The love of a family – extended family portrait session

“The love of a family is life’s greatest blessing.”

I’ve known this family for many, many years.  I became friends with Shelly in college and am fortunate enough to live in the same town with her now. I’ve always admired Shelly’s parents…they were always so welcoming to our large group of friends and I always really admired how close they were as a family. I’ve been photographing Shelly and her boys for several years now, but when Shelly told me that her entire family was interested in an extended family session, I knew that I really wanted to try to capture that bond between them.  

It was a gorgeous spring day and the weather could not have been better for a portrait session.  Though if I had one complaint, it would be that there are still not leaves on the trees, which I guess is to be expected this early in the spring season. But I do prefer shooting with full trees as a backdrop to let the beautiful light filter through the leaves.  But there was a gorgeous sky and a magical sunset and as I’ve often said, all I really want for a session is beautiful light. 

I don’t think I’ve seen Shelly’s brother Ryan in about 20 years, but it was so much fun to meet his wife and two kids.  They were just the absolute best kids to photograph…so full of personality and so completely adorable and sweet with each other. I enjoyed capturing the children interacting with their cousins and playing together.  I got a kick out of how little KD had this gentle way of keeping the boys on task.  I just couldn’t help smile while editing this session, and had a hard time picking my favorites for the blog preview.

In looking at these photos, I thought this might be a good time to talk about what exactly is “Lifestyle Photography.”  I think it is a good idea for clients to understand what that means coming into a session, and how I approached these images. I think that one of my favorite photographers, Lisa Tichane, explains in well in this article from Clickin Moms (one of my favorite photography resources).

She says “My own take on lifestyle photography is a mix of authentic and staged. What I am shooting could actually happen in real life (this is the core definition of “lifestyle” in my opinion), however I would never have captured such a variety of images in such a short amount of time if I had not interfered. During a session, I create a diversity of opportunities that will generate real-life type of images which might not have spontaneously happened at that specific moment if I hadn’t been there to jump-start them.”

What I wanted to point out about these images, is that it helps me to know a little about my subjects in order for me to guide the session into producing those real-life type images.  Yes, I had the advantage here because I’ve known Shelly’s boys all their lives, but I had never met their cousins KD and Judah before.  But what helped me immensely were the questions that Shelly answered for me before the session. I knew a little about their personalities while I was planning my session, and knew that they would be OK in being close and loving for some images.  That wouldn’t have worked for all siblings and knowing a little about their personalities before hand helps me to know how to guide them before I get to a session. 

Another thing that helps, especially for a session with this many people, is knowing what the client’s priorities are for a session.  Shelly especially wanted a photo of all the kids with their grandparents, so we mades sure to make that a priority. 

Have you booked your family portrait session yet?  There are only a few spots left for spring, so don’t wait to book your session.

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