Each year I take our family photos and this year I wanted to take more than simply a family photo so I brought out my tripod and set the timer and just captured what happened. It is a very different experience photographing your family when you are in front of the camera instead of behind it. I am so use to interacting with my clients and seeing what I am capturing so this was a fun and different challenge. In the end we got some great photos with connection, love, and laughter.
As mothers we spend most of our days taking care of our kids, running errands, preparing meals, cleaning the house, doing dishes, washing laundry, working, and then when we stop and grab the camera we tend to focus on capturing our kids. Let’s face it, those little being are always cute even with bed head hair or food smeared on their faces, adults not so much. I can’t tell you how many days I don’t even shower until dinner time because we haven’t left the house in days and I am busy cleaning and playing with kids so the last thing I want to do is jump in front of the camera.
Well when I started to look back at photos of our family I realized that I was missing from our story. I would capture all these beautiful everyday moments and routine as well as major milestones of the kids but I was always behind the camera. As hard as it may be to be in the image (we all have our own reasons- don’t like the way we look that day, want to lose weight, too busy, etc.) we have to remember that we were there too. When our kids look back through photos of their childhood it’s so important for them to see mom and dad and to remember how we looked and that we were there at all those special moments too.
This past year I have really tried to get into the frame too. I am not talking about using my cell phone and stretching my arms out to take a selfie (those have their place) but to really be in the story. Those of you who follow my work know that I don’t tend to stop the moment to have my subjects face me and smile (though sometimes the moment calls for those I know) but I prefer to capture the moment as they happens. Think about how you remember moments of life, are the kids standing there posed looking at you or at the memories of playing and engaged in activities? Try to capture those moments just as you remember them.
I know you are thinking, well how can I take these if I am just one person at home with these little people? I personally do not tend to hand my camera over to someone else to take images of me very often because most of the time the photos they take are very different than the story I want to tell (even while looking at the same subject and in the same environment). While I have a fancy tripod and a remote for my camera I pretty much never use it. I dial in my exposure (you can always use auto too if that works best for you), set the camera to the timer mode (I have mine set to interval so it take one photo every 4 seconds for a series of 9 images in a row), and prop my camera up on whatever happens to be nearby. I will use a bench, the stroller, a dresser, a bucket, dashboard, etc. As long as it’s at the height I need and is sturdy enough for my camera to not get knocked over I will use it. I don’t plan these self portraits, they are moments that while happening I think would be nice to capture so I quickly grab my camera and snap a few images. I love using the timer mode because I can set it and then let the camera capture whatever moment happens.
For those of you who might feel awkward in front of the camera let me say I totally get it! My best tip is be sure you have something else to focus on instead of just you and the camera. You can see from my photos below I am not smiling looking at the camera but have a connection with someone in the photo, generally laughing. This not only helps the subjects feel more relaxed but tells a much better story since you are capturing connection and emotion.
I encourage you to be in the frame, not only for yourself but for your little ones. Whether you set the camera up with a timer, use your phone, have someone else take it for you the point is to be present and in the photo. Have fun, document your life, and remember we were there too!
Remember last summer when an photo I took of my oldest daughter on a swing was picked up by a local magazine and featured on the cover? I blogged about it here if you want to see it again and you can see the digital copy of the magazine on their website here. Well the editor of the magazine contacted me in October asking if I would be interested in being hired to do a series of 3 sessions for the cover and to accompany the main article about 3 local doctors and researchers. Of course I said yes and was so thrilled to be able to be a part of this incredible community resource for families. These sessions took place at OHSU, Randall Children’s Hospital, and Providence Park and featured the doctor/researcher and their children.
Well fast forward to January and the magazine hit the stands at almost a thousand locations through the Portland Metro area. Of course I picked up a few copies for myself. You can also see this issue of the magazine in digital form on their website here. Seriously anywhere a family or child might visit you will find this magazine- doctor’s offices, toy store, library, pre schools, OMSI, etc. I cannot tell you how much this means to me, it’s a dream come true to be able to share my love of photography with others. Seeing this out and about with my image on the cover is just the most incredible feeling! A big shout out and THANK YOU to PDX Parent for being such a great organization dedicated to helping local families find the resources they need. If you haven’t been to their website you need to visit!
Here are some photos of the pages you can see my photos on in the January issue of PDX Parent. YAY!!!
Snow, evergreens, and one very sweet family! I put out a request on my business facebook page asking if anyone was interested in doing a family session at a local Christmas tree farm. This family immediately emailed me and sign up for my very last session of 2016. As luck would have it we got a light covering of snow the day before leaving the ground covered in white.
When we showed up at a session the family started playing, interacting, and having fun without any sort of direction because they know my style of photography and it was a photographers dream! I love this session so much and how much happiness and personality you can feel in the images. There is so much love between these four, such a great family that I was so happy to be able to photograph.
Let me just talk about these sweet boys for a minute. I mean seriously how adorable are they? These two made my job so easy! They were laughing, running around, playing, being silly, which set the tone for entire session. If you are thinking these cuties look family well you are right, I took their photos last year as a surprise Christmas present for their dad. This year I was so happy to capture the entire family! Here are some of my favorite images from the session!
A gift of photography is one that will be cherished forever since it’s the only way to freeze time. This family of 3 siblings wanted to give their parents a gift they would love and appreciate so they contacted me about doing a session with all of their children. The mom of one of the kids contacted me about doing a session at Memorial Park in Woodburn. I love shooting at different locations so was excited about this location. On the morning of the session it was cold and rainy but coordinating four different schedules is challenging so we decided to just go forward with the session and I am so glad we did. It was a perfect fall session and with leaves everywhere it provided a fun environment for the kids to play and be silly.
This mama is an avid reader, so when her husband gifted a session for Mother’s day what better setting for the session that the library! When it’s cold and rainy outside in autumn venturing inside for photos is a great idea. When we got to the library we moved some furniture around to create a little reading nook for them. I absolutely love this sweet session with this adorable family. After they finished reading their books we ventured outside to the beautiful nature park behind the library for a few family photos. I had the honor of taking their family photos last year at this same park and it’s fun to see how much the boys have grown and change.
Here in Oregon it rains a lot! So when we arrive at the session location and it’s raining we still move forward and do the session anyway. This family were such troopers! It sprinkled, then poured, then hailed! It was just crazy! Regardless of the insane Oregon weather we just went with the flow and had so much fun. I don’t think I have ever been so soaking wet at a session but as you can see in the photos it didn’t stop us.
Scouting new locations is always on my mind to create variety in my family sessions. This year I really wanted to do a session at a Christmas tree farm and when I proposed this location to a client and they jumped on the idea I was so excited! What other location says Pacific Northwest better than standing by evergreens! Oh beautiful Oregon, I love you!
This family is absolutely the best! I met this family right after they moved here from Southern California and instantly knew this mama a I would be best of friends. This mama is a friend and a photographer. She specializes in newborn photography and her work is stunning! If you are expecting a baby you need to check out her website. Such a rare find in life to find a friend who you connect so well with but to find an entire family who your family is friends with is just so rare!
There was no way I could pick just a few from this session, I love them all so much! As you can see my sessions are FUN! Lots of laughing, playing, interacting, emotions, and authentic moments. I believe in capturing life as it happens and to not only take a photo but to create a fun environment and memories so that when you look back at your photos you will remember how much fun you had.