I'm pretty sure I won't be winning any awards for these pictures from my last family session. And yet, I LOVE them. They make me ridiculously happy. The reason? Let me explain.
A few years ago when I enrolled in school to study photography, I had no idea the journey that it would take me on. I wanted to learn more about my camera and the art of photography for selfish purposes. I just wanted to take better pictures of my kids.
The further I got into my program, the more I realized how much I ADORE this art. I am passionate about it.
And I am also often frustrated. Now that I have completed my program, I have trained my eye to recognize "good" photography. I can confidently use my camera to consistently create properly exposed and framed photographs. I know many of the rules and techniques that lead to great photographs.
I have figured out much of the technical aspects of photography (Although, of course, there is ALWAYS more to learn...I will never stop learning.) What I have not yet figured out is ME as a PHOTOGRAPHER. The best photographers have an identity...a style. They are confident enough with themselves as photographers that they do not let the rules of photography cramp their vision or purpose.
I have been searching for that missing link that will allow me to express myself through photography rather than just taking good photographs. I have been struggling with how to give my clients what they are looking for--a family portrait, shots to remember their child at a certain age--while still being true to ME. I have been searching for MY style and identity as a photographer.
I realize that this takes years to sort through for many people. I know I have a long way to go. I am trying to be patient and realize that my journey may take longer than many others because photography is a few steps down on the totem pole of my priorities.
But this darling family helped me to take a baby step toward my goal. They allowed me to be ME during our time together.
When I talked with Natalie before our shoot, she expressed confidence in me. She told me how she wanted to get some family portraits, but, more importantly, she wanted some "un-posed," natural shots.
My goal during the shoot was to capture the emotion of this family. I wanted to document their love and connection with one another. I wanted to capture them AS THEY WERE, not as they could be if I posed them perfectly and positioned them so that the light fell beautifully across the frame. I worried less about perfection in the technical aspects of photography and more about the emotion that could be felt.
I was thrilled with the results! Were they perfect? Absolutely not. But I was able to capture Ella's connection with her favorite little lamb, her adoration for her mom, and her playfulness with her dad. I was able to document the love between husband and wife, and the protectiveness of a loving father. I was able to show shyness and laughter and love and REAL-ness.
I hope this little family will be as happy with their pictures as I am.