For the last 12 years, an important part of our family has been our Golden Retriever, Molly. When she became ill this spring, we faced the tough decision of putting her to sleep. She was the only Golden my children remember, so you can imagine the void in our home.
Our home was empty for a few weeks before we found our new Golden Retriever puppy, Jackson. It was love at first sight, and the laughter is back in our home. Jackson is every bit a puppy, but I wouldn't trade the joy he brings for anything. We have had many family portraits with our dogs, and I can't wait until Jackson is a part of the next portrait.
As photographers, we have an awesome responsibility with such family portraits. Customers trust us to memorialize their family and capture the love and laughter they share. Getting to know them in the few hours we spend together is a blessing in itself.
Anyone can take a picture of a family, but a true artist captures the relationships and the spirit of each (and the family pet). I have been mentored by some of these true artists and wonderful family photographers. Rod Gleason is probably one of the best family portrait artists in Michigan, and he has taught me many things over the years. I became friends with Michael Taylor about sixteen years ago and have always marveled at his beautiful family portraits. And I am always inspired by Ken Whitmire. Many years ago, I had the opportunity to sit in a few programs and see his mastery of family portraits. Ken's images are not only technically correct, they also flow with a grace and beauty that is breathtaking.
The challenge of family photography is making many people look good and feel comfortable at the same time. I have a lot of respect for image makers that can take the challenge of family photography and create images that show the interaction and love of the family, making it beautiful at the same time.
Whether you are with your family or creating images for your clients this summer, enjoy the time and relationships that will develop. Have a great summer with your family!
Friends Met Along the Way
The best part of this profession is meeting others who share the same passions we do, whether they have been in business many years or are just beginning.
I had the privilege to teach at Texas School in April. While there, I met Quinn Hancock, a Kansas photographer. Quinn was the head wrangler for the building my class was in, and we had many conversations ranging from associations to computers and photography. As the week came to a close, I knew I had found another friend who shares the same passions as I. Quinn, thanks for a great week.
The second person to meet is graduating from our local photography program. Sarah Karr worked in our studio during high school, wanting to continue her college education in photography. She recently graduated with an Associates Degree in Photography. As part of the process, she needed a professional photographer to critique her portfolio. I spent a few hours reviewing her images, finding myself impressed with her creative eye. At the end, my family and I went to the open house (for all the graduates in the 2008 class), where we enjoyed the portfolios and spent time with Sarah. It was an honor to share this special time with a young person who loves photography and the future that it holds for her.
Thanks to Quinn and Sarah, they have again inspired me. I count that a blessing.
Dennis Craft, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, API, F-ASP
2008-2009 PPA President
image copyright Rod Gleason