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  • Tina

Family Photography: On Location

Fall in the Pacific Northwest is the perfect time for family portraits. The light is softer than it is in the summer, and the sun sets earlier, which means you don't have to wait around for that golden hour. My coworker and his family agreed to come to Vashon for the day, and it was such a beautiful afternoon! We walked along the beach, had a little picnic at the library and even got baby his first ice cream cone.

Although I've only shot a few families so far, I think the key to success is to shoot constantly and wrap it up in under an hour. Everyone gets a little cranky after an hour of posing, even the photographer! I also learned that although I make it a priority to get the shots they are looking for — everyone looking in the same direction and smiling — for my own purposes, I prefer to take photos when they're not looking right at my camera, to grab those moments in between the smiles.

I've been following a few professionals who specialize in documentary family photography and I've fallen in love with the craft and the approach. Documentary style means you don't photoshop something out, you don't manipulate the situation by asking them to "do that again" — you literally document what happens in the field. So you move your own body to a different spot to clean up the background of the scene, or you get in close to focus on a detail. It's a skill and an art form that takes patience, perseverance and stamina. I hope to convince some of my friends with kids to let me follow them around for a day and document their lives. It makes for such impactful photos! Images of the every day shenanigans of life are the stuff of memories.

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