Whenever I am taking photos for someone else, especially engagement pictures, I try to watch out for the dreaded Zombie Hand. Zombie Hand (ZH) happens when someone has his/her arm around someone else; from the front, you can see the hand, but the line of the arm is broken by something else so the hand is just sort of there, but not optically connected to anything else. Just disembodied body parts. An example, from our 2010 Christmas photo shoot just because they're some of my favorite family photos:
I know this doesn't always absolutely ruin a picture. I mean, look at this photo:
Absolutely adorable picture, bad ZH! But I would love this so more without the ZH clawing towards Kaleb's cute face. It always bothers me. So when we're having a family photo taken, I always say "no zombie hand!" before the photographer starts shooting. But since our family photo shoots always nearly immediately devolve into something like this:
worrying about ZH is probably pointless. (I'm serious. 90% of all Sorensen family photo shoots look like this, except lately there has also been an influx of "OMG, I'm going to die if there is one more photo taken" faces.)
But I still have the habit. No zombie hand!
One kid in particular, lately, has hated having his picture taken. That'd be Jake. He just hates the whole experience. But come on...I need at least a few photos every couple of months, yes? So I told my boys this year that for my birthday, I wanted a photo of each of them and then one of them with me. We took the ones of Nathan and Kaleb on the Sunday before my birthday, but Jake was extra-grumpy so I decided to wait until this Sunday, when Haley would be home (she can always make him laugh!) to take them.
When she was about to take the photo, I could tell he was doing ZH. Totally on purpose. So I tried to play along, and we ended up with this photo:
not just zombie hand, but my attempt at zombie face, too. Sort of goofy, but I love this picture! It captures so many things about our relationship. Maybe not in an obvious way, but my eye can see them.
When I looked at it tonight after downloading my memory card, it sort of took my breath away, in fact. It reminded me to worry less about trying to create the best images (technically) and more about creating the real images. The ones that say something true and real and honest and right now.
Don't get me wrong. I'll still say "no zombie hand!" whenever I'm in a picture I'm not taking. But I'm going to try to have more fun instead of being so worried about perfection.