I’m a working photographer. That means I’m hired to make family portraits, children’s portraits, photograph weddings and other private events, and; I get paid for these jobs. Family portraits are just as relevant today as they ever have been. Honoring that relevance for the families who invest in my knowledge, craft, and experience has been one of the most important gifts of a career in photography.
It is a challenge to make the work look interesting, fresh, and timeless. My major secret is not relying on photoshop or my equipment to do my thinking for me. So, I look for the fun, the natural smile and laugher. I’m not afraid of the awkward moment either. Photography doesn’t have to be precious to be taken seriously or appreciated.
Great family portraits happen when everyone is relaxed enough to be in a moment of connection with each other. This doesn’t require humiliating poses, bad photoshop or clever packaging. It requires a certain level of comfort but also a willingness to be uncomfortable and have it show. I can’t think of any healthy family that doesn’t have both of those in various degrees. It’s okay to not be perfect.
Instead of following the current trends that suggest cutting corners and make-believe photoshop masks, I decided to look back and see what still works. Most of my inspiration can be found in museums. That means embracing the traditional and providing my own twist on it. No family pyramids, no double exposures or soft focus sparkle guns; just pleasing light and honest humanity. I don’t compromise on the quality of my materials and I make sure the image is lit properly. Also, I give myself the proper amount of time to do the job. I don’t rush. I keep things simple. All of these elements combined help create a space where something fun and lasting can happen. My job is only to see it and record it. That’s a pretty cool job.