When I was first contacted about doing a photo shoot for 26 family members, I have to admit I was very intimidated. How would I wrangle all those people? How would I keep track of what I shot and what I wanted to shoot? And where would we even do a shoot like that, at 3pm, on a June afternoon? Thanks to a suggestion by the client, we found a perfect location with plenty of shade (which was really good because we were also in the midst of the first heat of the summer!) Jackie, the matriarch of this family is one of the most loveliest human beings I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet and work with. The photo shoot was a gift to her, from her children. While I was advised there might be some sadness, as this was going to be their first formal family shoot since one of the 7 sibling passed away the previous year, I never felt anything but joy and love. I know it was difficult for them on so many levels, but they never showed it. And I was amazed (and a LOT jealous) of Jackie’s energy! While I was shooting her kids, she kept all 11 of her grandchildren occupied, with nothing but love and happiness. She sang to them and they all seemed to adore her (and I can totally see why!) And those 11 children? All wonderfully behaved and each one as beautiful as the next. They all took the directions we gave them and posed for me. They were truly an absolute pleasure.

By the time we finished this marathon shoot in 2 hours (I almost passed out as I drove away from a bit of heat exhaustion!), I have to admit I spent the rest of the day wishing I was with them at their family gathering they had after the shoot!! I never wanted to be a part of family so badly! They were so much fun to be around!

The amazing grandparents, Jackie and Al:

We made sure to photograph each family (here they are in birth order):

Grandma, Grandpa and all the grandkids:

Everybody make a face (and I can’t tell you how it fills my heart with joy that Jackie LOVES this picture!!!!):

I was very pleased to be able to photograph all this beautiful children (and I was VERY happy that one of the little girls was named Piper! How cool is that?):

Here they are, all 26 of ‘em!:

Jackie and All and their kids:

The “big” siblings: Just the cousins:
All the cousins:
The clan again. You can’t tell me they don’t look like a great bunch??:

I don’t think I ever wanted a big family until this one. I’m secretly hoping they adopt me. xoxo to all of you!!!!

 

 

 

  • Tricia - August 15, 2013 - 9:58 pm

    Looks like a lovely family! Perfect day :) ReplyCancel

  • Maggie - August 15, 2013 - 10:44 pm

    Wow, what a great job! Lovely family; so many great shots. I’m sure they love these!ReplyCancel

  • christine - August 15, 2013 - 11:00 pm

    Beautiful Family!ReplyCancel

  • Carla Amstutz - August 16, 2013 - 9:56 pm

    You are amazing with all your ideas you use on your photo shoots! And yes, this is an amazing family to work with…..I love all the expressions.. Happiness.ReplyCancel

My dear Piper,

Today you are 19 months old. Not sure where the time is going. Every day you amazing me. And frustrate me. And challenge me. But you always make me laugh. I love days like this morning, when Zoe was off at gymnastics, and you and I got to spend some time alone together. We had breakfast at one of our favorite bagel places. You saw a ‘nana and instead called it a BA-nana. You say so many new words every day and your vocabulary astounds me. I love that we almost have conversations now. I love the silly faces you make, especially the one you make when I say, “Piper, don’t look at me like that!” I don’t love that you still refuse to eat with the fork you hold in your hand and instead eat with your other hand. I hate that you seem to love to throw food on the floor, even though you know you aren’t supposed to. And just when I’m so frustrated with you, you make a silly face or smile or make yourself laugh at something and I melt.

I love you so much, Piper. You have made my life so much better and brighter every day you are in it. I LOVE this picture of you:

You are such a little pip:
The piggies, the sunlight, the bokeh on the grass….LOVE:

  • Patty - August 5, 2013 - 12:20 pm

    Piper is a DOLL!!!ReplyCancel

  • Amanda Lamb - August 5, 2013 - 12:25 pm

    Time flies! She’s beautiful. :) ReplyCancel

  • Lara - August 5, 2013 - 1:50 pm

    Awwww Jen she’s so adorable! Beautiful images. Her pigtails are too much. <3ReplyCancel

  • Angela - August 5, 2013 - 2:49 pm

    Love that warm light!ReplyCancel

  • Donna Beck - August 5, 2013 - 5:00 pm

    What a cutie and I am just loving that light on her!ReplyCancel

  • Audrey - August 6, 2013 - 12:09 am

    She is adorable! Love the angles and how you captured her sweet face.ReplyCancel

  • Sarah - August 6, 2013 - 6:29 pm

    Awww she is adorable! I love her pigtails in the last one <3ReplyCancel

  • Ally Davis - August 6, 2013 - 10:41 pm

    what a sweetheart!! You captured her perfectly!! Really nice job!ReplyCancel

  • Christine - August 10, 2013 - 4:50 pm

    Beautiful. BEAUTIFUL. She is gorgeous. Thank you for sharing your thoughts – reminds me I need to write my own little one a letter again soon!ReplyCancel

Last August, with 2 kids still in diapers, we packed up my mother’s minivan and drove to Chicago to visit my friend Amy and her kids. Amy and I have been friends since the end of 9th grade. We met through a desk. Yes, you read that correctly. 25 years ago, I had a “conversation” with another student on a desk we shared at different periods in the school day. It started with the other student writing who she loved. I wrote who I loved. And we went back and forth. Eventually, we found out who each other was and we became fast friends. We were inseparable in 10th grade, bonding through a love of The Smiths, Morrissey, Sinead O’Connor and lots other awesome 80′s New Wave music. We shared clothes, had “dress in back” days and were obsessed with the cool drama kids. Amy wanted to be a model and I wanted to be a fashion photographer (does this shock anyone???) and we used to have photo shoots. Yes, I have been photographing Amy for a long time!!!! In our 25 years of friendship, we have been there for each other through lots and lots of relationships, friendship drama, marriages, babies, divorce and even more. In 2009, we found ourselves pregnant at the same time with baby girls, who were born 5 weeks apart. Isn’t life funny?

While we were visiting, I promised to do a photo shoot of Amy and her beautiful kids. Her two older kids are incredibly smart and caring people and are truly amazing to their little sister. We loved hanging out with them, even going into Chicago one evening. Zoe developed a little crush on Tommy, which wasn’t surprising at all. In fact, she kept photo-bombing pictures of him! It was so sweet.

They really are such a beautiful family:

And they know how to be silly and make each other laugh:

Sisters that love each other so much:
I LOVE this shot:
Morgan is such a sweet little girl and I hope and her Zoe grow up to be great friends:

Tommy is an incredibly smart and handsome young man:
This is what 11 looks like. Yes, Sydney was only 11 when I took this picture:
Amy has such a beautiful relationship with each of her kids. Her and Sydney are so fun and silly with each other, but above all, there is love:

Zoe and Piper are rarely cooperative on photo shoots. Especially Piper. She doesn’t want to stay still. At.all. It can be very frustrating, to say the least. And any photographer who shoots their own kids would agree. Yet, I keep doing it. Again and again. I suppose I’m a glutton for punishment. But they really are my little muses. And every once in a while, Zoe is the mood to please and a shoot is pretty fun. Other than the ridiculous amount of mosquitoes at sunset, this shoot went not-so-badly (which in mamatographer terms means pretty good!)

Zoe held a pose for more an 2 seconds!:

Piper on the move!:
My loves:

F a c e b o o k
P i n t e r e s t
I n s t a g r a m
S u b s c r i b e