Maybe today, with the rain lashing down outside, grey skies on the horizon and the wardrobe in constant knitwear mode, we should chat about why I love to photograph families outside.
It means fresh air and freedom for the kids. They get to run about, explore, engage with each other, connect with you without the confines of a studio space hemming them in. You can relax, which means they can relax, which means you get the very best out of your session with me.
The session becomes an adventure for kids. I get to engage them with stories and tales, opening up their imagination, encouraging them to play. Because I know that’s the portrait you want – the one of them living, breathing and experiencing life as they do right now, with a full range of expression and emotion.
You can sit them down with a “say cheese” smile yourself. I want to give you more than that.
When I work outside, even if I’m using a location I’ve loved before, it is always changing. The seasons shift, the leaves grow a rich red then fall, the city street is a theatre of characters. It inspires creativity in me, and achieves a uniqueness for your images. I’m going to use everything at my disposal to give you an experience to remember and a gallery you’ll love.
And it brings challenges because the weather doesn’t want to play nice. It won’t give us endless summer days of soft light and warm sunshine. But that is absolutely ok. Because we live in the UK and I don’t expect it.
We can create beautiful portraits in almost any type of weather. Overcast skies are great and grey days can make the colours of your clothes pop. The only thing that will stop me working is hard, heavy rain. If that comes along, we reschedule. Otherwise we use what we have on the day to our advantage. That’s why I’m there – to find the best light and photograph your family in it. I don’t want generic lighting, with a standard backdrop. I want to create a gallery of images that are as individual as you are.
So on one foggy day, with a little drizzle in the air and a damp mist hanging about our feet, I photographed a session with 12 year old Lucas and LOVED it.
Lucas is a talented gymnast. As am I. (In my dreams of Olympic glory.) I’d already seen him climb up trees without pausing for breath. Ah, youth. So with a bit of space to move, I told him to show me what he could do. So he did.
He would have continued with leaps and flips if I’d let him. But I don’t like to end a session with broken bones, so we stopped at the jumping 360 degree twist in the air.
So don’t look out of the window and sigh. We live in a country of changing seasons and unpredictability. Good. Every challenge is an opportunity to create something brilliant and beautiful and you.