I have to say in the beginning, families made me nervous. So many personalities to capture and bodies to pose. My fear made me a little rigid at times. But, then I thought about how I photograph my own family…or other families when they are not expecting me to. I realized I looked for authenticity…the real moments…the raw connection. I don’t mind a pose. But, I love moments…moments that happen unplanned. This freed me.
I approach each family session as an adventure. I truly never know what I’m going to get. They may have had a bad day or a good one. Or maybe there is one family member that just does not want to be there. Sometimes, there are small children who cannot sit still and just want to run wild and free. So, I connect, assess and then go with the flow of that family. I run wild and free with the toddler and am always ready for that split second they are ready to sit still or flash me an unguarded laugh or grin. I try to put the uncomfortable at ease. I will act like the fool if I have to in order to elicit laughter. I facilitate connection. That is my goal.
I want families to look back on their photos and see their love, not a beautiful pose. I want them to be able to pinpoint individual personalities and feel the bonds that hold them together. No family is perfect so I don’t try to capture perfect. I capture real.
This is one reason I love the Peaden family. They are into real. I photographed them three years ago for the first time. We both have children that are hearing impaired and often run into one another at special functions. Every time I’m with them, I feel at ease and great conversations are born. I was so honored they asked me to document their family again!
She wanted a photo to remember how tall he was at this time in his life. Love that!