I'm going to come right out and say it: I am really proud of this shoot. When the mother of this family contacted me to book the shoot and said it was a family of six my heart sunk to my stomach. Since the day I booked it I was so nervous about how I was going to connect with this family, how would I remember all their names - three teenagers and a ten year old. This is going to sound so lame, but I wanted them to think I was cool and I had no idea how I'd do that.
I remember when I was a teenager I absolutely hated cheesy family photos and being posed for anything. Senior photos and family photos never came back looking like me. I never want to be a photographer that makes someone feel that way. I think that's why this one got to my nerves so badly! Not to mention this family drove all the way from Lake Powell to Flagstaff for the session (almost two hours away). In my head the stakes were high.
Of course the day of the shoot came and the weather wasn't what we'd hoped with snow and rain projected for the time slot we booked. Typical Flagstaff moody weather! But there was no turning back. No cancelling. It took a lot of energy to put nerves aside but I took a big breath and got in the car to head to the location.
It did literally take me the entire shoot to match the right name to the right people, but the mom said it was commendable that I was even trying in the first place. It turns out they actually have five kids! The eldest was out of state at the time. Their whole family was very patient, kind and readily took direction from me even though sometimes I moved them around just to put them right back where I moved them from.
In truth, I do think I let my nerves get to me a little bit. When I got to editing I struggled quite a bit getting my style to work with the tricky lighting we had to work with. Eventually, even though I didn't love the edit style, I got it to work. And at the end of the day I feel like I overcame the obstacles of the environment and my mind pretty well! Some of the shots we got are my favorite family photos I've taken in Flagstaff thus far. I played around with posing, prompts and even technique (applying some HDR from time to time, which I never did in my portraiture before).
After how hard I was on myself about this shoot, I got a text from the mom sharing that the photos I took were the first ones her daughter actually liked the way she looked in and that their family loved the photos. I think this session was proof that I am capable of much more than I give myself credit for and that maybe (juuuust maybe) I am kind of cool to work with.
Oh, also, I wanted to put it to a vote. When I asked them to look at the sibling that gets into the most trouble, which one do you think it was? (See picture below for a hint).