Family pictures aren’t really the photography gold standards. All too often, they come out looking stagy or posed. Maybe the best part of taking them is to look back on the photos decades later and laugh at the hair styles and fashion choices of the era, or maybe to pause on how much everyone involved has grown up.
But not for the Zaring family out of Missouri, who recently went viral after posting their wild family photos on Facebook. The “professional” photographer, Lesa Hall, had an issue with the “shadows” on the family’s face on the “beautiful, clear, sunny day” the photos were taken. Although the photographer had been taught to not retouch photos, she clearly did something to these people’s faces, because they look like thumbs that grew bodies, and it’s creeping everyone out.
The family claim they paid $200 for these monstrosities. USA Today spoke to the family and learned that they sat for the photographs back in May of 2016, but only received them this month. In the shot are Pam and Dave, sons Connor, 8, and Cade, 12, and Dave's mom Sharon Pentland. These photos are the only ones that the family have of their “blended family,” as Pam and Dave married only three and a half years ago.
After initially taking the photos, Hall warned them that shadows had caused significant problems. She then offered to reshoot the images, but the family “respectfully declined,” because they’re clearly not idiots. They spent months trying to just see the photos. Earlier this month, Pam received the 12 images. She says she “fell over laughing” when she opened them. As if that first batch weren’t enough, the photographer sent over a second package weeks later with even more photos with the same other-worldly retouching.
The photographer claims her professor did not teach her how to edit photos, which is honestly a very easy claim to believe. She told Pam that she used an unspecified smoothing tool to edit the faces.
All in all, though, the Zarings are taking this in good stride. “This has been fun for our family," Pam told USA Today. "Before this went viral, we planned on hanging these. We have loved them from the start. We’ve gotten so much laughter out of them."
The family’s good sense of humor led them to post the photo on Facebook so they could share their laughter. But they’ve also received messages from people going through bad times, like “breast cancer” or “the loss of a dog” who said the photos helped cheer them up. “That’s been the most humbling part,” Pam said.
Needless to say, the family will use a different photographer this year.