This session is special to me because it’s of my brother and his family. I wanted to show off the love shared between him, his wife, and their two boys. I was striving to capture each person’s individual personality and how they each add something special and unique to the family dynamic. I wanted to do more than a typical hour session at a pretty park with gorgeous light and perfectly posed shots. I hoped to reach deeper than that for this photo session to genuinely document them and their true character and interaction.
To accomplish this, I spent half a day with them on a normal Saturday at their home in North Carolina. I ate dinner with them the night before and also spent the night in their home to be ready the next morning to start shooting.
I woke up and immediately started photographing their day. Everything from the boys making their beds that morning, cooking breakfast as a family, reading and playing a card game together, to their youngest son’s flag football game. We interacted throughout the day, as I was not trying to be invisible, but rather be involved in their day and document their life as it happened before me.
This was an incredibly wonderful experience and one of my most enjoyable photo sessions to date. Looking through the photographs I see the contrast in the two boys’ personalities and interests. Noah, their oldest son, is more reserved, being completely content reading a book or discovering fun facts from the Guinness Book of World Records. James is a bit more adventurous and energized, and could probably be an American Ninja Warrior. Their parents are both loving and kind to their boys and very invested in their lives; they all work well together as a team and are sure to make time for playing games together or simply taking their dog for a walk. They joke around with one another all the time, always keeping things fun! Their family is so beautiful, and I am so blessed that they are a part of my own. A photo session like this brings out real emotion and real personality for me to document, and that is what I love. Not having to try to force emotion and real smiles out of people during a stressful posed photo shoot, but just letting things unfold naturally in a person’s own home or normal environment…that’s real life and that’s where real moments happen.
One thing to remember when doing a documentary-style photo shoot is to never go anywhere without your camera. Always have it with you, even if it’s sitting next to you on the couch as you take a minute to take a breath and pet the family dog. The instant you walk off for a second to go do something and don’t take your camera with you, it never fails that an “oh my gosh is this really happening, this is the best moment ever” moment is going to occur and you won’t be ready. I learned this the hard way, but I learned it nonetheless.
Guest post writing and images are from photographer, Sarah Warden
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