The Rule of 3rds and a Little Backlighting…

So, I did a shoot for my girlfriend’s family last week and it went really well. I don’t do a lot of family shoots because I am so busy working on weddings during the week. After hanging out with Anna’s family I was reminded just how important pictures are for a few reasons. This past week it was Oma’s birthday. The whole family came in….all 18 of them! It’s not often that the whole family gets together and so Anna’s mother felt it important to seize the moment by getting a few group photos. After we got back to the house I put some of the images on my laptop and ran a slideshow. Opa started to cry a bit and said to his granddaughter as he gave her a warm embrace, “The only thing I ever wanted was to make lots of them and I’ve done it!” It’s hard to understand Opa because he has Alzheimers disease but I think he meant that all he ever wanted was to have a large family, to leave a legacy of sorts. For Opa seeing everyone together in a photograph was like viewing an accomplishment that he spent his life achieving. It has been a life well lived.

Another reason I was reminded why photographs are so amazing was Joel & Morgan; Anna’s brother and sister-in-law. After I met them last summer I got the all too familiar comment, “We wish we knew you when we were getting married!” They never had really good pictures taken of them and unfortunately they now regret not hiring a professional to shoot their wedding. After I did the group family pictures I offered them a little after-marriage engagement session. They were blown away! Morgan couldn’t stop saying “Thanks so much, you don’t know how much this means to us!” It was such a pleasure taking a few minutes to capture their still new marriage just before they venture into making babies.

Of course my girlfriend, Anna, wanted a few shots taken of us. The problem is whenever I hand my camera to random friends or clients the shots are always out of focus or bad compositions. Since I felt like I could trust Joel to follow instruction, I gave him a brief photo lesson. I quickly explained to him the law of thirds and back lighting. I showed him the pictures I had just taken of him and Morgan, leaned him against a tree and showed him exactly where to point the big 70-200 lens. The shots came out amazing! I was proud that Joel pulled off the Cameron Ingalls look even with me in front of the lens.

People and time with people are all any of us really have. Everything else is Styrofoam . We really need to value every moment together. Taking pictures is like freezing time and the people we love. I am so honored and blessed to have such a rewarding passion and career. I can’t wait to look back on the legacy I have left one day. Not just having a van-load of kids, but the homes and hallways around America filled with images of loved ones and memories that I had the privilege of preserving.