A simple morning at home, marking the first year milestone in little T’s life by celebrating his favourite everyday activities.
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day in the life
Life with 4 kids under 6 ... A family photography session doesn't get more real than this. Thank you Maryanne and John for wanting to document real life in your real home - embracing rather than glossing over the inevitable chaos, letting your kids play freely (mostly!) rather than corralling them into an aspirational family advertisement. Authentic lives deserve authentic imagery. May these pictures serve as a beautiful reminder of the time and the home in which you became a family of 6.
When I say that this film speaks for itself, I mean that in an almost literal sense. Video can be so much more than just a picture with motion - it has the ability to bring back memories of all your senses, through the addition of audio and an edit geared towards storytelling.
Little Spencer's family could not be a more perfect showcase of this. Their unbridled affection for each other and the new family addition (and for their sweet dogs), expressed openly through talking about their feelings and hopes, makes this little film completely about them, and completely theirs. Watch it with the volume turned up - I think that it will surprise you, even if you are familiar with the genre of documentary-style family photography. Let me know what you think, and if you'd like a little film for your own family, please get in touch and let's brainstorm!
Sometimes I come away from a session giving myself virtual high fives and pats on the back because heck, I know I aced it. This extended family session in Katong was not an example. I remember feeling anxious as I left because I knew that it should look amazing - a rambling house awash with morning light, characterfully decorated and filled with family members of diverse ages all ready to celebrate the recent arrival of a baby girl. I worried that I had focused too much on the house or hadn't incorporated it enough; that I had taken too few images of the baby because there was so much else happening that morning; that no matter what I had done, the images wouldn't be as great as this wonderful family deserved.
I remember sitting down to edit the photos and first feeling a huge sense of relief, then a sense of wonder at the opportunities I have to truly enter clients' homes and lives for a brief window of time. I observed the McGs for only two hours, but looking back at the images, I realised how much they had trusted me with unfettered access to their home and daily routines. They played, laughed, teased, fussed, comforted, rested and enjoyed each other's company without any artifice for the camera. They spoke to me honestly and shared their stories, their family heirlooms, their private moments. I saw many types of love and affection in that one morning - both loud and quiet, vigorous and gentle, playful and nurturing. And in the centre of it all, there was mum, happy to step back but always there when needed. Thank you for having me.
I don't know if it's because it's been a while - too long a while - since I've looked at this session, but holy smokes I was blown away by this family's gorgeousness all over again. Not gorgeousness on the outside, though I wouldn't argue with that, but gorgeousness in the 'loving tumbling laughing loving again' and 'friendly to the strange lady who walked in with a big camera' way. Big bro just turned two, which means more shenanigans are on the way ... I'm sure you guys will do just fine with your big smiles and bigger hearts.
I've let a silly amount of time lapse since I last shared photos from a session. Every time I get the images prepped for blogging, I become wrapped up in my concern over whether I can adequately describe the family and how their photos make me feel. This family session is the perfect way for me to let that go and just let the images speak (mostly) for themselves. Two parents unafraid to express affection, two cheeky and thriving boys, one baby girl gone too soon but obviously held near and dear in their hearts. I don't know if happiness is something that is easily within reach, even for families who have had to endure less, but there is clearly an abundance of joy in this family of five. I hope these images remind them of that for the rest of their lives.
I'm slowing down a little for the holiday season before plunging full steam ahead in the new year ... so I figured this would be a good time to catch up on some blogging. And what a cracker I have for you folks today! Not much by way of introduction except - what would it feel like to hear and see your school-going child cooing, kicking, squirming and crying when s/he was a newborn? Or even hear and see YOUR parents talk about your first days together when you were a baby? Here's a little client film I made to help you along as you ponder (turn up the volume) ... just imagine having this for yourself and your children.
As it happens - why yes, you CAN have something similar for yourself! I am now offering family and newborn films starting in 2016, on a strictly limited basis (due to the intensity of editing needed). In addition, I am offering a special rate for the first family film booking in 2016 (at least 2 children, with at least 1 child above 2 years old). Drop me a line if you'd like to find out more!
What's that word where things work out in an unexpected but happy way? Well, that's how I feel about this family session with the Lehnerts and their gorgeous baby girl Gabriella. Esther contacted me via a recommendation from the talented Nina Tantzen Photography, needing to arrange a shoot in a hurry before they had to move homes. With a bit of compromise on both sides, we managed to squeeze in a weekday session and I'm really rather glad that we did.
Even though the Lehnerts had not started out looking specifically for a storytelling photographer, they were 100% game and committed to carrying out their cherished everyday routines in front of my lens. I think this was the perfect way to commemorate their first home in Singapore as a family of 3 - not just with beautiful smiling portraits with their house as a backdrop, but with a series of images showing how they lived in that house, how they filled its spaces everyday with love and care and lots of baby cuddles. As a rather super bonus I was able to create some of my favourite intimate images of all time - of Gabriella being bathed and nursed - so yes, serendipity, thank you.
I thought that finding sufficient superlatives was going to be the toughest thing about writing this blog post. I was wrong. 30 minutes spent trying to whittle down the highlights to a manageable yet representative number, and I am throwing in the towel and settling for manageable.
The Touchauds were an absolute dream to photograph. The only reason I am certain that they are real, is that my imagination cannot possibly be rich enough to conjure up such a dynamic, colourful, funny, personable family. From the very moment that I stepped into their home, they were nothing but warm, inviting, open and playful. Alexandra said that they had never had a family photoshoot before … I don’t know if they were this relaxed in front of my camera because or in spite of this. We chased cats, practiced yoga, ate homebaked Fathers’ Day cookies, read, landed on the moon, became superheroes, performed martial arts and gymnastics, wrestled, climbed, drew and read some more … and then left home to head for our park shoot.
Oh and did I mention that Alexandra is an incredible artist? Please, visit www.alexandratouchaud.com and fill up on some true beauty. To see how she has completed such an intensive creative project, while bringing up three confident and engaging children along with her husband Dominique, is at once humbling and inspiring. The Touchauds are a Renaissance family in spirit and practice, and I am grateful that their love and respect for artistry extended to giving me the space and trust to practice mine.
I have been going back and forth for days over the right words for this post ... Everything I write ends up sounding so sentimental because that is exactly how I feel about this family. Silke is a dear friend and her firstborn has been through, well, a fair bit with my son. The occasion of her recent pregnancy and birth of her second sweet baby has been such an inspiration, and I am so looking forward to finishing a special family film project for them. In the spirit of procrastination which I have thoroughly mastered, I will leave the sappy words for later when their film is completed, and let their maternity family pictures speak of their Saturday morning routine before baby V came along ...
I have received quite a few inquiries in the last week about shoots to commemorate the big 1 year old milestone, and thought it would be a good time to share a few highlights from this family session. The family was a joy to work with - not only were they on-board with my vision and ‘fly on the wall’ shooting style, the mother ran away with it and planned a good variety of daily activities to document in our time together.
A lifestyle / documentary session such as this would be a particularly good way to remember what your family is like at your child’s grand old age of 1 (or 2, 3, 4 etc) … Not every baby develops at the same pace, but with a relaxed environment and familiar activities, I can promise you a shoot that will embrace your child’s personality and your family’s way of life.