By Maddy Stockford
If you’ve ever thought about getting some family photos taken but haven’t, could it be because when you think of family photography you instantly think of that huge framed photograph on your parents’ wall that makes you cringe to look at? It’s been there forever and the colours have gone a bit weird. It’s probably of a teenage you with your siblings or Mum and Dad, carefully arranged and staring straight at the camera with your legs uncomfortably angled to the side. Your hair is terrible and your clothes even worse. You were told what to wear and you might even be wearing matching white shirts and pale blue jeans but it definitely had to co-ordinate with everybody else. The photo was always uncomfortable to look at and Nana was possibly the only one who really loved it.
Lets be honest, that was a long time ago and family photos have been better than that for a while, so perhaps that isn’t actually the excuse any more. Possibly you haven’t done it because the thought of staring bold and brave down a camera lens is terrifying and something you think only people who think they are gorgeous would want to do, and you can’t think of anything worse. Or perhaps you really want to do it but you are worried the kids won’t behave, let alone smile beatifically, or that your partner really doesn’t want to be there.
Whatever your reason, I want you to stop and take second look. Family photography has come a long way. Rich images of cuddles and laughter, children running wild or quiet contemplation, hands held and heads kissed have been quietly replacing the characterless family portrait full of forced smiles.
Words like “connected” and “emotive” inspire the new family photography and allow families to be much more authentically themselves. Whether it is happy, sad, chaotic or peaceful, they are often of people who have become so lost in the moment that they no longer seem to worry a photographer is there at all and are laughing, watching or simply being.
What I personally love about this style of portrait photography is that it encourages you to not worry so much about wishing and wanting to be more than you are, because what matters is the emotion and connection between the family members. It is beautiful to see someone who knows they have love and are loveable.