I've been battling with myself about family portraits and how they should be done for awhile now. I've tried time and time again to get that image that the parents want, you know the one - where the kids are all sitting nicely with grins from ear to ear. If you are a parent, or spend time with children, you know how impossible this task can be and how unnatural it ends up looking. Why do we try to stage the impossible? When the natural always looks better- this how I feel about photographs of myself as well, if I can forget the camera is even there, I will become comfortable and myself - therefor the images will look natural, because it is! So shouldn't that be how we take all photographs? I have had families cancel because their children decided to take scissors to their own hair, or a child fell off their bike and they have a big red mark on their cheek. I tell them we can reschedule - but I really want to say 'Awesome, more character in the photographs!' Kids are Kids, sometimes hair is in the way, logical thing to do is to cut it off - what a beautiful thing! Lets capture the real, the life of a child and how we all wish we could be so secure and carefree. Lets not set them in a studio with lights and then later use photoshop tricks to get them to looks a certain way- we say that too much in magazines - instead lets go where they want to go, and capture a story, document an activity.
So this is my summer goal - to capture kids and families in reality and just life. I shouldn't be putting a time limit, but instead set up an afternoon or an activity (let us go to the zoo, or a park, or later in the season - go apple picking!) and just be in the moment with the family and with the kids.
The following images were taken last summer when i went to this festival with my friends and their kids - we spent an afternoon with fur hats, fake swards and snakes - one of my favorite days of last year and some of my best work:
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