How do you take a selfie family portrait? Well I'm so glad you asked.
It’s easy! You just set up a tri-pod, carefully place 20 of your closest in-laws in lovely lighting that beautifully features the mountainous setting, account for missed nap-times-replaced-by-wild-cousin-time and grumpy adults who are missing happy hour (an essential part of every family reunion), get everyone to smile happily at a camera with no person behind it while you dash around to your place in the arrangement and...
...really, just hope for the best.
But this blog is not about my family’s portrait.
This summer I’ve been invited to capture a handful of inter-generational portraits. Each time I’m deeply honored, and I feel the weight of these images even more profoundly than the other portraits I’ve taken. I love capturing traditional family portraits, and they are so important, as each member grows and changes so quickly. Maternity portraits capture a unique and beautiful season in a woman’s life, and the start of a family can be so magical for a couple. Newborn portraits are truly a tiny sliver of time as those babies change even more rapidly from day-to-day, but the most remarkable and perhaps the most valuable portraits are those pictures that are inter-generational. They hold a special place in my heart and here are three reasons why:
1) Photos Capture a Slice of Time
The years that overlap between four or even three generations can be so, so brief. We may, at times, forget our mortality and think this magical time will never end, that as young parents we will always be able to call “home” for advice, or to vent, or to share a laugh. The truth is, these years will not last forever, and a picture that captures many generations in one shot becomes a priceless treasure as soon as one person is gone.
2) Photos Can Also Be Timeless
Certain photographs can capture a family and hold them in a space that is without time. A silhouette can be especially effective this way, capturing the essence of a group without putting a specific age to the participants. These works of art become beautiful statement pieces in a home, declaring to all who enter, “We celebrate our family! We believe there is something unique about us as a group, and the love that binds us together will never fail!”
3) Photos Can Strengthen The Relationships Between Generations
When grandchildren have time with their grandparents, that bond seems to grow and thrive naturally (also, the steady stream of sugar seems to play an important role). When grandparents live farther away, however, and the time spent together is more limited, it can be harder to keep that connection alive and robust. Photographs can remind a grandchild of the special role they have in a grandparent’s life. Even the photo session itself can be a fun time of giggling, snuggling and bonding that might not happen on a regular basis.
Inter-generational portraits are not easy to accomplish. You must coordinate everyone’s schedule, there’s the daunting wardrobe question, and then there’s the actual event—hoping babies are in a good mood and grandpas are feeling agreeable. But all the effort is worth it because the image that is captured in the end is priceless...
just like your family.
Holly Freeman is a professional family photographer with a passion for capturing the love and raw emotion between family members and helping them treasure those memories into the future. When she's not chasing toddlers during a photo shoot, she's chasing her own kids and squeezing in a little school-time, too.
Her photo shoots are a relaxed affair using lifestyle prompts to elicit genuine interactions, and her follow-up meetings help guide families toward works of art that speak to their unique needs and aesthetic. Reach out to learn more.