What does a real family portrait look like? Does everyone have forced smiles? In all of the different marketing type courses, they always seem to tell you to pick 3 words that describe your business. They also explain that in a personal service type business such as photography it helps if the 3 words also describe you. Whenever I have done this exercises one of the words that I always strive for is “REAL” or “GENUINE.” Those are words that I strive for in my personal life. In my photography I sometimes try and play with fun props or crazy editing but the type of photography that I am really drawn to is usually pretty simple, but provokes a lot of emotion.

With that being said… A “REAL” family portrait of my family might have us in the car, with someone upset that they didn’t get to sit in the pink booster seat, someone trying to get their hair brushed, a teenager totally engaged in their phone and me going a little crazy. Although that might be a humorous family portrait, it isn’t really how I want to remember my family.

Is it “REAL” to stand as a close group with every’s hair brushed, matching shoes and smiles on their faces when moments earlier there might have been yelling and maybe even threats of taking away screen time?
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Yes. I consider it capturing the family that we strive to be.

So after a lot of stress and craziness you get it… that image where everyone looks pleasant and everyone is looking at the camera.

Yay! Mission completed… right? Not for me. Those are the obligatory shots. The shots that every family album needs, but the don’t do very much to tell the story. As a mother, I know that as much as my child might frustrate and drive me crazy, I love them with every ounce of my being. I know that most of the time I really do enjoy being with them. …that all of the time, even though I might not show it, I treasure them. I want to capture the images that show that. Those are the images that I love. I know that even though they might fight like cats and dogs, my kids do love each other and have fun with each other. That is how I want to remember my family. Those are the images that I strive to capture for the families I photograph.


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