Sometimes you have to work with what you've got. I'm realizing this more and more as I delve deeper into my journey as a documentary family photographer. I've always had a way things "should" look in my mind. I'm not sure if it's because growing up I was always artistic and needed to see the beauty in things or it's just the way my brain works but I definitely feel "off" if things aren't perfectly in place. So it's definitely been a challenge for me to just let beauty unfold in photo sessions.
When I first started photographing my family I tried to plan things so that the "perfect" photo would be achieved. The location, the clothes my kids wore, how they stood...I wanted to control it all. But I soon realized that these photos (while beautiful) didn't give me that feeling of connection to a moment. Why? Because that moment was fabricated I later realized. How can you have a connection to a moment when it wasn't real?
Real moments can be captured in any photo session, even those with limitations. Take a recent session I did for example. Sarah wanted to get some family photos as a gift for Grandma before her son went off to University. Due to scheduling and timing conflicts we were only able to shoot for a short amount of time and the only place that worked was their back deck. Oh did I mention that it was during our recent heat wave? Yup. So imagine a deck that is partially in the hot hot sun and nowhere else to go. Plus add in working with one family member who didn't exactly want to have a bunch of photos taken. How could we possibly create any real moments in this scenario. Well...
"Megan made our photoshoot so easy and seamless. I was worried it was going to feel contrived to get the kids gathered for good shots but it all felt so natural.
Believe me, I know as a Mom that you desperately want nice photos of you and your kids and there's often a lot of pressure when planning a photo shoot. Getting everyone together and willing to participate when they may not want to (whether this is a partner or older kids it happens A LOT). This is the main reason a lot of people don't book professional photo sessions. There's the idea that it's going to be "forced" which doesn't need to be the case at all. Photo sessions should reflect who you are as a family, simply spending time together.
The candid shots are my favourites. I was SO happy with how they all turned out and am very glad I did this.
The magic happens when you are able to just relax and be yourself. When you realize that my job is just to observe, not to pose you and make you feel awkward. So even if you're going for those "Grandma pleasing" photos, there will always been the moments when you're just there, being yourselves, and those are the moments I'll be waiting for.
Interested in telling your own family's story? Feel free to reach out and we can begin planning a relaxed, fun family session for you!