please photograph us having fun

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A few years back I had the opportunity to meet and photograph this amazing family in New Hampshire. Our session was a BLAST, and I still refer to it as one of my favorite family portraits ever. Alice and Val get it... sure, we took a few posed pics, but they wanted to run and laugh and climb trees and didn't fuss about their outfits or what expression I may or may not have captured of their kiddos. It rocked and was a pleasure to witness the essence of this spirited family.

Just after Christmas (and the addition of another daughter), I was invited to their home to photograph them again, and again, was asked to simply photographing them having fun... with grandparents, cousins, aunts and an uncle! And again, it was awesome! I absolutely adore this crew and their appreciation for documenting life the way they see and live it

Here's how it all went down, according to Alice:

Emilie had done some family photos for our immediate family a couple of years ago. She did such a wonderful job at capturing everyone in their best moments—and putting everyone at ease during the photo shoot—that it was only a matter of time before we asked her to come back once we had another baby.

As we were getting ready for the larger family to come to our house for Christmas, we started asking grandparents what they wanted from Santa. I should explain, our extended family is all spread out in different parts of the country—Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Indiana, Minnesota, New York, New Hampshire. No surprise on Santa requests—what everyone always wants is "more photos of the kids." And we realized we could go one better. Why not give them great photos of the kids, with grandma and grandpa IN THE PICTURE. And we wanted the kids to have photos with their grandparents while they're still healthy and active. And the grandparents got all their grandkids together in photos, too.

My brother and I split the cost of the session and declared it was everyone's Christmas gift. Which was waaaay better than a new sweater, or whatever other lame gift we all would have given each other.

We had 11 people—6 adults, 5 kids—and had an absolute ball. She took our craziness and reflected back all the fun, and poignant, moments that we will treasure for years. I love the pictures of my Dad's hands, the girls in mid-jump on their beds, the cousins all gathering around the iPad…so many wonderful memories made during the session and saved for us. Thank you thank you thank you!

Family photojournalism. Love it.

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