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Family portraiture is a true art. Sticky fingers. Sleepy eyes. And little feet that want to run everywhere! Photographing a family can be tricky, but done right....can be breathtaking. Family photos should be authentic and feel like real-life. Stiff poses and fake smiles are a thing of the past. Families should be documented exactly how they are: beautiful and sometimes a little messy! Photographer, Justine Wright, is a master when it comes to family photography. Add glorious morning light, and we're obsessed! 

From Justine: It was a muggy Saturday morning in July when my husband and I met up with the Browns at breathtaking Philippe Park. This would be our last opportunity to capture this family before embarking on a cross-country move, so despite the elements, we knew we had to make it work. The grass was wet with dew, the air was thick, and the temperature outside was already scorching – quite typical of Florida summers - but Michelle and her husband Adam were determined to get some updated family portraits! Besides, regardless of the outdoor conditions, there's just not a place quite as reminiscent of childhood as the park.

The Browns are the type of family you just can't help but adore. When Michelle and Adam arrived bright and early (7:15 am, to be exact) with their children in tow, they were all smiles… and we all know that getting children up and going that early on a weekend is NOT easy! Walker, their son, was still barely awake; while Millie, their daughter, was a bundle of energy from the get-go.

To ease into the session, Mom sat and comforted Walker (who was reluctant to leave her side) while Millie searched for ladybugs in the meadow with Dad. As soon as Michelle attempted to move Walker – the waterworks came – oh, so many tears! Walker was just not feeling our photo sesh, which, as all photographers know… happens with young children quite frequently. This being said, after several minutes of calm, Dad and Millie made their way back to the blanket (where Mom and Walker perched), and the lifestyle magic began to happen. Walker sat contently in Mom’s lap while Millie quietly “snuck up" behind them, ambushing the whole family from behind! Less than ten minutes later, the clan was up and adventuring, while my husband and I watched intently through our lenses, waiting for those perfectly real moments to unravel.

The truly candid photographs from family sessions are typically my favorite, and this shoot was no exception. I love that throughout, I was able to capture Walker’s connection to his mother and Millie’s fearless nature (which I’m told she gets from her father). The natural moments that were captured between these four are so much better than anything I could have contrived myself.

Photography: Justine Wright Photo | Film Lab: The FIND Lab