Why I Photograph Families...

10th January 2017
In: Blog
Why Do I Photograph Families (and children)?

There has to be a reason why photographers specialise in certain genres. For me it's the love of the chosen subject. Each of my photographic favourites has a different reason why I love them. This is the first post outlining my preferred genres and, why I do what I do....

Photographing families and children is a popular choice for many photographers, and, if you've seen my portraits gallery you'll know, that includes me. And why would this be??

Let's be honest. Families rock. I should know, I have my own little family (as well as a wider one of course!) and it's just the best.

Of course, the reason I photograph families and children is much more than that. Being a parent of younger children, I know how quickly they grow up. At the time of writing this, my eldest son is twelve, but it doesn’t seem that long ago since he was born, and even less for his first day at school. It is genuinely frightening how quickly time with your children disappears. Time which we can’t get back, BUT we can remember in many ways, one in particular; photography.

When I started taking photos of my boys I didn’t realise the profound impact they would have on me when I looked back at them.
Take this simple baby image of my youngest for example. I loved it so much, I got it printed and framed. It adorns our bedroom wall. I look at it everyday, and never get bored of doing so.
I can easily put a material value on that framed photo, but it goes way beyond the combined price of the frame and print. To me it's priceless. Quite literally. It's a snap shot of a moment that will never come back again.

It’s this feeling that I know is shared by parents everywhere. Now, I know some people will look at this and say “ahhh!” and coo a bit, but see it as just a photo of a baby and move on. The emotional draw for me (and my wife), however, is huge. Why? Because it’s MY child, one that I love more than anything else on this earth. THAT why Family photography is so important to me.

(There are two more images here that have adorned our walls...can you see the changes?)

As a Dad, I understand that emotional attachment we have to our family snaps, and portraits. As a Portrait Photographer, I never forget how important that attachment is. When I am photographing families or children, the focus (excuse the pun) is on getting the shots that Mum, Dad and the rest of the family will love and cherish in the way that I love my own photos.

Our current wall art featuring my three boys.

Why Photograph Families Outdoors?
I had an experience that is still scarred on my memory. One I'd never want to repeat.
It goes back to a photo shoot I was a part of many years back. It was a sitting involving my parents, my two sisters, my brother in-law, my then two boys, and my baby neice....all cooped up in a small studio with continuous lighting running. It felt like a hundred degrees, the windows were running with condensation, and there was no room to breathe let alone move. We were all hot, and the children began to moan. It was a mini-hell. To top it all the resulting photos, in my eyes, were just ok.
Nothing special. Just ok. Was it worth all the grief?

So where was I going to photograph families and children? Outdoors, of course, where children can be children, and families can enjoy the experience of being together. Simple and relaxed. An experience that everyone (including me) wants to not only enjoy, but repeat another time. The feedback I receive often tells me just that; how the photo session not only resulted in images that the family loves and cherishes, but the shoot itself was one that everyone enjoyed.
THAT is why I photograph families outdoors.

A Final Word...
Contrary to what you might think. I am no different to many of you, in that I take a vast majority of my family snaps on my smart phone, although I do edit them as best as I can!. I don't follow my boys around with my camera strapped to my face. I do, however, make an effort to take some more 'professional' shots at least once or twice a year, with a view to print and display. After all, that is the point of photographs....isn't it?

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