Archive for the ‘Family Portraits’ Category
November and December is always crunch time. Among hanging as many Christmas lights as I can cram on our house, wrapping the presents I bought in April, making a bunch more gifts because I got inspired by Pinterest, watching our favorite holiday movies (which include Die Hard, Love Actually, Elf, It’s a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Story and The Snowman), drinking hot toddies and stringing up snowflakes cut from of coffee filters (a new tradition!!) I am reconnecting with LOTS of my sweet clients (and making a few new friends who have been referred) to create their holiday portraits. This year, I felt rather legit because, with the enthusiastic prompting of my little sister, I bought my first professional studio backdrops that I’ve been considering for a year or two. I’ve only been a professional photographer for 13 years now. But I just wasn’t sure that having something like that would suddenly make my images look total cheeseball land. Good news: I am so crazy in love with my “glimmer” backdrop. Not only was it perfectly soft and dreamy for the holidays, it is so beautiful for maternity and baby portraits. I even did gorgeous new head shots for my sister with it sparkling in the background. I love my new “Merry Christmas” garland from Etsy and the “LOVE” pillows showed up quite festively as well! So many wonderful shots this year so thought I’d just do a collection of my favorites. I hope your holidays are as happy and beautiful as mine have been!
When I work with families over and over for years as I have with the Meyer Family, I start to wonder – how am I going to make this shoot different? But in the end I never really have to worry about it because as the children grow and change, so do the family dynamics and so the images reflect just that. But Luke’s dirty beloved yellow fish is the grounding element in all our shoots – the details that strings them all together. I was so happy to have Riley in the session with us. Such a love. Can that shot of Lily giving the pup a kiss be ANY sweeter? I just melt when I look at it.
Luke is now four. He is a lot like I was at that age. Strong-willed and independent. As we walked to the open space and watched him tromping off with Riley, their black lab, to explore little nooks, his parents and I chatted about how hard it can be to feel like a loving parent when you have to set soooo many boundaries so consistently. It’s a delicate balance of not going head-to-head over every little thing because that can oftentimes be exactly like a Chinese finger pull. You lay down the law with a stubborn kid (or adult, ahem) and they just hunker in and there is a lock-down drag out battle of the wills. I know this well. This is how I often react when someone gets bossy with me. But I also know that as much as I needed freedom to explore, respect for my creative and dynamic personality, a little sideways interaction that made me feel empowered and like I just came up with a brilliant idea of my own- I also desperately needed the law laid down for me. I was so independent that people usually assumed I was totally confident and capable. But a lot of times I felt really scared. So I acted confident. I wanted so badly to know that someone else was competently in charge, that someone would protect me. When people that I respected set clear boundaries with me I felt safe, secure, protected and like I could just be a kid and play. I know this is Cesar Milan’s Leader of the Pack training 101 and I’m not saying anything profound. These are just the types of things we tend to muse on during our photo shoots while the wind is blowing crazily and leaves are flying everywhere.
The Finebergs are brand new to Recherche Photography and I LOVE working with them!! Allison is amazing- beautiful, gracious, direct and flexible. And her babies are just gorgeous. We have so many ideas for future shoots, gallery images and photo books. She is coordinating a large family photo shoot when everyone shows up for Thanksgiving so stay tuned for those images!
About ten years ago when friends and clients started asking me to take photos of their children I was nervous. I associated “portraits” with stiff, posed, awkward, Olan Mills, waxy expressions and generic. No one was doing candid lifestyle portrait work back then. I was in a quandary. I didn’t want to be doing posed work. But could I just let people do stand around in awkwardly and trust that I would get the artistic photos they were paying me for? That was terrifying for me. How can you “guarantee” art with so many uncontrolled factors? The biggest one being CHILDREN.
Fast forward. This is now what I do. My clients come over, hang out, explore my studio (and entire home if they are little boys over two) and we try to sneak in some family portraits. It feels a little chaotic, a little noisy, a little nonchalant and maybe a little stressful for parents that have a lot invested in having their children “behaving” so the photos turn out well.
“Terrifying” might not be the word I use to describe every portrait session I shoot- but it’s definitely along those lines. If you know me at all, you know that I am excessively organized and perfectionistic. I like things in order- my order. But this is NOT how I shoot. I can’t create the authentic and original images I crave in a controlled way. Instead, I open the door when my clients arrive and immediately take it all in- the children’s ages, expressions, moods, the family dynamics, outfits, their style, the quality of light in and out of the studio. And then we shoot. I pull out backdrops, move everything around in the studio- primarily anything I set out in preparation because it NEVER is what works in that situation. I get inspired, a little scared, a little overwhelmed, a little nervous, a little curious, a lot creative, a lot energized and surprised EVERY single shoot.
So along the way I guess I’ve learned to trust the process. Do I feel confident? Not particularly. But based on ten years of sessions that have resulted in beautiful images that I could never have predicted or controlled, I have faith that no matter what happens during a shoot, we’ll have something lovely at the end. Faith. Faith in the genuine, the beauty and the love that is seeping through the moments of the mundane and chaotic. It is always there. I just try to focus in on it.