This pack's Mom contacted me for their in home session as one of her pack was facing some health issues. Three dogs, two humans and a finicky feline make for a fun session.
When I look at what drove me to learn photography, I need only to look at my children. I want to leave something for my kids to own of our lives. I want my children to have a photographic story of our lives that I don’t have.
My children love nothing more than sitting down and looking at their lives in pictures in an album or at a photo collage hanging on the wall.
My children’s reality is much different from my own. My parents, they owned a camera, but it wasn’t used very often. It always seemed like a hassle, you had to get the film developed and no one knew how to use it.
There are very few images of my immediate family and my childhood. This reality became sadly obvious after we lost my brother in 2010. We had two family portraits. One from 1988 and one from my wedding in 2003.
This is where we have the advantage today. We can easily take selfies and snapshots with our smart phones and post them to Facebook for all our families to see and enjoy.
The instant gratification these images offer is great but they really tell the story of our lives? Are they something you want to pass down to your kids? Will they even get printed off your phone?
In this, I understood why I photograph.
I photograph to tell the story of a family, of siblings, of grandparents and of pets. I photograph so that the love and relationships you share are preserved so that you have those memories for tomorrow. Sometimes it’s a candid laugh or a silly pose. Maybe it’s a quiet moment with your children.
Your family, both human and animal, deserves to exist in photographs.
Me and my kids (circa 2013)
When I logged in to my social media this morning, the first two posts were the stories of two families. For one family, today is a day of celebrating a wedding anniversary with mentions of grown children and growing grandchildren. For the other family, today is also a day of commemorating a loss of a parent who played such a tremendous role in her family's life, she is missed daily since her passing.
Both of these stories remind me of how important it is to remember grandparents when we are planning our family photography sessions. Having lost a parent and my children's grandfather, I know how precious those images of the older generations are when they are no longer with us.
My dad grumbled as only he could when I asked him to pose with my children. Now that he's gone, those photographs are the most precious things I own to pass down to my children. He is and was an important part of their story and they were such an important part of his story as a grandparent.
Grandparents must exist in photographs for you as their child and for their grandchildren.
It's a simple question to ask grandparents, would you like to be in a couple of photographs with us at our next family photo session? We are having a session this Saturday, are you free? If you don't ask, they can't say yes.
A grandmother commissioned me for a session last year as she wanted professional photographs of her young grandchildren were all together in town. The grandparents hadn't planned on being in the photographs, just the grandkids. That was until I asked if we could get a group shot of the grandparents with the grandchildren. The main concern was that the grandfather had come straight from his job in construction and his clothes were dirty.
To that concern, I simply said this
'It doesn't matter. All your grandchildren care about is that you are in the photograph with them. This photograph will mean more to your children and your grandchildren in 20 years than whether you have on a better shirt and clean jeans.'
With this idea in mind, when a recent session was scheduled during a family trip to visit family, I asked the Mom would her Dad be interested in joining us for the session.
We had him stay for a few photos before he headed off to watch a Royals game on TV. Those 20 minutes he spent at the session is an invaluable gift to his family.
I have photographed this family for many years but I think I can say this session was probably one of the most special sessions. These boys love their grandfather so much and he loves them!