Family of Four Portrait Session at Marcella Vivrette Park

Family photo session at Marcella Vivrette Park

I look forward to seeing these boys at their family photo session every year. They are getting so big. This year we had a good talk about superheroes. We agreed that Spiderman, Thor, and Ironman are all pretty awesome.

Looking for a photographer in Spring Hill, Franklin, and Columbia in Middle Tennessee? I photograph families at all stages, from newborns to seniors. See my website for more information or book a session from my online calendar. I would love it if you considered following me on Facebook and/or Instagram.

How to rock your family portrait session

Family of five Lifestyle portrait session in Spring Hill TN

Yesterday, I shared with you Emily’s First Communion Photos. We combined those photos with a family portrait session, just like we’ve done in previous years. That meant we had about an hour to do Emily’s pictures inside the church, change her, and do family photos outside the church.

I did not feel we needed extra time to do the session because I’ve been taking photos of these girls all their lives, and they are old enough to follow directions. But even still, after we finished the session, I felt like it was too easy. I wondered to myself, “Did I get enough photos?”

Well, it turns out that I have too many photos. So many that it’s hard to narrow them down to a reasonable level. A big part of why the session feels so effortless is that I’ve been taking photos of these kids literally since they were born, and they know what to expect.

So I thought I would list a few things that make them so easy to photograph in the hopes that it might help others better know what to expect from a family photo session.

  • Their wardrobe is perfection. The colors are gorgeous. They coordinate without being too matchy-matchy. Everyone seems comfortable in what they are wearing. I love the textures in the corduroy. The little details like Hannah’s belt and bracelet really add interest and bring it together. And Christy looks absolutely stunning in red.
  • They take direction from me but also understand that I’m not looking for super posed images. They know they are free to be silly. I love the photos below of the three girls hugging and falling to the ground. This is the kind of circumstance where parents who are less used to my style might have been fussing at the children to be serious and stand up straight. But Christy and Brian know my style, and they know that sometimes those photos where the kids are being silly are the best ones.
  • They weren’t in a hurry. Sometimes people (usually dad) have this idea that we will “get a few photos” and then be done. That mindset makes it really hard to capture candid, authentic images. Brian has been showing up for my family photo sessions for many years and absolutely does his part to be patient and fun.
  • They get that authenticity is the goal. Everyone was encouraged to be themselves, which shows through in the images.

Did I miss anything? What do you think is the key to a fantastic family portrait session?

Looking for a photographer in Spring Hill, Franklin, and Columbia in Middle Tennessee? I photograph families at all stages, from newborns to seniors. See my website for more information or book a session from my online calendar. I would love it if you considered following me on Facebook and/or Instagram.

Family Photography with a touch of Chaos

Family of Five Portraits at Yanhali Park

I have this theory that if someone uses the word “chaos” in my portrait client questionnaire, then I’m going to adore them and love photographing their family. First of all, you’d be surprised how often that happens. And secondly, I’ve been completely correct so far. (See also “wild” and “hot mess”.)

One of my survey questions asks how you want to remember your family at this stage. This mom wrote, “How precious these years are as we watch all 3 kids’ unique personalities unfold. I want to remember how we all love each other deeply, even if it’s chaos sometimes!”

Yes, please! You have no idea how much I’d prefer to read something like that, rather than a list of specific poses or Pinteresty backdrops you’d like included. My number one goal as a photographer is to capture those unique personalities, oftentimes with a little touch of chaos.

And really it’s not really chaos at all that these families bring, but a sense of fun, adventure, and embracing the moment. And for me as a family photographer, that’s everything.

Bonus points if they mention “beautiful light” as their main desire for a portrait location. Because I tend to also prefer simpler backgrounds with beautiful light that make the people in the portraits the main focus. This is the second time I’ve shot at Yanhali Park in Columbia, and I’m definitely adding it to my favorites list.

Looking for a photographer in Spring Hill, Franklin, and Columbia in Middle Tennessee? I photograph families at all stages, from newborns to seniors. See my website for more information or to book a session from my online calendar. I would love it if you would consider following me on Facebook and/or Instagram.

Large Family Photo Session at Marcella Vivrette Park

Cousins at a large family photo session at Marcella Vivrette Park

I’m going to tell y’all a little secret. I don’t usually love large family sessions. Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE that clients want to do them. I think it’s so great to capture that beautiful relationship with extended family. Getting grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles together for photos is a great idea.

It’s just that having SO many people at a session can make it hard to do what I really love, which is to capture candid moments of connection. Sometimes, just capturing the more posed large group photo along with every combination of smaller families within the larger family can be pretty stressful.

I know what you are thinking – just make the sessions longer. I could, but I find that going much more than an hour has diminishing returns. That’s about the optimal time to keep the kids (and adults) engaged and focused. But also, sometimes it takes clients a while to warm up and become relaxed. This is fine when I’m photographing a family of four, for example. I tend to like the photos at the end the most, once the kids have gotten used to me. At a large family session, there isn’t much time to waste in “warming up.”

But I’ve been photographing this family for several years now, and they are like magic. Somehow, even with so many kids, they make it easy. They are used to me and my style by now, which helps (but also were a great fit, to begin with). I’m always super impressed with their clothing and accessory collection (isn’t this pop of animal print amazing?).

But mostly, I think it’s just that they have fun and I have fun with them. They make me love large family sessions.