Gemma is the owner of Gem Photography. She is a natural storyteller with a background as freelance writer and journalist, she shares with us her view through her lens. Authenticity and the small details of everyday life is what inspires her and drives her as an artist and a devoted documentarian. We're excited to be able to feature this session for her from last summer in Arnprior, Ontario.
This right here is the reason that I love what I do. First of all, repeat clients are the best. They don’t have to come back to me, but they do. The G family has recruited me a few times – first to photograph their son when he was just 18 months old, again for maternity and newborn photos of their daughter, and an extended family session. From the first encounter we have become friends and it’s an honour to watch this beautiful family grow (take note: if I photograph your family, there’s a good chance that will become friends too!).
We’ve done more of the look-directly-at-the-camera-style sessions in the past, and I explained that my philosophy about photographing families has shifted since our last session. Since our last session, they have moved from my neck of the woods here in McNab Township to a new home in Arnprior. We decided that it was time to photograph a typical Sunday morning with everyone. Coffee in hand. Kids playing. Very little direction from me. Mom and dad are free to be involved with the action and I’ll hang out with my camera.
Understandably, mom hesitated at first. When anyone thinks of professional family photographs, you instantly imagine people sitting together in a picturesque park. It’s hard to envision how the scene would play out in your home. I totally get it. But as a valued, loyal client and friend, I wanted to give her something more than just a few pictures to hang on the wall.
After a little more chatting, I was thrilled when she came around to the in-home documentary session concept. I said we could start off just spending some time inside and if she wanted, we could end up at the nearby park to run around with the kidlets.
(As you see, I also guarantee to take a few ‘everyone look at the camera’ shots for Grandma and Grandpas, however, the majority of the time is spent ignoring the girl with the camera.)
Not surprisingly, the day before our photo shoot, up popped this message:
“My house won’t be clean… So bring a filter that will hide dirt and dust.”
Which brings me to the second reason I love my job: I don’t see the same things that you see.
It’s not about the cleanliness of your house anyway (by the way, their home is gorgeous!!). Documentary sessions are about pressing the pause button on this phase of life. The phase where there’s an entire room dedicated to tons of tiny toys, you hunt for bugs in the back yard, you have a mid-morning snack of Goldfish crackers, and you’re exhausted by 12:30 p.m. after chasing around two little kids. Our morning together depicts so much about what this family does in their down-time away from work, school and other life obligations.
Gemma's Photo Tip:
Don't fear shooting in mid-day sun. I actually prefer it to golden hour! Practice where to place yourself in relation to the sun to avoid harsh, unflattering shadows.