Some weeks ago, I photographed a session of a mom with her two adult daughters, who are now living away from home and are in cities miles away. This was a new kind of family session for me including ‘children’; many families want professional photos taken when their children are in infancy through preschool, and then at a multitude times for milestones like birthdays, graduations and so forth. They are all life passages we expect to capture on camera, memories we won’t likely forget, but ones we want to memorialize with photos and artwork in our homes. But then once the ‘kids’ are grown up and move away, we have less and less chances to have family photos done, especially professionally. There may be the wedding or a baby christening, but there are fewer opportunities for photos, for example, portraits of a mom and adult daughter(s).
With this particular session, I had the mom fill out my super fun and informative questionnaire (as I do before all sessions) that lets me know more about who I’m photographing, and to understand the value of my doing the portraits. In this case, the last time this mama had had formal photos of her daughters was at their high school graduations, and not even at their college graduations. She also described her favorite photos of her children as being ones of them together as kids, their closeness and bond, and wanted to have that reflected in photos of them today.
Another important thing that was mentioned was how important a particular photo of her mother is to her; her mother had passed away last year and so having her photo to ‘say hi’ to when the mood strikes, is invaluable: “For me pictures are a wonderful way to stay connected.” That’s it, precisely there in that statement. Photographs represent connections: connections to the people and things in them, and to the precise moments that they happened. This also resonates with me, since I am a continent and an ocean away from my family in England, and I can’t help but think of all the occasions I have missed by being over here all these years. I want to encapsulate the times that I do get to go back home to the UK, and as I get older, to have photos of myself with my parents. The photos that I send them of their grandchild/my son are a way for them to stay connected to us too.
I would now love to do more family photography sessions of families with adult children; they are no less important to have done than photos taken at a child’s birthday or at the start of kindergarten. What I found refreshing by photographing adults, was that the now ‘older children’ have a more defined sense of self and know how they want to be seen and portrayed. I didn’t even need to bribe them with candy! We shot at Gasworks Park here in Seattle, with the backdrop of Lake Union, with the Space Needle in the distance, and it was a glorious evening. So now that I’ve shared this, would you consider having professional portraits done as an adult with your parents/family? Is this something we overlook in photography, in this baby and toddler-focused view of parenthood?
Here are some photos from that session: lots of color, beautiful smiles, and sun! ‘Til next time…
xo ~ K
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