Families are messy. Especially when there are kids involved. And that means that no family portrait shoot will ever be perfect. This fact of life is one of the reasons why I love family portrait photography, and why I aim for authenticity over perfection.
Trust me that you’re going to get beautiful photos. I can ensure that the lighting is right, the composition is great, the color looks fantastic, and the posing is the best we can do. What I can’t control are all of the people and personalities in a family. Those are the wild and hilarious variables that make families each unique and that create the beautiful authentic, storytelling photos that you’ll love to display in your home and look at everyday.
The number one piece of advice that I give to parents before family portrait sessions is to be realistic. Babies cry and poop – whenever they want. Kids do that ridiculous smile where they brace their teeth and close their eyes. Sometimes it rains. Sometimes it’s cold. Sometimes people have stains on their clothes that they didn’t notice. Sometimes we end up doing photos in your living room even though you didn’t make it look like a Martha Stewart commercial. This is all part of what I want to document for you – the imperfection of your life. I don’t want to make photos where you are all posed and smiling nicely for the camera. That is not real life. I want to make photos that show personalities and moments and memories and that will make you chuckle and smile every time you see them on your wall.
The number two piece of advice that I give to parents before family portrait sessions is to be realistic. (See what I did there?) Not everyone will smile in every photo, not everyone will have their ties on straight, not every child will give you the smile that you want. And it’s likely during that hour that at least one person will have a meltdown – it’s usually the 2-year old, but you never know. Still, we do our best. I’ll remind you to stop looking at the camera, look at each other, make a silly face and laugh as much as possible.
If you haven’t already guessed, the number three piece of advice that I give before family portrait sessions is to be realistic. This is your family on an average day, not television where everything is controlled and practiced.
And the final piece of advice that I give families is to treasure portraits as time capsules, little moments you can relive over and over again every time you see that portrait hanging on the wall. Sure Bobby’s hair is a mess, Suzie has a chipped tooth, and your teenager insists on the boyfriend-of-the-month being in the photo. But you will treasure these photos anyway because these moments are all part of your family’s story.
I am just the storyteller.