April 10, 2013

Jenny and her family were lucky enough to receive the gift of family portraiture from a friend. After a conversation on the phone, we agreed that it would be a great idea to photograph Jenny and her family at their beautiful terrace home, where they’d lived for around 20 years.

In this portrait, I was especially excited about the light – gentle, soft side-lighting from the window just off the left side of the shot. It created the most beautiful three-dimensionality to the portrait, giving shape to each of the subjects. I also loved that the colour of window light is typically quite blue or cool. This contrasted nicely with the warmth of the electric lights on the background, and the warm colours in the room.

One of my favourite things about photographing families in their own home is the sense of depth the portraits carry. Each image is automatically imbued with memories simply because of the setting. The backgrounds are filled with elements that describe the family, each with their own story and each adding a new insight into the subjects of the portraits.

This shot tells so many stories about this family even without focussing on the people themselves. There’s a stunning art print from France at the back on the wall, hinting at an art passion, or a passion for France, or both; the polished cabinet to the right of shot contains many souvenirs and mementos from various travels; the music stand at back-left of shot sits just above the electronic keyboard that the kids play; and the amazing collection of art books neatly stacked on every flat surface shows a deep appreciation for books and art, and gives a sense of many lazy Sundays spent flicking through a new book.

I just love it.

Jenny and her husband opted for an album to tell most of their family’s portrait story – as their walls are already quite full, and they love art books! I’ve included the album in its entirety below, and there are several things I’d suggest you look for in its pages:

  • the beautiful moments between each child and each parent
  • the comfortable-but-loving portraits of Mum & Dad together
  • the painted mural on the back wall which was completed by Jenny’s daughter several years ago

Interestingly, the portraits also show a strong sense of where each of the children are at in their lives. Jenny’s son is almost a teenager, and while full of laughs, he is a more introspective boy and is at the start of his journey into adolescence – full of uncertainty and questions. Jenny’s daughter, on the other hand, is on the cusp of womanhood, and starting to know herself more keenly. Some of her portraits show a giggly, innocent girl, yet others show a deeply mature woman starting her journey into adulthood.

It is the moments like this that make me proud to do what I do – capturing family portraits and documenting stages in the family life cycle – because I feel this album delivers on everything I set out to achieve in every portrait shoot.

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I loved making it, and as much as Jenny and her family enjoy owning it!

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If you’ve got older children, and would be interested in a lifestyle portrait session in the comfort of your own home, or even if you simply want to document where your kids are at right now before they change and mature too much more – call me. I’d love to help you preserve what you love about your family RIGHT NOW.

I’m on (02) 9665 0800 or you can email us at info@israelsmith.com.

With love,
Israel. xo

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