Families radiate personality, connection, and creativity in abundance. There is no need to stage it. And isn’t this what we want to remember with our photographs? The original, raw and unscripted version of the people we love?
At my house, raw emotion is worn on your sleeve, right next to the peanut butter handstreak. There is an outpouring of morning kisses and giggles harmonizing with the hangry monster-baby on the floor. I can hear ninja kicks going on in the bedroom overhead. All of this before the coffee-maker has finished brewing in the morning.
I am looking forward to the day when my kids sleep past dawn. But I also know the memories of my life right now will warm my empty house one day. My children are not forever. Their love of life will take them elsewhere. As my family grows up, I want to be sure I can remember the how it felt to squish Caleb's chubby little hand, to watch my husband and baby snore side-by-side, or how all the boys would have 'secret' meetings about watching movies and eating ice cream when mom was gone.
When I look at this picture, I am reminded of all the times my kids played in this dirty old cupboard. They would climb in there and no one could see them. Reid and his dog would hide in there for an eternity, quietly waiting to be discovered "You're my best friend, Woofie," Reid's voice would say from behind the cabinet door, and then in his squeaky 'woofie' voice, I would hear "yeah, I know."
You see, our personal photographs give us stories, memories, and a little bit of history to hang on to. Most of your powerful, stick-with-you memories come from a familiar place. Your home, your street where you ride bikes, the town lake you where you spend summer evenings, the pizza place the kids love. The places of your memories are packed with meaning for you, and will lend themselves to photographs that find a deep, cozy spot in your heart. This is the power of documentary-style images.
Documentary photographs can remind us of little gestures and nuances we might later forget. They can capture a glance or a hug or a head tilt that shows a bond in a way that many never get to see. They can help us remember how life felt at a particular time, and not just how it looked. They can help us describe it to our grown children as they embark on their own parenting adventures.
Hang these memories on your walls, or put them in an album to share, and suddenly you've created something lasting out of your experiences. You've solidified these memories so they don't just live in your mind. Your children will grow up seeing and hearing their own stories on display, building confidence in who they are and where they come from.
I will make this easy for you. Believe me, this is a fun process! Most families feel that having a family photo session is a great bonding experience. Don't worry about the kids, and whether they will 'perform.' When kids act out, it often makes for amazing photographs. Don't worry about how the day will play out - we will make a plan ahead of time that puts everyone at ease - with lots of wiggle room for the unexpected. We will discuss ways to capture those memories you want to hold on to and those activities that have meaning to you. And I will bring many ideas too - I have loads of ideas for fun family sessions that are beautiful to photograph.
Don't worry that you will not like unposed photographs of yourself. I understand this concern. Many other families have expressed it. But when they see their photographs, they find that they are overjoyed by the emotion and the connection they portray. Their portraits show how hard they work, and how deeply they love and are loved.
If you are longing to hold on to the wonderful moments of your life, let's talk!
A few featured sessions