family portraits | sara, ronan & charlotte

Just before the holidays, I visited and photographed 3/4 of this sweet little family, Sara, Ronan and baby Charlotte, while husband/dad Francisco was at work. Sara arranged this shoot with the intention of keeping it a surprise and giving the portraits as Christmas gifts to Francisco and their families. After realizing that keeping the shoot a secret would be impossible, particularly given Ronan's excitement, she let it slip that portraits had been taken, but kept them hidden until the images were unwrapped over the holidays. I love the idea of giving portraits as gifts, especially when the subjects are this cute.

Photographing families is still new to me, as I've never wanted to force babies or kids into baskets, costumes or stiff poses and at times it seemed like that was the only option — ha! However, as I've slowly started photographing a few families in their homes, with their real personalities allowed to shine through, I'm steadily developing a love of doing family portraits. For me, the key to lovely family shots is just hanging out with parents and kids, having fun, moving around a lot, and not asking them to pose at all.  It works best when parents are as chilled out as Sara and don't put pressure on themselves or their kids to do anything out of the ordinary. Authenticity is far more photogenic than anything staged when it comes to families, I believe.

This shoot was a particularly wonderful experience, as Sara gave me her complete trust and together, the four of us had a great time.