family photos bristol family photos bristol

Family Photos Bristol

Family Photos Bristol

When I was young it was an annual event for us to go off to the local photographer for our family photos.  As an event I think I probably considered it mildly less painful than a visit to the dentist.  It was so bloody formal and Victorian.  My parents still have the pictures proudly displayed in their home but looking at them doesn’t help me relive the wonderful memories of my childhood.  Looking at these pictures of me as a child and as part of my family doesn’t give me the warm fuzzy, sentimental feeling that I so wish they did and that I know photos can give.

Am I being cold and heartless?  No I don’t think I am.  I have a philosophy about photographs and photography and I’ll try and explain it in my own clumsy way (I’m sure it’s been expressed far more eloquently elsewhere on the web).  I believe that a photograph sort of ‘locks’ in the feelings and emotions that were prevalent at the time the pictures was taken.  I don’t mean this is any spiritual or quasi religious sense, it’s more than when you look at a photograph you are to a greater or lesser extent transported back to not just to that vague period of time in your life when you had a very bad haircut and appalling fashion sense but even more specifically to the exact time the actually picture was taken.  Your feelings, your state of mind somehow get indelibly fused with the picture – am I starting to sound a bit like a hippy yet?  It’s for this reason that I so believe for child and family photography the session need to have the overriding atmosphere of being fun.  And by ‘fun’ I don’t necessarily mean that everyone needs to be jumping about and laughing throughout the session, I just mean that this need to feel positive.  Where young children are involved, it’s as important to me that they enjoy the experience of my photos session as it is that we get some beautiful, natural shots of them. So I think the main thing missing when I look as these formal pictures of me when I was a child is that I hated the experience, it was just so far from fun and therefore when I look at them now that’s what I see, that’s what I remember.

It’s not a dissimilar experience when I hear some people taking about their wedding photographs (I hasten to add not couples who’s weddings I have photographed).  While they accept that they have some very beautiful pictures of their wedding day, when they look at them all they can think about was that they had been taken away from their guests for 2 hours and that the experience seemed more about the photographer getting a great shot for his or her portfolio rather than capturing their fantastic day.  In my opinion I think those pictures, however amazing, will always be slighted tainted by the negative experience of when how they were taken.

So often the customer experience is an afterthought in comparison to the quality and beauty of the resulting photographs.  I don’t think it should be and I certainly don’t ever think that the quality of the photographs needs to be compromised just because you’re trying to make your subjects enjoy the experience.



Here are some photographs I took on one of my family portrait session just before Christmas.  The overriding impression/feeling that they boys came away with was that we went for a great walk in the woods…….oh and Brett happened to take some photos of my and my brother and some with our Mum.  It wasn’t all about the photos but yet I don’t feel that in creating a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere that I had to make any compromises to the resulting photos we got from the session.  Far from it, in creating an atmosphere in which I was ‘one of them’ I managed to quickly build up a rapport with the boys such that the images are a genuine and natural refections of the boys true characters. No need for novelty hand puppets or bubble machines, in my opinion props like that get in the way of capturing a child’s character rather than helping to reveal it.

Many of the pictures from this session are now beautifully framed and hang on the walls of the boys’ house.  They look amazing and I sincerely hope that in the years to come all the family will be able to look at these pictures with that warm fuzzy feeling and will be reminded of that lovely walk in the woods, the rustle of leaves as we kicked our way through them along the paths, the hollow tree truck that we hid in and the thick squelchy mud that almost pulled our wellies off!  That would be great.

If you’d like some natural, beautiful and genuine pictures of your children I’d love to hear from you. You can use my contact form here or feel free just to give me a call on 07760 130 044.

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