The Mabees were a lovely family to photograph even though the enthusiasm for having pictures taken wasn't exactly evenly distributed. :) There were 3 generations present and as with all families - their histories with each other showed up in various ways. My favorite way it showed up was when I asked them to talk about their day so I could take some candids. After one person shared about a routine dental visit from that day, a plethora of memories showed up in the conversation. The three sisters reminisced about having to be all dressed up in their mother's best homemade clothes for a trip to see the dentist. The 2 grandkids listened intently and with amusement. There was laughter and warmth shared and it made for some interesting captures. To level the playing field of enthusiasm, I also asked them to play a game so I could try for a few more candids. They got quite into the game and seeing them enjoy themselves made not only the shooting part fun for me but made for some great images as well. By the time we were to take posed portraits, I think everyone was on board with the plan for the day! What worked for this group - 6 people - 3 generations - their home turf - was the following:
1. Having a plan. I cant say enough about having a plan for a shoot. Of course, there's always improvisation that goes into photo sessions but having an outline of what to do sets a tone and pace that I think makes or breaks a great session. I started out with the kids outdoors then moved to their parents and then got the matriarch involved. I knew various generational configurations were anticipated so we knocked out many of these in the lovely late afternoon light.
2. Giving them a topic for conversation (share what you did today) and letting the energy flow from there for about 15 minutes allowed them to loosen up for each other and for me
3. Requesting that they play a game (they chose cards) and capitalizing on the momentum generated from a little competitive fun gave me access to who they really are for each other.
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