Telling Your Family Story: More Than Just a Pretty Picture

“Blake is completely dedicated to his family.  Even one night away is really hard for him.”  That’s what Meg, mother to Blake’s two beautiful daughters, told me during our pre-session consult at my office.  She described him as the “family lynchpin,” the steady hand that keeps the emotional balance of their foursome while quite literally, putting food on the table each night (he loves to cook).  If the name Blake sounds familiar, it’s because he’s the man who has helped turned my health around in the last 18 months.  So when he asked me to photograph their family, I couldn’t have been more excited to have a parallel impact on his life.

Two weeks before our session, I sat down with Meg and Blake separately to talk deeply about their family.  It’s commonplace to take a pretty picture these days, but to create documentation that captures the nuances of each family’s micro relationship takes genuine effort and care.  During our conversation, Blake told me how much Olivia, his youngest daughter, loves physical contact with him and Meg.  “She’s constantly nuzzling and looking for attention from us….whether she’s excited or focused, her face tells the whole story.”  Conversely, Victoria their oldest daughter, is “more reserved and less emotional in her behavior.”  She is a typical first born, happy to follow the rules and wait her turn.  She idolizes Elena of Avalor, the Disney princess who rules a kingdom as a teenager, and finds out (sometimes the hard way) in how to be a good leader. This is evident in how she takes charge of activities with her sister but still searches to find the right balance in the sibling power struggle.

Whenever I finish one of these discussions I have the same thought: when you actually sit down with parents and ask questions, there is a world of detail just below the surface, specific only to their family.  And KNOWING what these themes are, and shooting specifically to capture them, is what take images from PRETTY to POWERFUL.  This is where the real value in my services lie.

As we got deeper into the conversation, both parents told me how proud and fulfilled they are by their family.  They both make (hard) career choices that allow them to spend afternoons and evenings with the girls, cooking, playing, zip lining (dad built his own in the backyard) and reading.  Both Blake and Meg choose family over everything else, and I wanted to make sure that that was reflected in our family session at their house.

{Hang on to the end to see which images they picked for the incredible wall gallery we created for their house with these photographs}

When I arrived, their pups greeted me…

A family in Medfield with two daughters is photographed at their home.

 

The Leshnicks love the outdoors, so we headed into the backyard to enjoy all they have designed for their family. A family in Medfield with two daughters is photographed at their home.

When I saw this happening, I ran over and brought my camera as close as I could to really show the intimacy of the moment.  It only lasted a few seconds.

A family in Medfield with two daughters is photographed at their home.A family in Medfield with two daughters is photographed at their home.A family in Medfield with two daughters is photographed at their home.A family in Medfield with two daughters is photographed at their home.

This is one of my favorite moments of the day.  Blake is over 6 feet tall so there was no way I could shoot over his shoulder and keep the camera to my eye, so when the girls snuggled into him to get warm, I quickly held the camera above my head, tilted it over his shoulder, and shot down.  The result was this photograph taken from Blake’s perspective.

A family in Medfield with two daughters is photographed at their home.

How incredible is this sign?  I love that it’s the first thing you see as you enter the girl’s play area.

A family in Medfield with two daughters is photographed at their home.A family in Medfield with two daughters is photographed at their home.

There was some competition for parent attention on the couch, which resulted in a brief time out for Olivia.  She went into the corner and drew this by herself.

 

And now for their stunning wall design…

Every client receives a 90 minute design consultation after their session to experience the images for the first time, and create something heirloom for their home.  This is when we get to laugh and cry about how their dynamics manifest in the images, and discuss which images most represent their family.  Whether it’s finally getting images up on the wall, or creating an archival album, it all gets done in an hour and a half.  It’s one of my favorite services as a photographer and super satisfying for busy parents!

 

 

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Karen is an award-winning, Boston-based photographer specializing in documenting and preserving family history.  You can see more of her work online at www.kkpforlife.com, on Instagram or on Facebook.  If you’d like to contact her directly, you can find her at karen@kkpforlife.com.

 

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