This Stern Grove family shoot will be my fourth year in a row with the Lincoln Family, as they get ready for their annual holiday Christmas card photo shoot. Stern Grove is the same place Ella Mei and Jason got married several years back, when Lily was less than a year old.
Seeing them grow up behind the camera, it is always a pleasure to see the little girls grow in maturity and beauty, while maintaining their playful innocence and youth. Every time I see them the whole family is always in a great mood, despite what Ella Mei tells me what goes on at home 🙂
We started out the family session by focusing on the two girls, and their cute smiles foreshadowed what would happen the entire shoot. Soon after, the parents joined in for some memorable family photos on the same steps they took other family photos on their wedding day.
As soon as we changed settings and went to the performance stage, Ella Mei pulled out some dried apricots, which was met with very big smiles. On the stage, in order to encourage more candid and natural responses, I suggested the parents pick up and twirl the girls around which always helps to teach little kids that the photo shoot is fun and not a forced chore. It’s all about positive reinforcement I guess! 🙂
This little sequence helped create the best images of the day in my opinion as it shows the best natural reactions from both the kids and the parents. Too often it seems in family shoots the parents are focused on getting the kids smiling, but I feel the best images of kids is of them laughing, naturally. After doing the yearly solo portraits of the girls, we finished the shoot on the steps of the Stern Grove building, the sight of their wedding reception. At the time, another interested wedding couple was inspecting the area for their big day, but were gracious enough to let us in and allow Jason and Ella Mei to show their kids this meaningful place, where they added another special memory with today’s shoot.