Why take professional family portraits

Guest Blog by Martini Severin; Family & Lifestyle Photographer

I’m passionate about family portraits and there’s a reason why. When I’m asked why one should hire a photographer to take portraits given that the average person can do the job with their smart phone cameras my answer is that commissioning a photographer to create a portrait of your family is one of the best gifts you can give to yourself and to your children.

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Like many of us, I grew up before the digital revolution.  My parents didn’t own a camera and depended on the kindest of strangers to take photos of our family here and there.  As such, the earliest photograph I have of myself was taken when I was about 2 years old.  There would be dozen of photos taken of us until my teenage years, but I’ve always been bothered by the dearth of photos of me and of our family when I was growing up.

There are no photos of mum and dad in their romancing days.  Sure, there are photos of me and my sister, photos of mum with dad, photos of mum with me and my sister and photos of dad with me and my sister but there is not one photo of all four of us together.

Subconsciously this lack of documentation of my childhood and of us as a family unit has had a profound influence on me. Truly, I reckon this is a reason why I decided to become a photographer or a memory keeper as my friends all call me.

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Not wanting to repeat my parents’ mistake, very early on I decided to document my life.  As such, before my husband, whom I call Honey, and I got married, we had a photographer take our photos while on holiday in Paris.  What a revelation that photo-shoot was. Before then, other than a selfie, Honey and I were seldom in photos together.

As the photographer took our portraits, I realized something:  Honey wasn’t taking my photo, I wasn’t taking his, we weren’t using the on-camera timer, we didn’t ask a passerby to take a snapshot and we didn’t do a selfie.  We were relaxed.  We were having ourselves photographed by a professional who showed us a side of ourselves that we had never seen before.

And during his time with us, this photographer caught the tender moments that we revisit daily by passing the prints from that shoot that now live on top of our fireplace mantel.

With our son in our lives, like all parents, we’ve taken countless photos of him with our phones, with our point-and-shoot and sometimes with my professional camera.  The problem is, being the person who takes photos, I’m hardly in our family a photo. To me, having a professional take quality photograph of us yearly is important for posterity.

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You see, there’s a magic that happens when you’re with a good photographer, you can be yourself, you don’t have to force tenderness, you don’t have to force love, or even laughter.  Better yet, rather than one brilliant photo here and there at the end of he session you receive numerous beautiful images.  We get to pass by these wonderful photos on our walls every day.  Even rushing down our hallway to our son’s room brings me back to weeks after his birth, to my Honey and I in Paris to photos of me pregnant in my eight month with our little one.

If you are considering finding a portrait photographer in your area, the Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers is a good place to start:  http://www.swpp.co.uk/find_photographer.htm

Martini Severin is a photographer and mum to her little one whom she calls Honey Bunny.  She lives yards from The BabyDrop and is extremely proud to be a BabyDrop Mummy.  She can be found at http://www.severinphotography.com and via her blog http://www.severinphotography.com/blog

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