family portraits Harris, Lewis

family portrait photography on the Isle of Harris, Luskentyre

Family Portrait Photography on the Isle of Harris, Luskentyre

In my opinion, every photograph is the photographer’s interpretation of a certain moment. Ultimately, the photographer decides what to focus on – excuse the pun – and what to include in an image, what to remove or crop out. This is what happens while the photographer is taking the photograph. Then, in post-production, the image is undergoing more scrutiny and things might be altered and/or removed. All this happens before you, the client, sees the final image.

I have to decide what I think you might like, and how you want to see your family. Do you want to show off your family in pristine surroundings, everyone wearing their nicest clothes, looking “pretty” towards the camera? Smile even?

There are different styles in every area of photography, and you have to decide what style best reflects your family relationships.

I used to run a photography studio, and I created some stunning images. However, during that time, in the studio, mostly the photographer has to create a situation, play funny music, make the little ones dance, or jump, and then calm them all down again for the formal portrait with mum and dad. I had to create a situation with what I thought creates pleasing images for my clients.

Children usually go with the flow, and if they get on with the photographer, normally play ball. When it comes to mums and dads, especially dads! – they mostly felt a little awkward, something they felt they have to do in order to get the image. They were all pleased with the photographs, but I couldn’t shake the niggly feeling that I haven’t been able to show the “real stuff”.

Everyone has their mobile phone with them these days. Mobiles can capture great moments, but one of the family members is missing – the one holding the phone 🙂 I think my current image count on my phone (as a photographer) is around 4000, and I have to keep taking them off as they keep filling up my phone. Mobile phones are like little diaries, and you can capture a lot of things that you wouldn’t dare trying to find your camera for, let alone the battery and memory card, and then download all that and look at them on the computer.

In 20 years time, however, what format or medium of photography will stand the test of time, that can still show off your childhood memories? Phones are lost, and with them your photographs. Images on CD – it is quite hard now to buy a computer with a CD player. USB – no doubt something else will be available. Computer disks, unless backed up, can fail. The best thing really is the good “old-fashioned” print on the wall, or a photo album, or a box of prints you can treasure.

When I look back at my childhood photographs, mum bought the “compulsory” nursery photograph – thankfully only once! The photographer decided – girls look pretty with a doll in their arm, boys look nice with a truck on their lap. So 200 kids all have the same photograph. This is still done today regularly in nurseries, but I am still waiting to hear a comment from a parent who raves about these images.

The photographs I personally treasure most are the ones with my parents and my brother, doing the stuff we were doing, as a family. They bring back the real memories. My nursery photo? I never played with dolls… So that’s not a memory.

Lots of words to describe one thing here… basically, I want my clients to have photographs of their family – at a certain time in their lives – that captures the family at that time, without the setup, the posing, the hype and dancing and jumping in that big white room (photography studio). During such a family session, the “posed” photos happen naturally,  so you will get a good selection of images of the things that happen, the things you do as a family. Every family session tells a little story. It is not timed as such, it can take anything between 90 min to 3 hours – depending on how much fun we have, or if the little ones get tired and need an ice cream 🙂 It usually starts with a coffee when mum and dad decide what to do today. I then follow the family around – being mostly ignored (this is intended) – and I capture what’s going on.

The below images are from a family session I did on the Isle of Harris, at Luskentyre. The family stay at Luskentyre and the gorgeous beach is just outside their front door. The boys – 2 and 4 years young – had so much fun! First, it was bucket and spade time on the beach, finding the water’s edge without getting too wet, then back to the house for some ice cream, a little bit of family cuddling up reading a book, and after all that, when we chatted about the world and the universe, the boys decided to dress up and take daddy’s hard hat from Calmac and boots for a walk.

It was such a lovely way to spend a couple of hours and I hope the family will treasure the images as much as I know I would.