A glorious rainbow at a family session? What are the chances? I can say that it was a first for me in all my years of photographing families. When this family arrived on our location, I whisked them away to start shooting as many images as I could before that rainbow disappeared. It was by every definition the most serendipitous evening - a rainbow, fluffy September cumulous clouds, flowing natural grass fields of pinks and yellows and a baby fawn meandering along with it's mom (yes, true story). I couldn't have set this scene up better myself if I tried to.
Believe it or not, as beautiful as that rainbow was and as serene as the scene was, it was not what made our session amazing. If there is one thing we know about rainbows, it's this; they disappear into thin air. They are pretty and enticing but have no staying power. So, what does last? What makes a photo session powerful with longevity and meaning? Nope, it's not a rainbow (or any beautiful physical element for that matter). It's the story. The story is what stays and what will bring you back to your photos for years to come.
Storytelling: Posed pictures have their place, we all need them and so does grandma for her refrigerator (rest assured you will find them in your gallery). However, there is nothing better than a picture that makes you stop, think and wonder but how do we get these images? My best advice? You do you and I will do me...it's a partnership. You and your family need to feel comfortable with interacting and letting your kids be kids without my constant direction. Hug, chase, love, tickle, hide, run, embrace, squeeze, kiss (pick a verb and ignore me). It's okay to let go of control...I will chase your kids and restore order when needed. Trust that I will give you direction when it's necessary but I will also need to step back and let the story unfold because trust me, it will unfold...
Sybil was very intent on creating a bouquet of Queens Anne's lace and in almost every image you can see her holding the flowers. She would stop and pick another flower as her family walked on. She spent time arranging the flowers, looking for more and decorating her family with them.
You can see a figure walking toward her in the above image - Who is this figure? Are the flowers for this person? What does the person want?
The person walking towards her is her sister and no, the flowers aren't for her (trust me, I asked). That bouquet was her art and she is three - her character in this story is very well developed. So, her sister decided to improvise and make her own bouquet, allowing me to capture some images of the sisters together without forced grins.
Another storyline from the night was seven month old Issac and his need for speed. I tried to set him up in a posed sibling picture but he didn't want to sit there (and who can blame him?). So, this is where I needed to let go of my preconceived photog poses and trust. This series just makes me smile. I think back to Issac's newborn session and I can't believe how he has changed in seven months. These pictures are definitely great milestone images for his baby book.
And then their is the story of the whole, the family. Together, relaxed and full of love and adoration for each other.
Back to that elusive rainbow for a minute. It was a such a minor detail of the evening and there certainly wasn't a mythical pot of gold at the end of it. However, as we took a step back and trusted each other, we found something better - stories, love, connection....those things are gold.