I had a really moving experience with a client this fall. They are a family with three sons, one of whom is 17 and was headed to college out of state, and two much younger boys. It was important to the parents to get senior family photos before their oldest flew the coop. I think we all understand that once a kid leaves for college, family photos will be few and far between.
I have a personal understanding of where this family was coming from – my own oldest son flew the coop over a year ago. While you feel somewhat liberated by having one less person to feed or clean up after, the reality is that there is a hole in your home and it feels very strange when your child is absent. With this personal knowledge and comprehension of what this family was going through, I felt like I knew the type of story I wanted to tell with their photos. Of course we got the typical, and ordinary pretty Christmas card shot, but we also worked on showing their uniqueness as a family, and their beautiful relationships.
After starting our session with some traditional (by my standards) beautiful group photos, I then concentrated on trying to show the connections in the family. I asked mom and dad to talk to their oldest son and tell him how much they love him, tell him how wonderful he is and what he means to their family. I couldn’t hear what was being said, but I could see the emotions on their faces. And then it happened. Mom cried. Oopsies. It was happy crying, sad looking-to-the-future-with-your-son-in-another-state crying, beautiful I love you so much crying. But crying nonetheless. Fortunately, the crying then led to everyone laughing and relaxing and remembering that this story is about so much more than what outfit someone was wearing or whether or not one of the boys felt like smiling for the camera.
Each person had their own story and their own journey that day. I think we made some remarkable photos together.
Follow my example and schedule a family portrait session during your child’s senior year.