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Our Face to the World


What’s the most important thing we at Family Times decide each month? Without question, it’s what the magazine’s cover looks like. If the cover image doesn’t appeal to readers, if the words don’t draw you in, we haven’t succeeded. Our covers have changed over the years—going from newsprint to glossy format in September 2007, for example—but the essential process of coming up with a cover remains the same every month: We pick a theme and figure out a setting and props to convey that theme. We select a model (often a winner of our annual Cover Kid Contest, but also, frequently, a child of a magazine staffer or contributor) and find a time when our photographer (Michael Davis), lead designer and photo stylist (Briana Viel), model and model’s parent can assemble for the photo shoot. Finally, Family Times’ designer pulls together the words and images to make a cover so irresistible, you simply must pick up the magazine and take it home. (At least we hope so.)

What follows is a gallery of some of our favorite covers from the past decade, since our first issue in May 2002. We hope you enjoy seeing how the magazine was back in the day, and how it’s evolved to today’s look.


The Baby Has Grown Up

In 2002, when Family Times was being launched, I was an advertising sales representative for its sister publication, the Syracuse New Times. I had two children, Gabriella, age 6 months, and Drew, age 3½, and the then-editor of Family Times, Tina Schwab, asked if she could use my son on the cover of the magazine in a motorcycle jacket. I said, “Sure, sounds great!” The morning of the shoot, at the photographer’s studio, Drew just wanted to play and wasn’t up for having his picture taken.

I had Gabriella with me, and she was all smiles, so the photographer (Chuck Wainwright, Family Times’ main photographer from 2002 through most of 2006) decided to take some pictures of her. She was still in her pink pajamas! We got a shot of her that became the first cover of the magazine.

Then, in 2003, when Gabriella was nearly 3 and Drew was 6, our family moved to Richmond, Va., so my husband could take a better job with his company. Gabriella’s grandfather had retired in the area, so it was somewhat familiar.

Now, nine years later, the whole family is well-established in Richmond. At age 10, Gabriella is an energetic, funny and very athletic fifth-grader. She has participated in tennis and played on several soccer teams for three years from the ages of 4 to 7. Last year she earned a first-degree black belt in tae-kwon-do through an Orlando, Fla.-based martial arts academy. Gabriella has competed in national tournaments, earning several first-place medals and trophies. Gabriella also likes to compete with her 13-year-old brother, a second-degree black belt.

In her downtime, Gabriella likes spending time with her dogs, a wheaten terrier and a pocket beagle, her cat, and her two hermit crabs.
—Liz Graf






July 2003
A Fun shot depicting summer. We love the goggles!

















October 2004
Designer Lisa Mergler-Santoro's daughter, Grace, 8, got into the Halloween spirit in this close-up. (Lisa also did the face painting.)














April 2005

Photographer Chuck Wainwright captured this award-winning shot of Karen Belgrader with her son, Peter, 5, before the arrival of his sister, Courtney.














July 2006
The flip-flop family was created by local illustrator Dee Densimon-D'Amico, who has won several awards from the Parenting Publications of America.














June 2007
This shot of keyboardist Noah Kellman by Michael Davis won an award for the PPA as well.















August 2008
Cover Kid Contest winner Madison was photographed with several animals at Abbott Farms but the chemistry was best with the calf.
















December 2000
In the first year of our winter-themed Drawing Contest, we chose 6-year-old Declan Sommer's picture as the winner.

















August 2010
Sisters Edent (left) and Allie created a mood of anticipation with their serene expressions. The girls' parents provided the family minivan.
















January 2011
Zoyee, a Cover Kid Contest winner. posed perfectly for a cover that featured a growth chart in this photo by Diane Salatino.













Annual Themes

Baby Times
Jackson Dufort, dressed like a tiny man in a vest, refrained from crawling enough for photographer Michael Davis to get the picture.

















Special Needs 2011
Our third special needs issue featured Sarah Hamlin of Clay.

© Family Times: The Parenting Guide of Central New York