which I swear to never, ever under no circumstances shoot again. I usually mutter this under my breath on my way to the car. My father jokes we put the fun in dysFUNctional, but when I’m trying to corral 5 Mexiricans, 1 Mexican, 1 Puerto Rican, 1 German, and 1 Chinexican (JD is Chinese and Mexican), and 2 kids, I’m not exactly the Martha Stewart of family photography. In fact, I felt more like Roseanne Barr with all the yelling I did. But I yelled in love. Promise.

How can she be late?! She’s the one who organized this thing!
Did you comb your hair?
Why did we pick these colors, I feel like a sailor.
Jasmine doesn’t match.
If you behave, I’ll give you candy!
Let’s throw rocks…
I’m losing light, people!
Seriously, can you just pay attention?
Where are we going for dinner?
Can I borrow your camera?
Hair extensions are so two years ago.
Is it just me or did Jasmine not dress according to the color code?
Go give her a hug.
Please get off your phone!
Move out of my frame…no, you’re still in my frame…MOVE!
I lost my shoe.
I’m telling you, she’d make Snooki proud.
I got it on sale.
Can we please just pretend we like each other?!
Did someone make a dinner reservation?
Last photo, I promise!
It’s a new camera, I didn’t know how to self-time it!
Please, Jesus, let this be the last photo.
Did I tell you I’ll give you candy if you behave?
No talking, this is it!
Crap, one more.
I love you.

This is my dad, or who we commonly refer to as Papi. He’s the best thing since flour tortillas. He holds our family together and reminds us to love each other, even if there are times when we don’t feel like it. He didn’t grow up with a family, so ensuring we stick together, love God, and help others is the only thing important to him. My dad’s standing next to my niece and nephew, Ryen and Parker…who are insanely adorable, even if they wipe off my kisses.

This is Mr. Handsome Face and my mom. These two people are my backbone. They work together to ensure I’m not working too much, not complaining too much, and eating my vegetables. I love them to bits and pieces.

Bianca, my twin sister, and my brother, Sebastian, are amazing in their own ways. It’s strange how our family has grown into certain roles and we somehow find ways to fill each others’ gaps, as well as helping others. Bianca works with an amazing organization, A21, to end human trafficking. She’s presently in Greece finding ways to liberate girls who’ve been kidnapped and sold against their will. When she’s not busy saving the world, she’s busy making me feel like I need to be a better human! 😉 Seb is in college and is pursuing photography while working part-time at some cool clothing store he says I wouldn’t know about. Hmmm, so what he’s basically saying is I’m uncool. Love that kid.

Zoe is the baby of the family. If she could have arrived on a glitter-covered butterfly with 22-inch rims, she would have. She’s in her last year of high school and called me a couple nights ago to help write her senior quote for the yearbook. She said since I was a blogger I might have a few ideas she could use. And guess what? She hated all my ideas. ALL OF THEM. She should be really sad because my ideas were awesome. It’s a good thing I can take a photo of her or else I’d be, like, totally useless in her life! 😉

Yesterday was my parents’ 38th wedding anniversary. Woohoo! They’re living examples of love, patience, and devotion…I hope my marriage can be just as amazing as theirs. Last night my dad took my mom to the hospital for what she expected was food poisoning/the flu/living with teenagers too long. After a few hours, I called my dad to get a check up. We chatted for a bit and he admitted sitting in the ER on his anniversary wasn’t ideal, but being by my mom’s side in her hardest moments made him proud.
I love them.

Alexandria is the the middle child of the family, and is unique in every way. She’s an artist, she listens to weird music, and visits traveling rock shows. No, like rock rocks…stones, Internet. I love her ability to blend in wherever she is and use her kind heart to help any one she meets. She also works as a graphic designer at a concert venue in Orange County, so she hooks me up with concert tickets…love her.

