where stories are told
Recently, on my Instagram Story (find me on Insta here), I posted a poll that asked "Have you ever included grandparents in your family photo sessions?" The overwhelming majority of the followers who answered were said they did not include grandparents in family photo sessions.
When I have a family inquire about a session, I always ask who all will be in the session and also if they planned on including grandparents. Some do, some don't. Some have grandparents swing by halfway through their session. I'll always encourage documenting these relationships and connections. They are truly special and one of a kind. Our kids are lucky enough to have both sets of grandparents and even surrogate grandparents who love them fiercely.
Having multi-generational pictures of your family is not something you will regret. It's highly likely that one day you will regret not having professional portraits of them (this is true for even me!). These pictures serve as a vessel for stories. For memories. For smiles and laughter. I've said it a million times in past blogs, but I will say it here again. These pictures aren't just for you. These pictures are for the generations who come after you. These pictures will tell of your legacy long after you are gone.
Read that underlined bit again. That's some powerful stuff.
Even better, schedule your session with grandparents in the comfort of your own home and reap all the benefits of being in your cozy home and having everyone in a safe space to truly be themselves. In doing so, you are setting yourself up for a wonderful session! Read reasons about why to schedule sessions in your home here.
And what about if grandparents are not local? I can't think of a more important reason to document their relationship than that alone.
I am so in love with this picture of my son and my mother in law. I love the tender touch of her on his shoulder and I wonder what they were talking about. It's not often that they get to spend one on one time together, but I was happy to sneak this photo in. I wouldn't dare disturb the moment and ask them to turn around. This is a perfect portrait of them. My hope is that with it being a wider angle shot and not a close up, years from now it will spark a discussion..."Remember when we went here?" "Oh yeah! I remember! Sissy was sick that day. And we got ice cream!" I guarantee that some of your favorite childhood memories involve your grandparents, don't they? I know mine do.
I would give an arm and a leg to have someone take pictures of me and my grandpa skipping class and meeting at a local hamburger joint for lunch back when I was in high school. Those are some of my most precious memories. Sitting with him at the lunch counter and just chatting about nothing in particular. He'd always ask me, "Hey, aren't you supposed to be in school?" And I'd just laugh and ask him how his slaw dog was.
I encourage you to consider including other members of the family into your sessions, not just grandparents. You never know when the last opportunity you will have to include them will be. Life is short and bittersweet. It's full of overwhelming joy and devastating grief- it's all just part of the adventure of life. Think about all of the relationships you have that impact your day to day life. Your tribe. Your village. These are precious people you love and trust. They are characters in your story.
If you are interested in scheduling a storytelling session with me and documenting these immensely important relationships, just click on the Contact tab above or click here. Let's preserve these memories and these relationships. And here's a bonus reason to schedule- beautiful printed portraits make the BEST gifts for any occasion and I bet it will bring a sweet tear to their eye.
Jess is a photographer serving families located in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. She specializes in documentary and storytelling photography.
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