With the addition of family and children photography to my growing repertoire, it dawns on me how rewarding it is to work with families, and also how much I have to give of myself to make it a success. Like anything else in photography, it is an open-ended creative process, and most importantly, it is fun and meaningful. The end product is a collection of photos that shows the dynamic and love between family members.
On a recent photoshoot I did, I noticed how the husband was looking at his wife with so much love. It warmed my heart as much as I am sure it did hers when she saw these images afterward. These are the types of moments captured that will be treasured and that I strive to get during my photoshoots. It is a reflection and a testimony to the love between a couple and their children. These are moments we often are unaware of or don’t have time to reflect over. Moments that pass by and are often forgotten as they melt together while we go through the motions of the day and the week.
During busy family lives, there is usually not so much time to contemplate family dynamics, but viewing photos afterward, a lot of discoveries and self-realizations can be made about our own family. I hope that photography somehow can also bring families even closer together. Those frozen moments in time will always be there as a testimony to a family’s love of one another even while time keeps on ticking relentlessly and our children are suddenly not small anymore, but young adults. It is wonderful to be able to go back and revisit images of sweet memories.
When I photograph families, my goal is to capture soulful and as truthfully as I can master part of a day in their life. I am drawing on my experience from street and documentary photography, and I see the value of remaining non-obtrusive and let the family be in their world without always be intensely aware of me. I am finding this to be a good strategy for capturing lots of great moments. Leading and making a family at ease is an excellent start to any family shoot, and then step back. With this beautiful family, I suggested they should find something to play with where everyone could participate. The boys in the family picked out their train set, and they all set out to build the train track.
Once a family gets over being uncomfortable at knowing they are being photographed the children usually take the lead being the busy bees they tend to be. Children tire easily and to always be on-demand to smile and pose is not in them for very long. As a photographer, I know the moment when I have broken through the barrier and stiffness, and when laughter and silliness are happening, and they are having fun. That is when genuine moments happen.
I created these images with my full-frame, Canon 6D, and the mirrorless Fujifilm x100f. These are two different cameras, and although I prefer the Fujifilm because of its small size, electronic viewfinder, speed, and accuracy of focusing, the Canon did produce vivid colors in their cozy and colorful apartment, which certainly added to the fun as it helped lend harmony to the photos.
The family wished for photographs at home, both inside and outside showing their building in the background, reflecting them in a day as a family at home. It is not necessarily my first choice as a background for a family portrait, but to them, it was important. The best of all is that the children’s grandmother joined us for part of the day. It was her wish her to have a set of photos with grandchildren and family to share with friends. If grandparents live nearby, I will encourage their inclusion. Their feedback was very generous, and they were grateful to have a collection of quality photos the boys will also appreciate as they grow up.