Bianca married Matt just over two years ago. Together they’re raising a lovely family while learning how to grow together. Bianca also tries to be cooler than she is. Case in point: She arrived to the photo shoot singing this new song you might not have heard of yet called Gangnam Style. Oh, riiiiiiight, Bianca…you’re a music maven of epic proportions! Because sometimes I’m a mean older sister (I’m older by one minute, thankyouverymuch), I asked the Olthoff family to show me the Gangnam dance moves and promised I wouldn’t post the picture. Oops, I lied. 😉

This is my brother-in-law, Matt (who will hopefully not be mad about the dancing photo!). He and Bianca are a great team and I love seeing the great changes they’re making in the world. Matt’s not a big fan of being in front of the camera, but Bianca and I guilted him into this photo shoot…that’s the problem with marrying a twin…he has to deal with double the amount of nagging! 😉

And this is the moment that made the drama, stress, and will-you-please-just-smile worth it all. This singular moment when we’re together, happy, and whole. This moment? Well, it’s priceless.

Happy Wednesday!

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  1. Kiah

    November 7th, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    I think that’s how most family photos go. Looks crazy, but memory making!

  2. Charlotte

    November 7th, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    ha! I was just telling my husband that I think I could handle doing our family photo. We have a 6 month old that likes to squirm, and i’m nervous. You’ve got a whole family to organize. Way to keep it together!

  3. gladys

    November 7th, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    always so funny to read. love it! beautiful family, jasmine!

  4. Jana Long

    November 7th, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    oh my WORD – your family is 1. gorgeous, and 2. so much fun! these are beautiful!!!!!!

  5. Haley Johnston

    November 7th, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    Your family is so fabulous!

  6. Melissa Kate

    November 7th, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    I LOVE THIS POST! Definitely gave me the laugh I needed and you have a gorgeous family!

  7. The New Diplomat's Wife

    November 7th, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    Your annual family photos are one of my favorite posts all year – love the running commentary and everyone looks beautiful! congrats to your parents on their anniversary!

  8. Dallas Curow

    November 7th, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    Love this post, and your sequinned miniskirt! Also, so awesome that you can still wear miniskirts at this time of year. Your Canadian followers are jealous (and shivering).

  9. brianna

    November 7th, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    yay! favorite post because i love this fam so much and you captured them all perfectly!! and she’s right…your skirt was not in the color pallet

  10. Mary Banducci

    November 7th, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    These are all so lovely and your family is so cute together!
    Your own family photos are probably the hardest thing for a photographer to do. It’s why I bought a remote for my camera – such a good investment!

  11. Amanda Miller

    November 7th, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    How lucky you are to have such a wonderful family…and how lucky they are to have you! This post makes me thankful for my own crazy family!

  12. Maritza

    November 7th, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    This was an absolutely beautiful post. Nothing like the love of a family. 🙂

  13. Christy Tyler

    November 7th, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    Ummm – that solo shot of you?! HOLY WOW. You are beautiful woman! And you are rocking that skirt! 🙂 Also – your family is adorable! This makes me wish we could manage family photos – but we’re all over the country & it’s rare to have us all in one place! 🙁

  14. kerry macLeod

    November 7th, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    Wow you did well…love the simple locations, outfits with a bit of sparkle and snazzy shoes. I have five family shoots this weekend and I’m hoping to sneak our yearly pic in (with my three boys and one camera grouchy hubbie) which is rather insane. Going to try your sis’s Gangham Style inspiration…that video cracks us up. Dress Classy Dance Cheesy is a great photo shoot theme.
    I know you rock the skinny jeans so I wanted to share the bestest find, 100% made in Canada…Yoga Jeans. They don’t move when I’m shooting, no pulling at the waist band after every shot and they keep their shape perfectly. They even have a coated denim that’s a little to chic for me in our lil town but you could totally pull off. I’m giving away a pair this week on Snicks…check them out, you’ll be smitten
    Thanks for sharing it’s good to know I’m not the only one who feels psycho and bossy during their own family photo shoots.


  15. Christa

    November 7th, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    Love it…so funny. You’re lucky to be part of such a beautiful family.

