Drake got out of the car wearing an outfit he put together himself – including a vintage-feel hat and bow tie! His immediate excitement to take pictures set the tone for the Griffith family pics at Ogden Botanical Gardens – a Mother’s Day gift from John to his wife, Rachel. Rachel has seen (and loved) photos taken by me that my daughter Gentri posts on social media, so she knew when she was ready, she wanted me to take them.
When I put together a family session there is usually an overall theme of some kind, especially since the photos are meant to be displayed together and look cohesive. Sometimes the theme evolves as we set up, because I don’t exactly how the clothes they choose or the props they bring will all fit together with the lighting and location! We dig right in – my mind starts whirling a hundred miles an hour, we start moving people here and there, the families contribute suggestions, we all get kinda creative, and it just sort of wildly comes together. Afterwards, in the quiet of editing, I am always so amazed how things turn out. For this session, Rachel said she loved that it was “romantic.” I love that it turned out that way, too!
We picked a spot near the orchard because we needed an open space to take a group photo of 17 people, and we moved into the trees primarily for shade from the blazing sun at 1:00 in the afternoon. It was also the only place in the Gardens that felt like the last of spring, which is something Rachel wanted. It’s so amazing and fun how that orchard feel really brought to life the props we had! In some photos it felt like we might be in the middle of a reunion on the family farm, which is also what Rachel wanted because, due to the effects of the coronavirus, they haven’t been together as a family for quite awhile. I have started sending out a survey beforehand with a question of why they chose the time, or location, etc. and what it meant to their family so I can consider that before the shoot, and for the Griffiths, Rachel said that quarantine motivated them to have an updated family portrait done. “We’ve missed seeing each other directly and realized that a current photo was needed. Looking at photographs can be the next best thing during isolation. Glad we’re able to be together again!”
My favorite aspect of family sessions, especially extended family sessions, is seeing the interactions among people. Family sessions are filled with noise, movement, laughter, breakdowns – in the end, I absolutely love the showing of LOVE that comes from what seems like chaos at the time. The Griffiths are so awesome. While I moved them in and out of different group shots, they were playing together: adults and kids alike were blowing bubbles, playing with puppets, and reading together. The little girls twirled and the boys enjoyed good ole pile-up wrestling. (It’s always fun to see the candid shots that Mattie – my daughter and associate photographer – captures in the background.) From the oldest to the youngest, they never complained about anything, even though it really was bright and getting hot and we were “go, go, go” using every minute of the 90-min session. I loved to see how they interacted with each other and I am over the moon about how these photos turned out!