This past weekend my wife and I asked our friend Jason to come over to our home and photograph us for a quick family holiday portrait. Jason is a good sport and a great photographer and he packed up his gear and hit the road. He brought along photo umbrellas, lights and everything needed to set up a portable studio in our home. We felt like celebrities being photographed! You know what I mean…
I think like many photographers, for me it feels odd to actually be photographed. Photographers enjoy the control that being behind the lens gives them; but when the camera is aimed at them, there’s a sense of role reversal that sets in that just makes you feel like you’ve stepped into another universe. Some people are natural performers and some people are natural observers. I consider myself an observer – this I know for sure. I like to think that it is an asset that is accessible while shooting.
Now, that being said, we had a great time during our photo session with Jason. Our family home (where the photo shoot took place) is relatively small. We have 3 juvenile cats, my son (Roman), my wife, my wife’s grandmother and me – all under one roof. Things can easily get chaotic around the house, and they frequently do.
We decided we wanted to capture a few different things: the family sitting on the couch together, our son opening a gift-wrapped present, my son with his abuela and some spontaneous interactions with our son (if possible). The first part of the session was relatively quiet. Our son sat with my wife and me on the couch as Jason snapped photos from his camera on a tripod and lights flashed on either side of us. But soon enough, our Roman became tired of photos and wanted to run around the living room and play. The turning point for Roman was when Jason came over to the couch to perform a quick light reading with his light meter, which looks like a cross between a smart phone and a remote control, two of Roman’s favorite things. He let Roman touch the light meter and he quickly figured out there was a connection between the flashes and the meter. At that point he followed Jason around trying to find the light meter, which was funny and we all had a good laugh.
One of my favorite photos actually happened when Roman wanted to get on the floor and play. As we sat on the couch, I picked him up and he stood on my legs laughing hysterically as my wife and I beamed up at him. It was a classic moment, which seemed symbolic for our relationship where my wife and I created him and how we make him the center of our lives. Sniff…
Later, with some coaxing and after giving Roman some toys to play with we were able to continue the photo session. One other funny occurrence was that two of our cats kept walking into and out of the photo frame as the session was ongoing. They were very calm about it and one of our cats, Samantha, seemed to want to participate. At one point she actually sat next to me on the couch and stared wide-eyed at the camera. Ultimately, Jason was able to capture all the great shots that we had hoped he would and now we can move onto making Christmas cards for all the family with our signature family portrait. Thanks Jason!
Jason will also be photographing people with me at the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar this year (on Dec 17th/18th) from 6-10 pm at Palmer Event Center here in Austin. Feel free to swing by and get a free photo session during this time or chat with Jason about photography! You can view more of his work here: http://jwangphotography.com/