Long Island Parent Talk

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The truth about family holiday portraits

Maggie Berger, 1, of Oceanside poses for a

Maggie Berger, 1, of Oceanside poses for a holiday picture. (Credit: Handout)

Before I had my daughter, I couldn't wait to get the perfect family picture for our Christmas cards. Now that I have Maggie, I have a family picture, but let's just say it's not so perfect.

Thinking I was ahead of other Long Island parents, I arranged a photo shoot at a chain store the Sunday before Thanksgiving. Mistake number one. 

It was overcrowded. It was hot. The toddler would not sit still. 

I still have visions of my little angel in a red dress darting through the packed store -- hair clips out of place, dress ribbon undone.

My husband and I looked like we'd just scaled the Himalayas, sweat dripping down our foreheads. Not quite ready for our closeups.

Sympathetic looks were offered by other parents, along with knowing nods of encouragement. By the time it was our turn to say "cheese," the last thing we all wanted to do was smile.

As for props, Maggie wouldn't let go of the ornaments, which ended up breaking -- three different ones -- before we even started.

The photographer did snap a few good shots. But don't be fooled by the cherubed-faced toddler in our photos. Behind those baby blues, she really was a devil in disguise.

If you haven't yet experienced the joy of taking your children to a portrait studio, here are some things you might learn from my mistakes:

*Although you might think you're planning ahead, plan even earlier. Next year, I'll be going in early November -- on a weekday.

*If you want to be photographed in heels, wear flats and change shoes before the shoot. Running in heels only looks good in the movies.

*You'll likely work up a sweat. Don't forget face powder. And deodorant. 

*Laugh. Most parents understand what it takes to snag the "perfect" picture. 

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