Documentary family photography is one of my very favorite things in the whole wide world to photograph. I often get asked which I prefer - family photography, or weddings - and the answer is that I love both so much, I couldn't possibly pick. Even though wedding photography and family photography seem like wildly different genres, the reality is that there are magical moments to be documented in everyday life every day, regardless of what events are happening around the subjects. Family sessions are special to me because I adore photographing funny moments and connections - and families are filled with those, just as weddings are.
Kids are never exactly the same people from one day to the next, so I think it's SO important to document their lives as they grow - as parents, we so quickly forget so many of the quirks, and funny looks, and crazy hilarious things that our children do. Their childhoods rush past us like a river, and images documenting our memories of them as tiny, developing little humans are the most precious keepsakes we can have to hold onto. So, I was honored when the West family invited me into their daily life to document them and their family connection. We spent the day just hanging out and having a relaxed day together (or as relaxed as a day with two small children ever gets, anyway). They're SUCH a wonderful family - fun, and loving, and quirky in all of the very best ways. I loved that when Elizabeth had a complete meltdown (as children inevitably will do, at least once during a family session), mom Kortney just laughed and went with it, while dad Michael just rolled his eyes in true dad-fashion at the girl drama. The whole day was relaxed, and honest, and made for some truly memorable images.
Here are a few of my very favorites. <3
The grandparents doing some bonding time with the littles, before heading home after a late night babysitting.
Elizabeth breakfasts in all her early morning, messy little girl glory
Playing a quick game of "Got your nose!" with Mom
Multiple children morning-feeding chaos
No, I do not have to potty. Why do you ask?
I love witnessing how early sibling bonds develop
"Here, watch the baby," Mom said. "Sure," Dad said.
Getting dressed for formal pictures = very often a wonderful chaos
Shoelaces taste great, apparently
What mom hasn't pulled the "I don't have a Kleenex, we'll make do" nose wipe?
Discussing upcoming birthdays while getting hair done
"Don't touch that" is inevitably followed by immediate touching. Every time. For every kid, everywhere.
"I don't want to put on shoes" drama
"Don't touch that" is closely akin to "Don't put that in your mouth" - and they produce exactly the same reaction.
Labradors = dogs in saint form
Elizabeth was less than happy about a newly-formed blister on her heel.
Mom offers Band-Aid. Elizabeth is less than enthused about the prospect of a Band-Aid.
Josh has to double-check with Dad in the midst of Blistergate to make sure we can just go back to watching Sports Center, thank-you-very-much
This right here is motherhood - a best effort made to make hair and clothing perfect, then just rolling with the punches when it all goes south.
Cheering up Elizabeth, who quickly forgets all about blisters.
Mom taking care of details - Elizabeth taking advantage of Mom's distraction to pilfer candy
Some family portraits on a beautiful sunny morning
I was warned that Bruiser would take a plunge into the lake at the earliest opportunity. Bruiser did not disappoint. He did give us a few great family photos first, though!
No one's looking - Quick, lick all of the things.
Multi-tasking motherhood at its best.
It's pretty impressive, how dirty children can get in the shortest amount of time possible
Nope, didn't like that as much as anticipated
Bruiser is not at all excited about being left outside to dry while his humans get to be inside and on couches
Quiet, sleepy moments to end the day