  16. Jaime Davis

    November 7th, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    jasmine LOVE this shoot! you have a gorg family! I also love this setting where did you take this photos if you dont mind letting us know 🙂

  17. Whitney Dupuis

    November 7th, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    What a beautiful family. Of course, beautiful photos as always. I love that you are real about your family. Every family is dysfunctional. I am just glad that you embrace yours – as I do mine!

  18. Gretchen eck

    November 7th, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    Great, first the election and now this?? Crying crocodile tears here! Guess I’m a little emotional today!! : )

  19. Jen Stafford

    November 7th, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    First of all, what an amazingly beautiful family you have!
    Secondly, your mom is gorgeous, no wonder you are too.
    Third, thank goodness I’m not the only person with this exact script taking my family’s pictures. Gah!
    Lastly… I LOVE the outcome of it all. Beautiful images to cherish, and funny memories to go along with them!

  20. Kansas

    November 7th, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    I feel like we are kindered spirits since we both call our dad Papi…it’s like we’re meant to be BFFs. Love the session as always 🙂

  21. Evelyn

    November 7th, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    Love it! Is this the picture you mentioned to me yesterday? I was thinking it was the alley shoot. Literally lol with the whole "I lied" your family is beautiful!

  22. Evelyn

    November 7th, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    Love it! Is this the picture you mentioned to me yesterday? I was thinking it was the alley shoot. Literally lol with the whole "I lied" your family is beautiful!

  23. nikki

    November 7th, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    I read your blog daily – I have for a few years, and each and every year my favorite post is your family photo session. Love it! 🙂

  24. Danyiel Johnson

    November 7th, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    Nope, you didn’t follow the color scheme…but, you look amazing. Love the payoff photo! That’s a lot of beauty, hotness and fun for one photo.

  25. Whitney Lane Arnett

    November 7th, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    This is something I really need to start making happen. I def don`t have enough pics of my familia

  26. Kristin Greenwald

    November 7th, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    Absolutely LOVED this post, Jas. Thank you for sharing your family with us — they make you who you are … and that is who we follow every day. 🙂 xo

  27. Annie Richardson

    November 7th, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    Such a beautiful family! 🙂
    And may I ask what lens you shot the group photo with? 🙂

  28. Lindsey

    November 7th, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    Fabulous Family. Fabulous Pictures.

  29. Laura

    November 7th, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    No no no no no….they’re rubbing your kisses IN, not off. At least that is what I tell myself when my little man does it! Beautiful family!

  30. Tiffany

    November 7th, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    Your family is simply adorable and reminds me of my own 😉

  31. Liz

    November 7th, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    Jasmine – these are just beautiful!! But I love the words and the insight they bring too. What a lovely family! Oh, and your younger sister just helped me make up my mind about some boots I had ordered that she is rocking in that photo. And to quote you: your mum in that solo photo? Raawwrrr! 🙂

  32. Kj

    November 7th, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    Your family photo shoot posts are my favorite posts, always!

  33. Melina

    November 7th, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    Oh my, this brings me back to our family photo shoot (7 years ago)….and I have worked hard never to go back to that place 😉 You are one brave (borderline crazy) woman!

  34. Kris Johnson

    November 7th, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    You got to love BIG families. I know I have one… and yes it is always priceless, well in the end that is:-)

  35. Azlin

    November 7th, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    (wipe tears)

  36. DArlene

    November 7th, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    So Jasmine, did you really not get the memo on clothing colors or did you just rebel?? Haha. Love this!!!

  37. Karen

    November 7th, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    Your entire family is absolutely gorgeous!

  38. Tangie

    November 7th, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    I absolutely LOVE this post! (And the photos!)

  39. Jackie P

    November 7th, 2012 at 6:05 pm


  40. Susan Evans

    November 7th, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    Beautiful family!

  41. cara

    November 7th, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    I always *love* reading about your family, especially with fab photos like these attached 🙂 Thanks for sharing the family love!

  42. mike larson

    November 7th, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    You have a beautiful family and I love the way the laughter and fun comes out in them! Well done.

  43. Jessica Peterson

    November 7th, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    What great photos! You have a beautiful family! I am glad y’all take such time to treasure each other!

  44. Nancy

    November 7th, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    Love when you post about your family, just love.

