Have you ever thought how great it would be to have your family's pictures taken, but talked yourself into putting it off?
Maybe you're like the mom you see here, and had similar misgivings before deciding on a session: "I just don't know if we'd be able to get a shot where there isn't at least one kid crying. I also put it off because I hate having my picture taken."
Have you ever wondered what a family photography session with me would be like?
All family photographers have different styles and ways of conducting their shoots. You could call my style family storytelling photography, also known as lifestyle documentary or family photojournalism. (And for the record, I'm talking about a full photo session here and not a mini session - the time limit placed on a mini really makes it a completely different animal).
Allow me to explain exactly what I do as a family storytelling photographer serving the towns of Rock Hall, Chestertown, Ellicott City, Columbia, and more in the Maryland counties of Kent and Howard. What I do beforehand to plan your shoot, during it while I photograph, and afterwards as I edit and put the images together, creates a final set of images that tell a story.
Family storytelling photographers create a set of images that tells the story of your family in this moment in time. Your individual personalities, your love, your joy. What your family is like in this stage of your life.
Prior to our session, you and I plan your shoot together so that by the end of our planning, I know exactly what you have in mind for your family's pictures. Our planning helps me know what I need to do to make your greatest wishes for your session come true.
I have you fill out an easy questionnaire about your family, I share my wardrobe tips with you, we talk on the phone, and we send emails back and forth. During this planning phase, you introduce me to your family and bring me up to speed before our shoot. I arrive at our session feeling like an old friend. I know about each family member's likes/dislikes, your personalities, and what you like to do together.
Another big step in the planning process is coming up with a shoot location (in this case, Eastern Neck Island Wildlife Refuge). This will most likely be a place that has special meaning to your family - your home, a favorite park, your boat - where you spend your summer, fall, winter, or spring days during this stage in your family's life. If you don't have a particular place in mind, I always have a lot of ideas.
We'll also decide on something for you all to do together while I'm photographing you. This is where the storytelling/photojournalism/documentary part of my photography comes in. By having an activity to do, we're killing two birds with one stone. One, your family becomes less camera-aware (because who really enjoys having their pictures taken or knows what do when a camera is pointed at them). Mom, this means you won't stress about your kids behaving for the camera. You get to do something fun, and that allows me to photograph your family's genuine interactions and true personalities.
Two, we record the big and little details of an often-times meaningful activity to your family - like picking out your tree at the Christmas tree farm, going out on your family's boat, spending time together at home on a cozy winter morning, or hiking your favorite trail at Eastern Neck Island, as in this case. These are the details your future self will want to see.
A lot of people don't know that they have family storytelling photography as an option for family pictures. These real photographs are the ones your children and grandchildren will want to see when they grow up, much more so than a posed photo that looks just like the one on everyone else's wall. For this reason, photography that tells a story, your story, is growing in popularity.
Next time you think about having your family's pictures taken, remember you have family storytelling photography as an option. If you decide to go that route, maybe you'll also feel this way after your shoot (as this mom did): "Thanks again for spending so much time with us on Sunday. Getting pictures taken usually stresses me out so much, but it was really nice! When we got in the car, the girls said "that was fun!" Having positive memories associated with the pictures makes such a difference. Thank you for that!"
And then, after she saw the images for the first time: "OMG! They're AMAZING!!!"
Here are 3 more examples of my storytelling photography sessions to check out: