I understand the desire for a holiday greeting card-worthy family portrait - but I will never not try to talk my clients into documentary sessions. They do so much more than preserve your perfect faces - they capture the essence of your family. This family session was the perfect example.
For the non-believers, we started out with a few portraits, then let things just kind of unfold naturally. I try to pick up on the dynamics in the group and capture moments that show off each person's personality a bit.
Papa is hilarious - and also very busy doing Papa things - it was hard to get him in some of the candid images because he was always serving his family. He also loves everyone of these people so very much. At one moment, I stopped to adjust Holly's hair (you'll know her because of that gorgeous mane) and he said, "She has beautiful hair, doesn't she?" That comment really struck me - in the middle of all the chaos going on - not only did he notice this little moment between me and his daughter - but he took an opportunity to say something to build her up - hair talk is one of the love languages for a teenage girl and Papa knows it.
Moms are in general amazing people - moms of 5 are legit superstars. This Mama has raised a group of 5 individuals who love each other and their family as a whole. She is as much of a force as Papa - with an added touch of grace. She has a sense of adventure and fun that makes me want to follow her around on vacation. When she arrived, I told her that we were going to have everyone lay on the grass and I would fly a drone directly above them and take a picture. I waited for the, "No, thanks." She thought for .25 seconds, and said, "I love it - let's do it!" Yes, Mama, Yes!
Jordan was the mastermind behind her family's session. She and I brainstormed (and she fretted) as we planned what we hoped would be a fun way to capture both some portraits for her parents, as well as authentic interaction between everyone. I knew she was nervous - but it was a joy to watch things unfold smoothly for her. Her expressions are one of my new favorite things.
Brett is Jordan's husband. He is the newest member of the family, but fits right in. I love witnessing a man love his wife the way he does. I saw it when he balanced all things to assist in a marshmallow emergency for her - and in the way he kept his hand on her waist to bend down and tend to the fire. Also - cheers to him on those fire starting skills. "What, you brought lint?!" :)
Ashley just returned from serving her mission - and I get the feeling that she's happy to be surrounded by all of her people again. She just had the most beautiful smile all night. Except for brief moment when Mama was giving too much love to someone else?! hahaha!!
Adam is the next one to head off - he is a teenage guy - so in his mind, photo sessions are not amazing - but fire is always a hit - so I think we won him over! He's outnumbered with all the girls, so for the most part, he goes with the flow - but seems to draw the line at kisses from sisters! I'm sure his Mama is going to treasure all of these images when he's out and about in the wide open world.
Holly (with the hair) had the best seat all night - right in the middle of the action. When she smiles you feel like you did something right. I think this would be a fun place to be in the birth order - you've seen your siblings reach milestones before you - but you're not the youngest. I'm guessing this makes one thoughtful and wise.
Lucy is in that mind-bending place where one second you look at her and she's a girl, and the next she's a young woman - and I mean within the same minute. She'll laugh and be silly - and there's the girl - then she'll hold her face just so and you see the woman.
I had so much fun with you all - and my hope is that you each hold on to these images - show them to your future spouses - show them to your children. I hope they make you happy now - but I can't wait for you to feel how you're going to feel when you look at them in 20 years.
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