  45. Jill Springer

    November 7th, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    What a beautiful family! Thank you for sharing them with us!

  46. Desiree

    November 7th, 2012 at 6:33 pm


  47. marissa

    November 7th, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    Awesome pictures filled with much love.

  48. Gris Brooks

    November 7th, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    Every.Single.Picture. Is Awesome! Beautiful pictures~

  49. Autumn Lee

    November 7th, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    Your family shoot just brought tears to my eyes!

  50. Brenda Eley

    November 7th, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    Love these, but there’s an important family member missing here Jas…..Ummmm, Polo!?

  51. Mom

    November 7th, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    Hilarious!! Hate to admit it, but I have to agree that our conversation did go something like that!! How embarrassing!! Jasmine, you are suppose to paint that "perfect picture" of us to the public. Hahahaha!! Love you, Mom

  52. Nina

    November 7th, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    hahahaha…great ! …the questions !!! I exactly can imagine it !
    Who is the German one ?

  53. Ashley Christine

    November 7th, 2012 at 9:02 pm

    What a beautiful family!

  54. Nicole

    November 7th, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    Love these photographs and that you took individuals as well as group pictures. Super cute!

  55. B

    November 7th, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    You’re the only person who can make me feel confident behind a camera. I’m seriously in love with you. And now I’m off to change my FB profile picture 😉

  56. Amber

    November 7th, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    Great family portraits!
    I loved that you wrote what everyone was complaining about, because it is the same with my family during photos. Sigh/lol

  57. rich

    November 7th, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    beautiful family!!

  58. Yuliya

    November 7th, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    Ahhhh, favorite post ever and I totally get how you feel about family photos.

  59. Jenni Marie

    November 7th, 2012 at 10:29 pm


  60. Lisamarie

    November 7th, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    These pictures are amazing. I especially love your two younger sisters getting super sassy in the last picture. What a nice, big family. I hope to have the same some day!!

  61. Rita

    November 7th, 2012 at 11:30 pm

    What a beautiful day it must have been, and fun too! Beautiful famuly & memories. I enjoyed the pictures, thanks for sharing. " A CCMER"

  62. Rachel Marie {Photography}

    November 8th, 2012 at 12:17 am

    You have such a beautiful family, its such a special thing to be able to make memories like this together.

  63. Kristin

    November 8th, 2012 at 12:37 am


  64. LEOLAK

    November 8th, 2012 at 1:26 am

    I look forward to this post every year! Gorgeous family! You are working that skirt lady!

  65. Addie

    November 8th, 2012 at 2:07 am

    your family is so beautiful and I about cried when I read what your dad said about his anniversary… sweet!

  66. diana

    November 8th, 2012 at 3:24 am

    I had a bad day. Well… not really… it is more like a bad week. Okay fine I am really going through a rough patch in my life and anyway that was not even my point. My point is… that I read your blog today and you got a smile out of me. Thank you.

  67. Faith Cherisse

    November 8th, 2012 at 5:16 am

    Beautiful, Beautiful, Beautiful!!

  68. Jolynn

    November 8th, 2012 at 5:20 am

    I love when you do family photos! So very like my family! Haha

  69. LILIA

    November 8th, 2012 at 7:07 am

    I love your family posts. I think last year Alexandria was the rebel one, this year I am not sure if it was really you. I love your mom and I love her hair-style.

  70. tina

    November 8th, 2012 at 10:08 am

    haha! love the photo of Bianca and fam dancing!

  71. Sheela

    November 8th, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    Dear Jasmine. I’m writing to confess that I have ‘gently stalked’ your blog since a friend of mine – who was looking for a photographer for her wedding – sent me a link. She’s been married for four years now, but I still read your blog. Is that weird? I just want to say that almost everything you post here makes me smile, feel empowered, or just happy (except I truly believe you should give Life of Pi another chance!). I teach high school English in LA and have no need of wedding photography advice, but I dig the philosopher and soulful person that’s within you and I wanted you know that you have inspired me to read more, wear heels, take risks, and work out (your arms!!). Thank you. And now, back to my stalking…

  72. Natasha

    November 8th, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    Fabulous. You are all very fabulous. xx

  73. Jill Blue

    November 8th, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    SUCH a beautiful family! I can so relate because my fam is CONSTANTLY roping me into family pics of some kind, I think it shows the worst side of me haha!

