It’s a very special birthday and we’re coming from all over the US to celebrate.
Wonderful. How old are the kids?
Oh, early to mid-twenties.
Excellent. (quickly shuffles through all tricks for toddlers, discounting them all, apart from animals noises as we’ll be on a farm).
You need a different type of approach to photograph a family where everyone has already grown up. Tickles are a little inappropriate. Raspberry blowing may raise a laugh, but also an eyebrow from the older members of the group.
So you just need to meet them as they are, find out a little bit about them, and make sure they feel comfortable and relaxed in your company. I think we can manage that.
First question. Are you a family who like each other, or do we need to pretend for a couple of hours?
This is a family who love each other, with all the sibling teasing that goes along with that. This is also a family who ADORE their mum. Once that was obvious, the rest of our session was simple – get everyone together and let them enjoy that experience. You always want to do an excellent job for the people who book you. You don’t always expect to be laughing along as much as them though. But with this fantastic family, I couldn’t help but have a wonderful time.
Remember I kept the animal noises approach in play for this session? It came in handy with the resident pigs.
Kids are lovely. Being mum and dad is great. But we spent a little time remembering that these two were husband and wife first.
The classic scene from all family get togethers of any worth – Dad holds court and tells tales from his youth. He definitely had a fun one.
After photographing them in their finest, stomping through fields, encouraging PJ to hop up on the fence and avoiding what-looked-like-mud-but-definitely-wasn’t-mud, we had a change of outfits and a change of pace.
I couldn’t have asked for a nicer family to spend the early evening with. They were kind and fun and extremely welcoming – that legendary American charm that makes you feel right at home and happy. I was so pleased to be a part of making Nancy’s 60th birthday celebrations really special.
Vaughn wrote to me afterwards and said, “Just landed in New York. I’m sorry I haven’t sent this sooner, but just wanted to say we’re all truly astonished at how wonderfully these turned out. You do brilliant work and it was a joy. Thank you so much.”
It is incredibly heartwarming to hear that you’ve done a great job for someone – I want everyone to love their photographs and enjoy the experience too. It is extra special when someone recognises the love you have in what you do. Nancy wrote me possible one of the kindest emails I’ve ever received. She wrote: