Social media has trained many of us to yearn for the perfect shot, one that will show our friends, family, and followers how picture perfect our family is. Let's fight that urge and instead take the kinds of holiday photographs our families will be thankful for, for many years to come.
During this past holiday season, I had the pleasure of photographing this family and a few of their beloved Christmas traditions. This was a multi-generational Holiday Storytelling Photography session, purchased at the 2016 Radcliffe Creek School Dance and Auction in Chestertown Maryland. Our photo shoot took place at the grandparents' home while their grandchildren were visiting.
While I call my photo sessions and my type of photography 'Storytelling,' that doesn't necessarily mean that we tell stories during the photo shoots. It just means that the resulting pictures will tell your family's story during this time in your lives. Your set of images will capture your personalities, your love, and how you have fun together during this moment in time. My style of family photography could also be called "family documentary" or "family photojournalism" or "lifestyle photography."
But if one of your family's favorite holiday traditions is reading The Night Before Christmas together, then your Holiday Storytelling Photography session will literally began with a little storytelling! With the original book in hand and fondly remembering the days when her grandparents read it to her, the oldest cousin read The Night Before Christmas to her tiny cousin. This busy two year old was entranced while her older cousin lovingly read to her and introduced her to this beloved family tradition.
"Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house,
not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse."
Just in the small amount of time I was with them, I could tell that they are a tight knit family and they mean the world to each other. It was a joy meeting them and getting a glimpse into what they enjoy doing together at the holidays.
Telling a family's story and recording their traditions is near and dear to my heart. If you would like to follow along in the new year as I continue to tell my own family's story as well as the stories of other families I'm privileged to photograph, sign up here to have these stories sent directly to your inbox.
Christmas and the holiday season is a time to slow down and spend quality time with loved ones. It's a time to make memories, enjoy old traditions and make news ones. Christmas is an especially magical time for children. Many of our most prized childhood memories take place around the holidays.
Every Christmas (and everyday for that matter), my goal is to move past taking the standard everyone-look-at-the-camera-and-smile pictures. I am a family and child storytelling photographer, after all. If you know me and my work, you know as a family photojournalist and documentary photographer I always strive to take real photographs that tell the story in front of me and document the genuine emotion and interactions taking place.
This is especially true at Christmas. I take many pictures on Christmas morning as we open our presents as well as during dinner and at all of our get-togethers. Over the years, I have found there's a delicate balance though involved in taking photos during these activities. These moments are so important to our family and I want to tell their story in my photographs, but I don't want to experience these moments just as a photographer. I also want to really be there.
Those moments are too special to be experienced entirely with my camera pressed up to my face. I get plenty of photos to tell the story and then I put my camera down, making a point to not obsess over documenting every little detail. That allows me to really be a apart of unwrapping gifts on Christmas morning, dinner that night, and I really spend time with loved ones during all of our get-togethers.
With that said, there is a Christmas tradition that I have found to be the perfect activity to be present for and to have fun thoroughly photographing. This activity is decorating gingerbread houses. It's calm, quiet, and without chaos. There's plenty of time to photograph creatively and thoroughly while also participating and being a part of the fun.
Each year, my parents bake the houses, make the icing, and shop for fun candies. They've been doing this with their grandchildren for the past 15+ years. It's a beloved family tradition, one I just know my kids will always treasure doing with their grandparents.
It's my very favorite Christmas tradition to photograph. So much so I've started photographing other sentimental families and their very own gingerbread house decorating tradition. This particular shoot is one of my most favorite extended family photo sessions to date.
I very rarely (I think maybe once?) offer Fall mini sessions.
But, over the years I've been asked a number of times to have them. The timing usually doesn't work out, but I think we can get it done in 2016! But, for that to happen, we need to plan it now! With my kids going back to school and the start of September this week, I turned the calendar and realized Autumn will be here before we know it. Over the next couple of days, I will be coming up with a location and a date in October for me to come back to the Western Shore. So far, I've had interest in Howard County and Havre de Grace, and I'm trying to narrow it down to just one gorgeous Fall location.
This is where you come in - are you interested in updating your family portrait this Fall?
These mini sessions are a quick and easy way to sample what it's like to work with me at a fraction of the time and cost.
They will be lifestyle in nature, rather than my usual documentary storytelling sessions, so we will meet in a pretty park and I will loosely pose you. Your mini session will be like what you see here in these photos from previous Fall family sessions of mine. This is the perfect opportunity to update your family portrait for your wall, holiday card, and gift giving in just 15-20 minutes.
Want to conquer the holiday overwhelm this year by knocking out that holiday card picture quickly and painlessly?
Have you been thinking about booking a family session for some time, but haven't been sure it's the right fit? Now's the time.
Contact me here and I'll schedule a mini session day near you.