Ep. 5: In Which I Fake it till I Make it (And My First Portrait Session Actually Goes Pretty Great)

Laityn wants to wear this bow, not that one, and for this reason, she is crying.

Landen’s preferred cowboy boots don’t fit anymore, and his jeans are too big, and he is also crying.

And Lenna…wait, where’s Lenna?

We were getting ready to go out for a family photo shoot with my sister Candi and her sister-in-law Mandy (and if that isn’t confusing enough, their husbands are both named Jeremy), and things were not going well, to say the least. My bribes of later playtime were largely failing, and I was pretty resigned to the fact that my first attempt at portraiture was doomed before it even began.

But when we arrived to the pasture where we’d be taking pictures and let the kids out, it was as if the pre-picture crisis never happened. They all took off running, exploring, and then came back to me, ready to pose with the cutest dang smiles you ever did see.

It’s amazing what a little dose of open space can do.




The location was as idyllic as it gets, all authentic “shabby chic” (is that still a thing?) with a crumbling old barn, rusty fence, tall grasses, a tire-worn path lined with a vaulted ceiling of trees, a quaint little pond.

It was basically the epitome of a backroads paradise.

The candid shots of my sister’s family came easily. I just followed the smiles as we wandered around, scoping things out and trying to pick out the best backdrops.

The formal shots, though, I was a little more nervous about, especially with Mandy’s family (the Strakas), who I don’t know as well. Directing and organizing people is not one of my strong suits, which is why up until now I’ve stuck to things and landscapes as photographic subjects. (My husband is the people-person in our relationship).

But, already knowing this about myself, I came prepared with printed out Pinterest ideas and my own sketched out poses and pretended I knew exactly what I was doing, which worked maybe half of the time.

And the other half, things turned out just fine, anyway. Moms stepped in with their mom magic to pose their kids and take hands out of pockets and fix dresses, taking care of details I didn’t always notice because I was busy getting my camera into focus. In some ways, I think having two families involved helped, too. Although things took a little longer, both groups had breaks in between the photos and the smiling, and the kids had time to run in between.

Things did not go perfectly, of course. (Tune in next week for a ‘Behind the Scenes’ special, where I’ll divulge some of the more technical details of this photoshoot).

But really, it’s all about faces and capturing people just being themselves.

Sometimes that means smiles, and sometimes it means that an older brother is squeezing his sister’s hand until she screams.

Mandy and Jeremy Straka family

This girl knows how to model!

The Candi and Jeremy Poss family

They posed like this all on their own!

One thought on “Ep. 5: In Which I Fake it till I Make it (And My First Portrait Session Actually Goes Pretty Great)

  1. Sharon B

    Amazing photos! You captured their personalities with your shots. Of course having photogenic families helped a bit too.


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