details vs. moments?

There's something that's been on my mind for quite some time now and I need to give it a voice. It's the direction I see family (and wedding) photography going.

Recently I came across a photo session of a little girls second birthday.  Out of 30+ photos, only three had people in them.  The rest of the photos were banners, flowers, invitations, balloons, signs, donkeys, etc.   Where were the proud parents, the melting down two year olds, the messy cake eating?  Where was life?  In this new world of consumerism have we traded capturing moments for capturing details or life perfected.

 

I got into photography because I wanted to capture my son authentically.  I wanted to remember the good, bad and everything in between.  The reason I started photographing other families was the same.  I want to capture how your child eats strawberries, how they light up when they're proud, how they run wildly.  I want to capture your weekly trips to the coffee shop, snuggle sessions or pizza parties.  I want to photograph what makes families unique, because at the end of the day, or my life, I want to look at a photograph of Lucca, and know why I took that photo.  I'm trying to preserve moments, because they are fleeting and one day Lucca won't need me to push him on that swing.

 

So, why am I writing this?  Because I'm a struggling photographer who is frustrated with consumerism.  Don't get me wrong, I definitely try to get my clients to look their best when we have a session, have outfits that coordinate with one another.  But once those outfits are on, I try to photograph them being a family.  And for me, being a family doesn't always mean saying "cheese" into a camera.  Being a family in our house is messy, chaotic, fun, loving and quirky.  Why I'm writing this is because I know I can't be alone, yet when I look online, I see so many overly posed, propped and perfect photos. I know my clients are out there. They want their Saturday morning documented, not because it's prefect but because it's special to their family.

 

Lastly I'll share this.  For Lucca's first birthday I went to the nines.  I made the banners, the cupcake toppers, pinwheels, masks, the whole shebang.  When I look back now, 4 years later, I don't care one bit about those photos.  I look at the ones of him with cake smothered all over his face, the small moments with his grandparents, the excitement of getting a tricycle.  All this to say, that I too got caught up in the Pinterest frenzy.  But for what?  The photos I treasure are all fragments in time and each one brings back a specific memory.

 

I'm passionate about what I do, which is why I'm saying this out loud.  This is what I want to be doing, this is what I think I was meant to do, hopefully I have many more moments to capture!

 

H.

 

Joshua Tree part one // Fine Art Photographer

I had this idea to plan a retreat with some photographers I admire in hopes to soak up some of their knowledge and talent.  That was the plan, and that definitely happened.  What I hadn't planned on was meeting lifelong friends who's instant bond didn't need explaining, a group of people who understood and accepted me.  They are insanely talented, perfectly crazy, hilarious, supportive, inspiring and honest.  It was an incredible experience, one that left me with loads of memories, inside jokes, photos, friends and a new annual tradition.  They are my elephants, the video at the end will explain why.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=1G4isv_Fylg

 

Letter to Lucca // Fine Art Photographer

 

My dearest Lucca,

You are growing up so quickly, and I haven't written you in a while.  You are such a loving, affectionate, vibrant little boy.  You have a zeal for life, a curious mind and a strong soul.  You are stubborn and emotional, both of which will serve you well in life.  You are our herder dog, always wanting everyone to be together and happy.  You love superheroes, bugs, soccer, reading and snuggling with a movie.  You are learning how to spell and can do double digit addition.  I love watching you grow, each day brings new conversations and milestones.

Thank you for always helping me cook, letting me take copious amounts of photos of you, dancing with me in the kitchen, picking me flowers and being my partner in any adventure.  Thank you for trusting me to hold your vulnerable, tender side.

I am so blessed to be your mother.  You are perfect, just as you are my crazy one.

Love you to the moon and back.

Mom.

Sam, Grace and Rex on film // Utah Family Photographer

While in Salt Lake I got to take portraits of Sam, Grace and Rex.  It's such a privilege to witness children's guards come down, that's when I get to authentically capture their personalities and connection.  At the end of this session, Grace gave me a huge hug and I overhead Sam tell his mom, "she's cool".  Success!

Luccas' Rituals on film // Seattle Family Photographer

 

I started shooting when Lucca was born in order to capture his childhood.  I had no vision and mostly copied photos of other people.  As my voice grew stronger, I realized I wanted to capture his rituals and our traditions more than anything else.  One of his morning rituals was to eat his vitamins (called ga-ga's)  while watching a morning show.  He ate them methodically, biting off the top half first, and then placing the bottoms for later.  Much like some eat an oreo.  He's now outgrown this ritual and can say "vitamin", but I'll have this image forever.  It's small and subtle, but I treasure it for how it makes him unique.  To me, this simple image is precious.

 

If you have a ritual or family tradition you want captured, please contact me.  This project has led me to shooting a family trip to Vashon, pumpkin patches, Sat. morning pancakes and game night.  I'm passionate about giving familes images that are a window into what makes a family, their family.

The Conkers tradition on film // Seattle Family Photographer

Conkers, the English term for chestnuts.  Makes me giggle every time I say it, or type it.  This special family means so much to me.  They've been such champions of my work, always trust my vision and give me full creative license.  They were the first family to do a Ritual Session, and they're my first family doing the "Year in the life of..." series.  This is a fall tradition for them that's very dear to Dominics heart, it reminds him of home.  It's a simple game, but one filled with meaning, roots and heart for their family.  This is the definition of why I love to shoot.  Love you guys, thank you!

'tis the season

 

For giving!  Book any session before New Years and get 20% off!  This time of year is full of family rituals, which I'm a sucker for!  If there's a ritual that's dear to your heart you want captured, or you just want to jump the gun on a session for less rainy weather, now's the time!  Also, I've started offering a new package called "A year in the life of..." it's 12 mini sessions spread out throughout the year.  For one year, I'll be there to capture the most meaningful moments each month.  At the end of the year, I'll make your very own "A year in the life of..." fine art book.  I just ordered my first book and I can't wait to share it with you!