I'm here to present you with this- a new take on family portraits.
Throw away the notion that everyone has to be dressed in perfectly coordinated outfits. Throw away the notions that everyone needs to be still and smiling and acting happy in a golden field of wildflowers. Toss aside the doubts that may creep into your mind that revolve around the idea of perfection...it exists, but not in the way that it is bombarded at you on social media.
Because although there is nothing wrong with golden fields of wildflowers and expertly coordinated outfits (they make for gorgeous pictures for sure!), that's not what I am here for. I'm here to offer you an alternative, something real. Something pure. Something that lends itself to nostalgia and legacy building. Something low key, but entirely beautiful. Something that speaks to the season of life you are in this very second. Something that is unique to your family and is your brand of perfect.
Something worth remembering.
When I look back at our family photos, I want to feel a sense of romanticized nostalgia. I want to see a picture of my toddler clinging to my legs, face covered in peanut butter and jelly. I want to see us laughing over a book in the midst of pillows and blankets. I want to see them in their old Halloween costumes and rainboots (What is it with toddlers and rainboots? I don't know, but I love it!) I want to see our family gathered around the kitchen table talking and laughing, enjoying the food prepared with so much love. I want to see their artwork hung haphazardly on the walls and I want to see their favorite toys being played with. I want to see the messes and the chaos, the entire range of emotions that we go through in a day. I want to see our afternoon bike rides and to be reminded of the pretend games we played.
I want to be able to hear the pictures, to smell them...to truly remember them in my heart.
I want to have a reaction to them.
I feel like if you are here and you are reading this blog, this may be something you want too. Something that speaks to your heart.
So, how do we get there? How do we achieve this?
It's simple. You invite me into your home and you live your life the way you always do, and I take care of the rest. There's no stress and zero judgement from me. I'm not worried about the messes we will create and I'm not worried about seeing meltdowns. This is life... and it's beautiful. I want to blend into your family like an old friend and share these experiences with you. I want to create art out of your ordinary, every day moments that you will treasure more with each year that passes. Life is short. Sometimes it's too short. Take the time to be present in these moments and let the pictures speak for themselves.
To schedule your session or to have a chat about what your needs are, you can contact me here or by clicking the Contact tab above. I am happy to pop on a video call with you or email some additional information.
Photography has always been a deeply emotional act for me. I put so much of myself into creating beautiful art out of our everyday moments, it has always felt very personal and intimate to me. It feels...vulnerable.
I read a quote quite some time ago and it really resonated with me. I'm no poet and I can't come up with lyrical prose to make sense of the world around me. So reading this specific quote verbalized all the things I was feeling in regards to photography. It felt so good. It felt like, "Yes. This. All of this. This is me. This. This. This." Since then, I've been able to understand the feelings that I feel and why I feel them in regards to art and photography- and now I can use that knowledge even better than before, because it's stronger.
" You don't make a photograph with just a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved." - Ansel Adams
When I approach my own personal work or a clients session, the prep work is essential to me- but I'm always doing it, every single day. I prepare myself by training my brain to seek out that inspiration. I set aside a time to intentionally take in inspiration, but when I'm not doing that, my brain is doing it unintentionally.
I am heavily inspired by music. I love listening to music and I would 100% rather sit around listening to music than I ever would TV. I want my soul stirred by musicians putting their heart and soul into their songs. I want to feel what they are feeling.
I take inspiration from light. I love light as a subject in and of itself. I love noticing how the light falls, how it caresses surfaces, how it moves and takes on a life of it's own. I love the way it illuminates the most ordinary objects and makes them beautiful.
Often times while I am doing these things, I am thinking of all the things that have brought me to this place. The experiences I have had, the people I've loved (and the ones who have already left this Earth), the love I have received, the art I've seen, stories I've heard, and photographs I've seen before.
Basically, I get in my feelings.
Call it mediation, call it thinking, call it daydreaming, call it whatever you want. This is my process.
When I am at session, I am making use of this prep work. I'm in tune with my what and my why- they come to me easily now.
And I'm able to anticipate and see (really see) moments and stories unfolding. And I'm able to shoot accordingly.
When it comes to the editing process, I have a pretty specific routine that really plays into my turnaround times. My work is often times not viewed as a single individual photo, but instead as a body of work. A collection. It's viewed as a whole. Sure, I'll have favorite photos within the collection, but they are usually stronger when viewed as a whole, especially with my Day in the Life Work. I take time to marinate (yes, I call it marinate!) on the photos before I edit them and then again after they are edited. I need a day to marinate again and view them as a whole before I send them to my clients.
If you'd like to book your Storytelling Session with me or a Day in the Life Session, I am more than happy to talk with you and talk about what stories you want to preserve. Click here or the Contact tab above.
And to my existing Clients, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for respecting my creative process and hiring me to tell your stories. It's such an honor.
Some say that Friday is for fun, but this family goes all out on Sunday. Due to work schedules, Sunday is their day to be together with nothing on the agenda except what they want to do. Sometimes that means Dad makes pancakes from scratch and they hang around the house, but more times than not it means that they pack in the fun with their daughter and squeeze a week's worth of fun into a single day.
This session captured one of the activity filled Sundays. I've worked with this family several times in the past and I was so over-the -moon thrilled that they decided on a Day in the Life Session!
When I arrived, everyone was finishing up getting dressed and we were headed out the door for fresh, gourmet coffee (and the best cup of Earl Grey for me!) at The Cure in downtown Norfolk. Then we strolled down the streets of this charming district, took in the beautiful water views, watched sailboats, and ended up at the "Pirate Park" to play.
As lunchtime neared, we headed to Taste for the best sandwiches and salads in all of Hampton Roads. (Seriously, if you're coming to visit the area- this is the place you want to go!) They decided to dine at home because friends were stopping by to say hi and for a quick play date. And of course, we don't want to miss that, do we?
They played, enjoyed the day to it's fullest, fed the birds, made brownies, and even had time to throw together an amazing lasagna before bath and bed time.
I have to say, sessions like these are my absolute favorite. I'm with you for your whole day and I love the freedom it gives me to truly capture your family. It gives me ample opportunity to see the heart of your family and to understand your "why". There's no pressure. There's no posing or saying cheese. You don't have to be "on". You just have to be. I try to blend right into the family and just enjoy the day right along with you.
If you're on the fence about booking a session, just do it. You won't regret it. You'll love the memories captured and you'll treasure them for years to come. Even your ordinary days are really magical, you've just got to see it.
Click here to inquire about booking your session or click the contact tab above. I can't wait to talk to you about your memories.
Jess is a photographer serving families located in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. She specializes in documentary and storytelling photography.