I saw that quote on the internet the other day and I'm not sure who it's attributed to, but it spoke to me. I don't really know how to put into words what it means to shoot what it FEELS like, but I guess that's why I a photographer and not a writer. I make it a point at my family portrait sessions to not just capture portraits of people, but to capture feelings.
Part of what helps me to do that is the brief survey I send to clients before a session. There are not many questions on the survey but there are two questions that help me get to know a family. Not everyone answers them, and that's OK. I understand that many of my clients are super busy, and I want to make the process as easy as possible for them. So as much or as little information as they want to include in the survey is acceptable. But I do love it when a client really takes the time to try to tell me who her family is in the survey, because I do study her words before our session and it helps me to really get a FEEL for a family before I meet them, so that I can capture that feeling in photographs.
Kelley did a fantastic job of helping me to get to know her family before our session. And I really fell in love with her boys right away. Lincoln was such a little gentleman, happily doing anything I asked of him and sweetly leading his baby brother. And little Maks was so sweet and adorable. He definitely did love doing everything his brother did, just as his mom had told me. He loved seeing pictures of himself and his family on the back of my camera screen, and at one point, he climbed into my lap. <3
Here are Kelley's answers to my survey questions. I hope you can see the family she described in my images.
Tell me a little bit about each of you (likes, dislikes, hobbies, personality, passions, etc):
"Alex- He is playful. Loves to hug, kiss, and wrestle with his boys. He personally loves to read, travel, try out new restaurants and spend time with his family.
Kelley - Loves her men dearly. Loves to run/workout, read, travel, try out new restaurants, and spend time with her family - loves SEC Football :)
Lincoln - into dinosaurs, ninja turtles, loves to play basketball, likes to read ad loves anything sweet to eat!
Maks - he is a toddler so he pretty much likes whatever his brother likes. Maks is adopted and spent most of his 2 years of life in an orphanage. He loves to be kissed, hugged, tickled, etc. "
What do you want to remember about your family right now?
The innocence of our kids. They love to play - have lots of energy. They are still wide-eyed and have lots of wonder. At the time of these photos, Maks will have been part of our family for four months. I want to capture the beginning of our journey as a family of four.
Her last words about wanting to capture the beginning of their journey really touched me. What an awesome responsibility I have been entrusted with. I've not experienced the adoption process myself, but I have close friends who have been through it and I understand that photos become a lifeline to your child during an international adoption. My friend Michelle says "We fall in love with pictures long before we meet our children." What a blessing to be able to capture photos of this family together.
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