Updated: Apr 12, 2019
"These are the moments I forget to capture but are closest to my heart! It was a great experience all around and one I both recommend and plan to repeat!"
Before starting a documentary family session, I ask the parents to fill out a questionnaire about their daily life so I can best be true to that vibe and possibly have a plan for what activities the family might do for our session.
Emily was straight up about the kind of fun chaos that embodies her weekday mornings. The night before our session she sent me a cell phone image of her living room, covered in toys, with a naked baby running in the background. I love her transparency, because going into the shoot I understood the true nature of her and her kids life and it helped me to capture it authentically.
When I showed up the kiddos were outside doing a hot tub. Emily gave me some coffee and we chatted in the cool morning sunshine before I got out my camera.
"Cassy was somehow everywhere without being at all intrusive, and then produced wedding-quality photos of everyday life with my two toddlers."
After the hot tub, it was time for everyone to get ready for the day (even Nina's little leopard). This is when the pace really picked up. The kiddos were done with the hot tub and ready to have fun! I focused on anticipating the next moment so I could get into position and get my camera settings ready. Each room had lovely lighting, so the challenge was adjusting quickly for the varying lighting conditions that came with the fast-paced afternoon.
The kiddos played together in their room, and then I got to meet their robot vacuum that is one of Sascha's favorite toys.
One of the games they play every day is called "Bear Hunt". It's an imaginary game to the tune of "We're going on a bear hunt" where Emily is the bear who chases the bear hunters after a long, exhausting, and successful bear hunt. :-) This part of the session was fun and challenging! There was a lot of different lighting in the room we were in, so I was changing my camera settings depending on everyone's location amidst a very energetic bear chase.
Another daily tradition is Nutella crepes, one of Nina's favorite treats. After a fun play session, Emily had the kids sit down for a little brunch. I got to shoot from several different perspectives to get the little details of this daily tradition. And I enjoyed the waiting time - part of being a kid is sitting around waiting, day dreaming. And watching Nina and Sascha patiently wait for their Nutella crepes seemed iconic of childhood to me.
The kiddos were interested in what I was doing under the table, so I took a few seconds to play peek-a-boo with Sascha.
Post lunch was followed by more rambunctious fun. Bear hunts! Dumping out toys! Dancing! Nina changed into her party dress and Emily helped her put multiple hair clips in for a glamorous look. This was so much fun! I was bouncing around the room with them, in the middle of the fun. The bear hunt song was stuck in my head for days after!
My biggest goal for this session was to let the family forget that I was even there. I think there were moments we definitely achieved this and there were many true and intimate moments that I was able to preserve for them.
One thing I wanted to do, on top of documenting their home life for them, was capture some intimate, authentic portraits with mom in the frame. I love the following shots because they feature mom, and they also speak to the true nature of life with kiddos. I enjoyed that we let the kiddos do their thing instead of asking them to pose, and the pictures are a true reflection of motherhood and childhood.