This summer I started to LOVE photographing family portraits. It was a major turning point for me. I used to have such a hard time with them because I really don’t like the whole matching-outfits-forced-smiles thing. It didn’t seem honest or real – both things I want for all portraits I create.
This summer, after an influx of family portrait commissions coming up on the schedule, I decided to do some soul searching and pin point exactly what I don’t and do love about both the idea and the reality of family portrait sessions. I won’t share all of my bullet points but what came out of it was a new excitement about what kinds of pictures I want to create for families, as well as what kinds of pictures I would want for my own family.
Meet the Carolynn, Garrett, Jack, and Max:
I shot this session in September after thinking “if I were a parent, what would I want on my wall to remember this time in my kids life”. And for me what came to mind was wanting to see their real personality and JOY! I would want gorgeous images of my kids being exactly who they are, because that’s exactly how I love them.
SO my sessions are now run more like a play date. We get together in a place where everyone is comfortable (your backyard, farm, or favorite park) and we run around together, laughing (usually screaming) and playing. The resulting images are mostly candid, with genuine expressions, and void of stuffy obligation.
I encourage parents to dress their kids in what they love and feel most comfortable in, because those are the things you’ll look back on later and think “Oh My Gosh, remember that cape?! He lived in that for that entire YEAR!” And then you’ll bring it out for his girlfriend to see on prom night…
(And yes, I do encourage yearly sessions because they change so much – and how fun is it to have a book or something from each year!).
We might spend a lot of time in the session running around screaming like maniacs, and then collapsing on the ground….
If rolling in the grass and getting dirty makes your kids the happiest, they may come away with grass stains on their knees, but you’ll never notice it because you’ll be too busy giggling at their hilarious and heart melting facial expressions.
But I think the key word here is “Play”. Know that when you shoot with me, we’re there to have a good time, and capture the joy and love that hold your family together. We play because that’s what our kids do, and in my opinion, one of the best parts about having kids is having the excuse to be a kid again.
I know this type of photography isn’t for everyone, and in fact that’s what I love about it! There will always be photographers who do family photos that are stiff and posed and maybe even technically “perfect”. But I will always prefer to get loud and messy if it means genuine smiles and honest emotion, and images that make you say “Now that’s my child”.
Those are the pictures that I want for my family, and the pictures that I want to give to the families I get the honor of photographing.
If you’re interested in scheduling a family shoot with me, just send me a message by clicking here. I encourage families in Oregon, however, to consider waiting until the grass is dry enough to roll around in 🙂