I spend so much time studying photography, practising as I go about my day and also working for other people as a photographer that I have not made time to create any personal family photo-albums for a few years, which is something I always did in the past. I decided to rectify this and am now eagerly awaiting a book I ordered this morning with just a few pictures covering the months since last December up to this one. It’s a great way to look back and take stock of all the things we’ve done together.
One of the things I feel really strongly about is the way in which we approach photographing families. These are our memories and we have this fantastically wonderful ability to record moments, so when we make the time to print images, our children will be able to look back at objects they can hold and feel in years to come. They might look at these pictures in times of sadness or big changes in their future lives. But so often when I work with young children I spend a good deal of time trying to overcome their desire to say “cheese!” because we are all so conditioned into thinking that’s the appropriate thing to do and the conditioning starts really, really young. I know it’s great to have smiley pictures to remember the happy times, and I love capturing genuine moments of joy, but life is about so much more than “cheese!” And there are much more interesting emotions to capture rather than forced smiles. We want our children to look at these pictures and see that we loved every part of them; the quite moments, the pensive ones, the cross times too. We want them to know we accepted them for who they really were and didn’t make them feel they were only acceptable when wearing weird smiles on their faces. I am also quite careful about what I Photoshop out of photographs. Cleaning up a dirty face might be the thing to do, but equally it may be that keeping in all the grubbiness makes the picture.
The other big problem we have nowadays is choosing which images to include. I take so many pictures it’s impossible to get right but one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned since studying is ‘less is more’. While editing my photo-album I was pretty ruthless, and not only because I’d have ended up spending a fortune if not, but also because we stop looking when there are too many images together, or too many of the same thing. It’s hard to edit when the pictures are of your children but try to avoid printing everything you’ve captured!
Here is a very small handful of the sort of images I would include in my own album. If any potential clients think this is something I could help you and your family with, do get in touch.
Images (c)SJField 2016