Not to long ago I was a avid "I don't want people in my shots" landscape photographer and enjoyed being one with nature. That was until I was asked to photograph a friends family who never had their family portrait taken before. How many time can you have the word "family" in one sentence? Apparently a lot!
So there I was one Saturday afternoon sitting on the couch in their living room while trying to make friends with their older son (he couldn't been more than 8 years) while listening to the youngest son (I would say no more than 5 years but I'm so bad with guessing children's age which is funny considering I raised 4 of my own) crying and screaming and literally hanging from mom's jeans as she was trying to get ready in the bathroom.
This will be fun I thought to myself. So here I was trying to make friends with the children and finally getting them to warm up to me; only because we went to the front yard and they had so much fun having me run behind a basketball they purposely shot in the wrong directions so I would chase after it. 30 minutes later I was already tired, sweaty and out of breath and I hadn't even started the shoot.
When I felt comfortable enough that the two boys wouldn't start running for the hills as soon as I pulled out my camera we proceeded to drive to a nearby park in the swelling afternoon sun.
This was my first "official" portrait shoot and I really had no idea where I wanted the entire thing to go. Luckily I'm such a goofball and like to play with children so it was pretty easy getting the boys to goof around while I was trying to get some nice "showing off their personality" photos. I must say this is really what resonated with me during this shoot and I always enjoy most of all. Letting the children be children and showing off their unique sides.
Of course no family session would have been complete without the traditional posed photos but even then there was much of the boy's personality in the photos. So much on some instances that it was hard to contain them in the frame... :-) That way I drove away a very tired photographer but with a new purpose and sense to where I wanted to take my photography.
Since then I still enjoy landscape and travel photography but I love being able to connect to families and helping them create lasting memories.