I had the pleasure of shooting a Tybee Island family photo session for Gwen and Brent with their children, Sophia, Haley and Tristan (T-rex to his peeps) last year along with their extended family. They were amazing with the amount of energy and connection they had for each other right away. It’s apparent this sort of play is a part of their normal lives and not just something for the camera.
This year I feel the images were even stronger because not only did these guys repeat the long road trip all the way from Indiana and ask me to chase them all over again, but they arrived as old friends. I was greeted with hugs in the parking lot at 6:45 in the morning of there session which just happened to be the 4th of July. There was never a moment where we weren’t all joking and laughing as dear friends do.
It’s easy and comfortable for most families to stay in that playful emotional zone where every action is light hearted and full of laughter, but to move to the level where you’re comfortable going deeper and expressing a wider range of emotion and your individual personalities with each other is as much a gift for me as it is for them.
Before this endearing family left the island they invited me out to coffee. I mean inviting your photographer to meet up for coffee during you vacation?! My work specializes in visually capturing the relationships within families and so much of that is based on the relationships I build with clients when the camera is not in front of my face.
Gwen wanted to make a photo of me with her children. I mean come on, are you trying to make a guy get choked up?! So we made plans for me to stop by their rental right before they left the island. I was sad to see these guys go, but before they did I made a family portrait of them in from of the rental they had been making memories in all week. The place was just like them. It was unquestionably cool in its uniqueness and beautifully hidden yet obvious to those that seek it out, as good people so often are.
That photo reminds me of vacations from my childhood when a new scene and experience called for a photograph. This last photo is the most meaningful photo I’ve made this summer simply because it’s a photo of my friends. I predict their Tybee Island family photo session will be even better next year.