If I can be honest with you for a second, I have always hoped that this family would want me to photograph them at some point. I just love the dynamics of their little family and their kids are incredible.
So, when it finally happened, I jumped at the chance. I did a little happy dance!
They started out playing a game of Uno in their sunroom that they love so much. It got a little rowdy and I can relate, our family gets really into games too! I love fast paced games like that. It's always fun to photograph.
Then we went to the backyard to build a fire, watch the sunset, and eat some yummy s'mores. I love when a family wants to do something a little non-traditional (obviously), but I also love the opportunity to shoot past the golden hour and into blue hour (really minutes, it fades quickly!) and beyond.
As I was shooting these, I loved the silvery blue hue the light was giving. It was so overcast and so cold outside, the tones just reflected that perfectly. I'm totally smitten with this whole set.
I mean, come on, look at these girls!
If you'd like to talk about documenting these ordinary days of yours and making the most out of your moments, let's talk- you and me.
Let's talk about how these moments are fleeting and this is the only way to preserve them. Let's talk about how to get you in the frame with your loved ones instead of always being behind the camera yourself.
Click here to send me a message or click on the Contact tab above.
Did the title catch you a bit off guard?
I believe it with my whole heart. There are somethings I just don't do in a session and this is one of them. The same goes for everyone in the session. (For Day in the Life Sessions, I reserve 10 minutes for a loosely posed, smiling family portrait at the end!!) One of the things that makes documentary photography really great and unique is that there is a level of trust established between you, the photographer, and the camera. And one of the most important lessons I've learned over the years of documenting peoples lives and intimate moments is that it's imperative that you convey that you accept them right where they are and exactly where they are at in their life.
One of the ways I do that is to express to my families the desire to blend in. I always say right from the get go, I'm like the adorably awkward, yet fun, Aunt the kids haven't seen in a while. I tell them that there are zero expectations from me and that this is meant to be a zero stress experience. And lastly, I don't ever ask them to look at the camera, be fully aware of it, and smile. Because let's face it, a lot of us don't love to be in front of the camera.
*But it's so, so, so important! Click here to read some of the reasons why I want you in front of the camera and being an active participant in memory making*
I believe that when you ask someone to look at the camera and smile, you are subconsciously telling them that this is the way they need to appear. They need to always appear happy and smiling. The truth is, sometimes life isn't happy and smiling. But that doesn't make it less beautiful or worthy of remembering.
Sometimes there are quiet moments.
Sometimes there are chaotic moments.
And every single human emotion in between. Humans are complex and we have such incredible minds. We have such a wide range of emotions and they make up who we are. I value that.
As a mother myself, I can often romanticize memories and look back at them with a rose colored lens (and that's okay!). Having pictures that document our days helps me to remember the hard times, the quiet times, and just exactly how fleeting these moments were. And it puts it into perspective that all of these moments make up our lives, not just the good and happy ones.
Our emotions are valid. Our feelings are valid.
I won't ever ask you to smile if you don't want to. I'll take the picture with a quiet reverence and feel grateful that you trusted me enough to let me in your space. It's really an honor to share your days with you.
If you want to book a storytelling session with me for your family (or if you're expecting a new little one!), please click here to reach out to me or use the Contact tab above. I have a super helpful little guide to send to you that will have all the important information you need to book your session with me. Got questions? I'm here to help. Reach out to me here or on Facebook or Instagram.
There's this running joke in the photography community, photographer's children hate the camera, anything to do with pictures, and will act like wild animals if they even sense the camera turning on. Back when I did portrait photography (seems like a lifetime ago), I would always chuckle and cry because I knew it to be so true.
But then, oh glorious day, I made the decision to do a 180 and follow my real passion- capturing authenticity. That's a whole other blog post I'll write one day, but for now, just know that my kids no longer have "photographer's child syndrome". Which is awesome- I feel like they feel respected and appreciated just the way they are, in their natural habitat. And I am over the moon because I get real, meaningful portraits of my kids. Portraits of them just the way they are and exactly how my heart will always remember them.
So, let's get to it. What are some ways YOU can prepare your kids for a shoot with me? Here's 5 easy ways to help them (and you) prepare for your awesome family storytelling session with me!
I hope you found this helpful and I hope it eases any worries you may have had. I'm aiming for zero stress over here.
If you'd like to chat a bit about a session with me, I'm all ears. We can do a quick video chat or simply send me a message and I'll send you a digital magazine with all of the details.
I want to preserve this time for you. The whole family deserves to be in the frame and your children will cherish this keepsake for years to come. These pictures will only get sweeter with time.
Jess is a photographer serving families located in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. She specializes in documentary and storytelling photography.