"I'm not sure if you'll get any photos of them actually together, or looking at the camera", warned their extremely busy Mum who herself has the patience of angels and always has a smile on her face. "But please just do your best, as I haven't any recent photos of the children that I love".
They say never work with children or animals. But when it comes to outdoor shoots, there's nothing like it for getting you firing on all cylinders, adrenalin pumping, as you try to stay one step ahead of your active subjects. I have to admit, the two eldest siblings were indeed lively which, coupled with their not-yet-walking baby brother was certainly a challenge. But I made it my mission to capture their adorable cheeky grins, expressive blue eyes and spirited personalities, come what may.
So when, after 5 minutes, they decided it would be much more fun to run off into the sea, losing layers of clothing as they went, I simply ran after them, long lens attached, like it was planned all along....
Luckily, I work quickly, and, with kids of my own, am well versed in the art of making boring things fun. But even I was amazed with how much I managed to achieve in those first five minutes! I certainly didn't have time to check the back of the camera, so had no idea if I had a single photo of the children all with eyes open and happy expressions until I uploaded the images that evening!
Parents choose me for family portraits because they want photos of their children in a natural setting. And for young children, that means playing and interacting. The lighting might not be perfect - although I'll always recommend the best time of day, and reschedule if the weather's not playing ball - but happy kids have great expressions. For me, that's what it's all about. And I know that when this busy Mum stops and looks at her treasured portraits, she remembers the fun of their time on the beach, and the laughter evoked by their spontaneous swim. Who says family portraits have to be dull?
A big, big thank you to Mum, Natalie, for kindly allowing me to share a few of my favourites from the shoot.
Soft springtime light is perfect for outdoor portraits (although maybe not for swimming!), and I donate £10 from every shoot to Sussex children's hospice Chestnut Tree House, so you'll also be helping children with life-limiting conditions in your local area. To find out more about my family portraits, please click here.