When I first decided to pursue family photography near the end of 2016, I reached out to my closest friends and offered them all a free session to help get my portfolio going. In March of 2017 my close friend Michelle suddenly and unexpectedly lost her husband, which changed her family forever. One of the reasons that I so love photography is because photos capture memories. You never know how long you will have with your loved ones and once they’re gone it’s the memories and images that help keep them alive in your heart.
It’s a devastating fact of life that awful things can happen to the people that we love. The best time for family portraits is the present.
Michelle moved to California not long after her husband passed away, but I still really wanted to do a session with her and the kids. We agreed to spend a weekend together during which I would photograph the family, and I set out for the beautiful California coast on a late Friday afternoon. As soon as I turned onto the freeway “California Sunrise” by Jon Pardi started to play on the radio and I knew that it was going to be a beautiful trip. I arrived in California just after sunset and I was welcomed with hugs all around and treated to a delicious meal.
The next day the weather was absolutely gorgeous and I couldn’t breath in enough of that gentle ocean breeze. We started the session under the pier where the boys practiced their rock throwing skills, laughing at a fat pigeon trying to fly while they emulated their mother’s poses. Just being near this family fills my heart with so much joy. The boys balance each other perfectly, one is very calm and considerate and the other is always laughing, joking and doing his best to make us smile. Michelle may have her hands full, but they are in perfect harmony.
We moved to the top of the pier and created some family images and individual portraits. We walked to the end of the pier to look out over the ocean and met a friendly fisherman who educated us on the reefs. We ended the day by eating pizza on a patio near the pier while taking in the gorgeous sunset.