  74. dina

    November 8th, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    you TOTALLY broke the color code! 🙂 but everyone looks beautiful, one big happy family!!

  75. Kathleen

    November 8th, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    Beautiful post! Beautiful pictures!

  76. Brie

    November 8th, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    Despite what your other Bri says….I think your skirt fits the pallet. I see the blue and the cream so I don’t know what they’re talking about 😉 And besides, it adds a little wham bam thank you ma’am!

  77. Tish Hill

    November 8th, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    Your parents sound like such amazing people, I love them and I don’t even know them! Is it weird that I wish your dad had a facebook page to share his wisdom? Or a blog? 🙂 God bless you and your family.

  78. Monika Greenaway

    November 8th, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    LOVE. You wouldn’t know all the behind the scenes human side of your family by looking at these absolutely gorgeous photos. Thank you for sharing, your parents are an inspiration.

  79. Katelyn James

    November 8th, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    I know that is super creepy… but this is the post I look forward to EVERY year!!! haha I just love your fam!!

  80. Sonal

    November 8th, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    Your entire family is beautiful. I can feel the love in these photos!

  81. AnnaLisa

    November 8th, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    Your mom is beautiful! I love the photo of her by herself. This post made me laugh so hard. Sounds like my crazy latin family 🙂

  82. Christina Hastings

    November 8th, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    Your family is super adorable!!!!

  83. Alexis

    November 9th, 2012 at 2:16 am

    Aww, sweet! You have a beautiful family! I love the way you told the story of your annual family photo session! 🙂 You all are always in my prayers! God bless you, you big-heart, fun-loving, freely giving, wonderful people you! 😉

  84. Julie Villarreal

    November 9th, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    Beautiful family. You are blessed. Love you Jasmine!

  85. Marissa Nicole

    November 9th, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    I look forward to your family photos every year. This year…no disappointment here.

  86. Lafayette

    November 9th, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    Loving this!

  87. Rose

    November 10th, 2012 at 1:02 am

    I love reading your stories—you’ve inspired me to take the leap and get out and take pictures so I can savor moments long after the picture has been taken. Thank you Jasmine!

  88. Erin perkins

    November 10th, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    The only image missing is of you & Bianca! I dreamed of a twin … Let alone a sister and you are both darling! Maybe a twin session is next;)?!

  89. Giovanna

    November 11th, 2012 at 5:14 am

    I don’t know how you got the transcript of my families last photo shoot….but you hit the nail right on the head! Too funny!

  90. Yuliya Callahan

    November 11th, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    Your family is so much fun!

  91. Jakki

    November 13th, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    UMMMM I think I love your family….where’s the line to become adopted…..

  92. Lisandro Rivera

    November 15th, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    gangnam style! lol

  93. J.P.

    November 16th, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    Really like this family portraits.

  94. Jennifer Ramirez

    November 16th, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    OMG! I totally did not know you had a twin sister! I had to do a double take like….three times! LOL

  95. Sandra Escobosa-Guynes

    November 21st, 2012 at 11:38 pm

    Love this! I don’t think my crazy Latino family has attempted a photo shoot in years. Going home for turkey day and looking forward to capturing my big loud crazy Dominican family,

  96. Bryan Striegler

    November 25th, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    I seriously laughed out loud when I read the list of things said. Family portraits are interesting enough when it’s someone else’s family. I can only imagine how difficult it is to deal with a giant group of people you know. In the end, though, it’s worth it because you got lovely photos of the people you love. Great job.

  97. Angie Mack

    November 26th, 2012 at 4:15 am

    I just adore your family, J* ~ y’all are blessed and highly favored! Beautiful photos!

  98. arica grafton

    January 8th, 2013 at 1:08 am

    Jasmine, I love these are blessed with a wonderful family!