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Capturing the Essence of Family, by Jo Belfield

The last 50 years have seen a great shift in family structures. There are many common structures which whilst they have always existed are now more prevalent and accepted. These include single-parent families, same-sex families, divorced and remarried families, grandparents raising grandchildren, adopted families and many more besides. The challenge for a modern family photographer is , in the relatively short session time we have available, to unearth and portray, the essence of that family – that tribe of individuals –  as individual people, the relationships between them and the family dyanmic as a whole.

My technique – to uncover this essence – is simple, at least to me! I want my clients to be as comfortable as possible, as relaxed as they possibly can be. I want them to be themselves and have fun together, whilst I sometimes observe and often engage but also capture the interactions for posterity.

I think portraying these relationships is at the heart of the absolute best of family photography. There is something that says more than just that these people were all in the same place at the same time.

I personally feel that I achieved this with my photographs of same-sex parents C and S and their daughter, H. We all had a lot of fun and the results are beautiful, natural and creative images that show the interaction between this happy and loving family. More importantly the images are a reminder of how much this young family has overcome and I know they will be treasured for many years into the future.

With thanks to Tamara Lackey and her book Envisioning Family: A Photographer’s Guide to Making Meaningful Portraits of the Modern Family for some of the ideas contained in this blog post. www.tamaralackey.com

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2 comments on “Capturing the Essence of Family, by Jo Belfield

  1. Trish
    June 2, 2012

    That is a beautiful portrait of an obviously loving family. If only all children were loved so much! It doesn’t matter who the parents are or what “type” of family it is, love, compassion, understanding, acceptance and nurturing are all that matters. I ❤ this!

  2. diane
    June 2, 2012

    What a lovely photo, Jo! It captures such love and happiness, and seems so natural, and the black and white is gorgeous.

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