“There are two things we should give our children; one is roots, and the other is wings.” – Hodding Carter
When clients consider scheduling an Unscripted Life Session with me one of the concerns I hear is how nerve-wracking it will be to have a photographer capture their everyday lives. The daily moments of unpreparedness combined with uncontrolled chaos in the attempts find balance in life, career, and family. I fully appreciate how documentary family photography may be approached with trepidation. Will the little ones behave? Cooperate? Which one will have the dreaded 6 PM meltdown? How will I photograph while managing all this? Will having a photographer present interrupted the family “flow?” As a parent, I know the value of having a routine with children, and yet disorder is forever present. As parents, we have to master the art of finding a balance between letting go and maintaining order. I developed The Unscripted Life Sessions because those moments are your life currently. It is honest, genuine, and in my opinion, the only way to authentically capture your family. This juggling act needs to be embraced, appreciated, and adored.
Naturally, the beginning of a session can feel a bit odd. It is strange to invite a photographer you may not know into your home without the formal barrier that traditional family portraiture provides. It is my job to make you as comfortable as quickly as possible so you can get on with your day. It is my job to capture your family through beautiful imagery. Following a Code of Ethics, photojournalists adhere to; I rely on my skillset and creative vision – not Photoshop – to provide my clients with honest photography.
Now I just have to brag a bit about one of my recent sessions. My time spent with the McRuiz family was exceptional from the moment I walked through the door. The home this beautiful family of five built is full of love, confidence, and laughter. Simply put, the vibe kept a smile on my face throughout the shoot. Having this family welcome me with such affection and excitement made my work easy! As with all young children, there was a bit of apprehension to start with, although friendships were quickly formed, as I got down on their level and asked them about themselves while we played a bit with their toys. An essential element in my process when working with young children is to get them involved right away. I show them my equipment and encourage them to interact with it. That sparks curiosity and conversation – especially when they get to view some of the images right after I shot them!
The children forgot about me as soon as it was time to bake cookies. Oh, the euphoric effect of sugar – it works every time! As the cookies were placed in the oven, the youngsters concluded it was time for a tour of their home. They showed me their bedrooms, playthings, and favorite activities. With each moment their individual and unique personalities showed through brighter and brighter! This comfort is my ultimate aim for any Unscripted Life Session. I gradually blend into the background and the families guide the shoot forward. This is when the imagery begins to takes on a life of its own. There is no greater feeling of reward as a photographer when this flow is established.
The McRuiz family are the subjects of some of my personal favorite Unscripted Life Session photographs to date! I cannot express my gratitude adequately enough that I was allowed the chance to spend the day with them. I look forward to the documenting the growth and love of this family in future Unscripted Life Sessions.