Family of 4 holding one another in Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve in San Diego

Best Way to Capture Families

When I first started doing family photography, more than anything I just wanted to shoot authentic, raw, natural moments. And then I quickly realized how trained our culture is that as soon as a camera comes out, it’s automatic to stare directly at it and smile. It can feel awkward and forced to do anything else, and I know this from personal experience being on both sides of the camera. In order to get those genuine moments, I eventually learned it was on me to help shape those moments to happen with very specific guidance.

It took time for me to start seeing those natural moments that I had been chasing after because of two main obstacles. The first was I had to get my clients to let go and relax in front of the camera. All too often, they are nervous about what they look like or how their kids are behaving. I had to figure out a way to have them relax and enjoy each other as if they weren’t getting their pictures taken. The second obstacle was to have the family be together in a way that shows how they feel about each other and not necessarily as they are in their day-to-day life. What I mean by that is I know how chaotic and busy daily life with kids is like in reality. You’re not usually sitting together staring lovingly into each other’s eyes and snuggling all together as one big happy family. But this is what I’m after because when you see this image of your family doing this together, you feel something from that image. You feel that love you have for them. And that’s what I’m after. That feeling.

I can pose your family and have everyone look at the camera and smile. I know this is the classic Christmas card photo or the one that grandparents love having framed on their wall or mantle. It freezes time and shows how everyone looks, but I want to give you more than that. I want to bottle up emotion. I want to capture an image that gives you the feels when you see it. I want to create a visual story of your family’s love and connection. This is what makes a photography session with me worth it. Your investment is in my visual storytelling skills that comes together both in capturing that story with my camera as well as in my editing style.

Here are some examples:

With everyone looking at the camera and smiling:


vs. everyone together as it feels to be a family:



The “look” image:


vs. the “feels” image:


One last example:

See what we look like:


See how we feel:

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Kim Belverud