For quite some time now I've loved the idea of a cozy, at-home family photoshoot. I've seen so many photographers have this opportunity to capture families in their most comfortable environment and always think, "Man, I'd love the opportunity to do that!". And I have! I've actually done a couple of photoshoots in peoples homes or on their property, but never quite nailed it the way I waned. That is, until now! A couple weeks ago I met up with Christy, Noah and their family at their Flagstaff home and we were able to capture some of my favorite family photos in this at-home family photoshoot.
My favorite thing about this shoot was how much natural light their home got in the morning. It was so dreamy! Mark my words, when I'm in a position to buy my own home one day natural light is going to be a major selling point. Christy had scheduled this session with the intention of getting some airy maternity photos with her baby bump as well as some sweet photos with her family and with her mother. She didn't get a chance to capture any maternity photos she particularly liked with her firstborn so this was something she really looked forward to getting from our session.
When we were scheduling she disclaimed that they struggled to get a nice photo with their firstborn. "He's always just such a ham with photographers!" It was a funny description on paper but when I experienced it firsthand it was even funnier. This kid mad dogged like no other! But you expect kids to be kids. You really can't force them to smile or pose at that age so you have to get creative, show patience and shoot like crazy. Eventually you'll get a few where they break and fall into a natural giggle or interaction with their environment. And if not? Then the photos still ring true to their personality, which will bring laughter years later as they look back and think, "Gosh remember when he would just refuse to smile and give people the mad dog face?". My brother was that way once he was 8 or 9 - he never gave real smiles to cameras, just cheesy smiles that screamed "I'd really rather not!!!". Looking back we just have to laugh and remember exactly who he was at that point in life.
I think with some of the latest shoots I've done I lost some of my directive power. This was one of them. Although I'm thrilled with how the shoot turned out, I'm bummed I didn't utilize their backyard for some of their outdoor photos. We used their front yard, which still worked, but I caught myself countless times during this session looking out the window to the backyard and thinking, "Wow, the light ROCKS out there right now!". I never suggested we went back there and I definitely should have. While I was editing it was a good reminder to speak up and step into my power as the photographer. I tend to forget I'm the expert and that nothing is off limits until someone explicitly says so! I know if I had asked, Christy and Noah would've been totally fine with taking some shots in their backyard.
I also learned that a good idea going into these more lifestyle-themed photoshoots is to let the family know to plan on just going about their regular morning without worrying as much with all the posed shots. Some of my favorites from this session were when we took a small break and Rowan, their son, climbed into his kitchen chair to pretend cook. Everyone was relaxed and just being themselves and you could feel that in the pictures. They were unplanned and awesome- some of Rowan's less mad dog faces for sure!
I'd say this session went exactly as I had hoped! I was happy to deliver over fifty photos back to Christy and Noah and they quickly replied sharing their pregnancy announcement card put together with some of the images. I absolutely love getting to see how my clients use their photos so it was a sweet gift that they shared the announcement card with me. Hopefully this isn't the last we'll see of this growing family as Christy had mentioned getting together once their baby girl arrives this summer. Stay tuned!