Getting up early on a Sunday is no fun. Getting up early enough to have a whole family dressed and ready for a photoshoot at 8:30am on a Sunday is even less fun - but it was worth it for Chris and Nicole. Celebrating their wedding anniversary on February 2nd, Nicole only wanted one gift, something they'd never had before - a professional family photoshoot. We decided to shoot earlier in the morning because the light was so beautiful, and the morning worked better than later in the evening (the other time in the day with great lighting) with their schedule. With four kids ranging from 3 years old to 19 years old, it was the perfect moment in their lives for a professional family shoot.
Not only were Chris, Nicole and their four kids somehow cheerful during the early morning photoshoot but they were all in the perfect outfits for a family photoshoot! This might not seem like a big deal to a non-photographer, but it's huge. As a photographer there is a lot I can control when it comes to what I end up capturing. I can control the different lenses I use, the way I use the lighting, the background and location, and to some degree - the way my clients are posed and the expressions on their faces. I can't control the outfits, and clothing is a huge visual part of a portrait. With family portraits it's extra tricky because you don't want any outfits to clash, but you also don't want everyone to be overly matching. The Cruz family knocked it out of the park - sticking with blues and navy, each outfit was different but looked great together.
I haven't done very many family sessions, most of my professional photography work is with wedding photography, but I'm seriously now scratching my head after this session as to why on Earth I'm not advertising family sessions. I had so much fun shooting this session that I didn't want the shoot to end. One of the biggest things I loved about this shoot was how supportive Nicole was of my wanting to capture everyone's genuine personality and expressions. We've all see the formal photos of our friends where they don't even look like themselves. It's not easy letting down your guard to show your personality around a stranger you've just met, but knowing how to overcome that is the most important skill in a portrait photographer's skill set. Seeing the silliness in the siblings interacting and being able to capture it was exactly what I was hoping to get out of this photoshoot. The way they all play around together and interact shows exactly who this family is - and that is what I want to capture in a portrait.