Because I am a terrible mother, there had not been a proper family photo for almost a decade. Our kids were pre-teens the last time it happened. Also pre-braces, pre-growth-spurts, and pre-decent-hair-cuts. One kid rocked a too-long-fauxhawk. The other: emo-straightened bangs. Bless their hearts.
The next obvious milestone (and default family photo-op), was the first-born’s graduation. I have a thing about traditional grad photos. That thing is: they are not my thing. I can’t stand the cap & gown, the stuffy, personality-lacking images. I knew I wanted to capture this important stage of life, but not in the traditional, back-drop-in-the-library way. I wanted to make it more complicated. Like I do.
So, when our oldest graduated, I booked a photographer for his grad shots and family shots at the same time. Eight birds with one stone, against a sparkling Okanagan Lake backdrop. No dorky hats.
The morning of the photoshoot, I dropped my younger son at the dentist for what I thought was a minor procedure. When I picked him up, he had several stitches in the gum of his upper lip. In profile, he looked like a Simpson's character. Photos were promptly cancelled and I, the world’s okayest mom, never got around to rescheduling them.
Two years later, it was graduation time again. I’d seen Rachael’s work, was impressed at her talent and had heard such good things. We met on the waterfront, our family of 8, full of love and fun and reluctance to be photographed. We placed ourselves into the delicate hands of Rachael Harvey, photographer and miracle worker.
There were so many great things about our experience with her, aside from the outstanding results.
She was quick and painless. I was thoroughly impressed with her ability to get the most reluctant among us to relax and engage, and she worked so fast we hardly noticed what we were doing.
Rachael’s client communication was also top-notch. We knew what to expect, and she carefully explained how we could customize our order, allowing us the time we needed to make our decisions. In the end, there were no decisions to be made. I bought every image because they were just so good.
While her interest in photography started as a teen, she trained at the Centre for Arts & Technology, and has been shooting people (places and things) for six years.
"I’m a documentary style photographer, which means I’m all about capturing people in real life. I love being able to photograph a family doing what they normal do together – taking photos in their homes makes them even more authentic.”
Rachael also loves all the backdrop options that the Okanagan has to offer. “We’re so fortunate to be easy driving distance to the beach, dense forest, and pale, rocky, desert terrain – which is my favorite to shoot in.”
3 TIPS FROM RACHAEL...
1. If you are feeling self-conscious or uncomfortable getting your photo taken, let your photographer know! Then, you and your photographer can work together to make sure you feel good about the process and that you are well represented in your final photos. Most photographers really don't want to torture you, I promise!
2. It's okay if you need a break. If your baby is crying or your kids are fighting or just not cooperating, you are not the first family to do this during a photo shoot. You are normal. Sometimes the kids just need to run around first before being asked to sit still (and then your photographer can get some happy running shots!). Maybe you bribe with candy? You are normal. Tell your photographer when your kid's nap times are (if they are napping age) and then your photo shoot can be scheduled around them to hopefully make it easier for you. If you have a particularly apprehensive child, you can give your photographer a heads up before the shoot and lend some talking points: "ahem, Ben loves trucks"...
3. Wear something you feel confident in! (Which is great advice, unless you're a 13-year-old boy in 2008 and flat ironed emo bangs make you feel inexplicably confident.)
We’ve recently hired Rachael again to do some business headshots and could not have been happier with the results.
I could say so much more about how talented Rachael is, and how easy she is to work with, but I’ll let her work do the talking.
Rachael A Photography
Check out her website for more information and to have Rachael capture your family or your brand.
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