Back in January I was rewarded a bursary that was just the right amount for me to purchase the best thing in the world for a photographer hoping to have a studio in their home. A light kit. Gone are the days (for the most part) of me having to sign out the Durham College studio and that's a definite plus. My biggest problem... space! My other problem... I spent most of January so sick with a flu that turned into a very long cold and didn't even get to even pull the kit out of the box!
So I'm now spending time taking the junk out of my basement to make room for a dream and doing assignments for my final (and then eeeeek, I'll graduate from one program at least) which are of course portraits. When you are given a chance to spread your wings and get creative you find out something you weren't sure of. You find out that product photography is fun but its harder than it looks, that scenery looks pretty but there's no one to talk to when you take a picture of a tree and that there is nothing more fun than shining the light on a body or a face and exposing its most beautiful qualities.
When we were given the assignment for event photography of taking a family portrait I took my neighbours and kids out to the street and the snow while my friend and classmate Britney did the same for us. But before Britney could make it over I had a million ideas of family portrait ideas and what we'd talked about in class that makes a portrait fun.
What makes a good and special family portrait? When you are able to capture the essence of a family. For me my family... well its just me and my 2 kids. And for almost the last 5 years that's how its been. Every second weekend they spend their time with me. I knew from the beginning of that time that my weekends with them were precious and that I wanted to have something that was just ours. So every second Friday and Saturday night for the last 5 years or so we've been plunking ourselves down on the couch with all the pillows and blankets we can and grabbing our "movie treats". We pick a movie from our long and continuously growing list of dvd's and blue rays, turn out the lights and snuggle and laugh. Even as they have grown bigger we're still enjoying it but I'll never forget how tiny they were when we first started the ritual. We've had our phases of drawing a movie name out of a hat. Taking turns each weekend. We've had a movie for my youngest, when she falls asleep we can watch something more grown up for just me and my son. Thankfully my children have inherited the Prince Family Movie Gene as I call it. Like my parents before me I hear a voice and know who it is and start rattling off every movie they've ever been in. My children now always do the same. It's times like these that we bond.
When I listened to the teacher talk about what makes a good family portrait I went home and thought about it all the way on how I could make my own family portraits look special. What says Patti and the kids more than anything? What reflects who and what we are? What are the moments I love the most? Movie nights. So out came the kit out of the box and the fun with light is now in the house. The kids and I set aside about 45 minutes and played with expression, had some laughs and ate some popcorn. The winning shot is here. Hope you enjoy. I know I see these eventually behind our heads on the wall behind the couch so that I can look back on it for years to come. Because that's what a good family portrait is for.