Family Photography: The Tale of a Family Photo-Shoot

In the budding stages of a photography career, the majority of photographers begin with quiet, compliant subjects. They choose objects like interiors or food, or occasionally, a peaceful creature. Until my recent foray into the world of photography, with an engaging shoot in Weybridge, Surrey, my ventures into this realm focused primarily on capturing the candid moments of my own children. However, a captivating day spent with three remarkable teenagers, each with their unique charisma and charm, has encouraged me to stretch my boundaries, invigorating my passion for family photography.

1. A New Opportunity Emerges

I started off my day shooting a house up for sale – an easy task in familiar territory. Then came a question, “Do you also do family portraits?” Without hesitation, I found myself plunging into new territory as I nodded in agreement. The result? An appointment to return for a family portrait session, a venture into the great unknown.

“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”

Albert Einstein

Returning on a cloudy day, we initially set up the shoot outdoors. But the unpredictable weather forced us to retreat indoors. We found solace near a window, where soft light was painting a beautiful picture on an easy chair. Here, I began clicking formal portraits.

2. Navigating Teenagers: A Tightrope Walk

Capturing teenagers in photos can be a challenge. Their heightened self-consciousness can make it tough to bring out their genuine personalities, especially when asked to strike unfamiliar poses and simultaneously stay relaxed. The initial shots were satisfactory, but I wanted more authenticity, more raw emotion.

“Photography is the story I fail to put into words.” – Destin Sparks

In search of this authenticity, I moved the shoot to the family’s favourite place – the kitchen sofa, nestled beneath a collage of fond memories. As the teenagers settled in their comfort zone, I captured candid portraits that revealed more about their true selves.

3. A Day of Lessons: An Awakening

The day turned out to be a learning experience, teaching me about the importance of having a plan B, especially when dealing with older children. I also learned to pay heed to the subjects’ comfort zones for capturing the most honest portraits.

“The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.” – Dorothea Lange

4. A Look Ahead: The Journey Continues

As I reflect on this photo-shoot, I feel my confidence in family portraiture growing. I was fortunate to learn and develop my skills with such an open group. I hope that in the years to come, these young adults will look back at their photos and recognise a hint of the individuals they’ve grown into.