Let me tell you a story, kay?
I stopped offering family sessions because I was, ironically enough, totally turned off by the pressure. For some reason, families made me boil over with stress, while at weddings I can calmly create amidst the biggest day of two people’s lives.
In hindsight I know why I felt that crazy intense pressure: the vision I had for families didn’t match what clients were envisioning. I wanted to shoot families a certain way, but I wasn’t sure how to articulate that vision–I’d suggest we do it in their home, they’d protest they lived in a dingy apartment with no windows. I’d shoot them at a park they’d never been to and probably would never go back to again. I loved when clients brought toys for their babes, and let them play as they pleased. But I wasn’t in the zone, and I couldn’t figure out what was missing: who can say no to the classic family-in-the-park?
I’ve had some time to let all of this simmer.
I knew I needed time away from photographing families to refine what I wanted to do.
All this “I-I-me-me-my-vision” stuff sounds kind of selfish and maybe a little arrogant and uppity.
But this is something else I’ve discovered:
when a photographer is in her happy place, photographing concepts that light her up, she produces the most wonderful photographs.
Insert photographers-are-artists spiel here.
This is the glory of there being so many photographers in the world. You get to find one whose vision resonates with you one million percent. You get to be picky. So if you’re not feelin it, no big deal.
So here’s how family sessions will be done, for the best possible results from yours truly:
1. Sessions will be done in your home. There’s just no other way to get your kids feeling as comfortable as they are on their turf, and I’ve really come to believe that photos done in your home make amazing heirlooms over time–something the family-in-the-autumn-leaves shots can’t touch. And it really doesn’t matter one bit what your home actually looks like. If you’ve got a door that leads to outside, we’re good. (Windows help too.) But really. Wouldn’t you just die to see professional photographs of your parents in their starter home, when you were teeny tiny and they were scraping by? It’s all important.
Your life is big and it matters, no matter where you are in it–sitting on the secondhand couch, washing chipped dishes, or making a too-small bed. Do it with love and the photographs will be wonderful.
I believe at-home sessions tell the story of your family best and allow me to document the beautiful reality of your relationships. I want to photograph your kids in their rooms, showing me their favorite toys. I want to photograph your family eating dinner, reading books, playing. Can you imagine looking back on those photos in 10 years, compared to looking at the traditional, posed, everyone-say-cheese photos? Or even the we’re-at-the-beach-fake-playing photos? We’re really going out there with this, peeps. While we’ll start in your home, there’s no rule that says your backyard or your porch or the trampoline are off limits. It’s all about documenting your family doing the things you do.
2. No cheese-saying. If we happen to get a shot or two of everyone looking at the camera and smiling beautifully, great. But it’s no longer going to be the first priority for our session. This means parents are going to have to be willing to take a more hands-off approach and let kids BE. Aren’t you tired of worrying about what your little ones are doing all the time? Wouldn’t it be amazing and miraculous if you could actually relax during your family photos, because you could love on your people without agonizing over what face Jimmy is pulling?
I realize this is for the brave souls who ache for reality, for their family and their love to be documented–documented, not coiffed and primped to some ridiculous view of perfection.
I’m kinda crazy: I think love is perfection.
Of course this doesn’t mean you can’t decide what outfits you’ll all wear, or that you are forbidden to clean up your house. Consider this a step in the direction of acceptance. Acceptance of what is, open-hearted love for the incredible beauty you’ve created and equal love for the unexpected beauty you can’t control.
Now: I’m in need of a few adventurous families to help me realize this vision. We’ll do mini sessions (20-30 minutes) to give us all a taste of what this cotton-candy whimsical vision looks like, for realzz. (You know I’m serious when I pull out the double z’s!) These mini sessions will yield photos on the blog and facebook yours for the using however you please. (These photos won’t be big enough to print, though, so all prints your heart desires will need to be purchased through me. Wanna see print prices? Your wish is my command.)
Families are going to be accepted to kick start this magic on a limited basis, so here’s what I need from you if you’re interested in being part:
1. A little description of you and your family. Because these sessions are mini, I’m looking for small families. Please include a photo or two.
2. Why you want in on this ludicrous wild vision of documenting families as they are.
3. Where you live! (As in the city, not your actual address, mmk?) I’m still in Provo, so the closer you are the better.
4. Your family’s general availability. These mini sessions will likely take place on one day only, so availability might just be the most important factor in your family gettin’ picked.
Email the above goodness to me at brookebee @ gmail.com and you’re on your way! I can’t wait to be part of telling the story of your family.
A mini session with web-only usage doesn’t sound like it will cut it for you and you’re thinking of getting on the authentic photos train? You can see general pricing for lifestyle sessions here.