This family portrait session in Santa Cruz, CA was done at the beginning of February on a beautiful day. You gotta love winter in Santa Cruz on a clear day with no summer fog! This session was a long time overdue, the last time I did their family portraits was when Bailey, their 5 year old, was a baby. Two kids later, I really had some catch up to do. Adam is my oldest friend. Not oldest, as in he is 100 years old, but oldest as in, we have known each other since we were 2 years old. We grew up together as next door neighbors in the Santa Cruz Mountains, we are 6 months apart in age, and are like brother and sister. For those of you who know this neck of the woods, a neighbor could be a half mile away. But we were fortunate enough to live right next door to each other up a long, bumpy driveway, with other kids truly being a good long walk away on trails through the woods.
When doing family portraits with kids ranging in age, in this case from 2 and a half, to 5, it is essential for me to mix it up between the traditional shot of everyone looking at the camera at the same time ( a challenge with different ages) and capturing some of the more candid moments. The kids want to play, so I let them. I really love to observe and then react with my documentary style, to capture their playfulness and interaction. I also like to get different combinations of everyone involved, it shows the relationships between the different family members. Here are a few of my favorites.
The standard family portrait. Adam and Denika Matlock with Bailey, 5, Marcus, 3, and Lincoln, 2. We spent the afternoon at Natural Bridges State Park and then headed up to UCSC for some pastoral shots.
After the posed shots, I encouraged everyone to build a sand castle together. This shot is one of those moments that brings it all together, with the youngest, Lincoln Louis, becoming the focal point of the project at hand.
We’ve all seen the cute little naked baby “parts” photos. So I decided to capture the kids’ feet because we all know how fast they grow. I love the rolled cuffs!
Lincoln Louis hugging daddy’s legs. Adam shared with me that he has a special relationship with his youngest, so I spent some time that day capturing some nice moments between the two of them that shows their special bond. I added a warming filter to enhance the intimacy of the image.
Marcus trying to out run the surf. I don’t think he minds getting a little wet.
After we spent some time at the beach, we left and went to the University of CA Santa Cruz to get some shots in the beautiful pastoral fields that lead up to the campus. Most of the area has a gradual slope with a few “roll over” mounds. I found Bailey having some fun sideways somersaulting down the grassy hill.
A nice closer of the family walking up the hill towards a lone oak tree. I had photographed Adam and Denika here about 8 years ago as part of their engagement session, which produced a similar photo of the couple holding hands walking away. So they wanted to add a family shot to their collection of images. To me, this represents that loop, that circle of life, and the bond that they share with each other as a couple, and now with their family of growing children. I created a dreamy feel to this image by adding a Holga type infrared filter.