This is us: The Schuler Family, dressed to the nines in my home studio as I click the button on the remote trigger and remind the kids to look at the camera. (They did AMAZING by the way, and it was actually way more fun than any of us expected! Check out more family photos at the end!)
I've always been inspired by "Vanity Fair" style portraiture and have dreamed of doing my own family photo this way but never got around to it. So since I had already arranged a day to have my hair & makeup done to photograph my own new headshots, the idea popped into my head to turn it into a family affair.
"THAT'S A CRAZY IDEA! IT WOULD NEVER WORK FOR US!" was the next thought that popped into my head. Would my kids be up for it?? Would they cooperate enough to make it worth all the trouble and result in a beautiful photo? Or would it end in total chaos, grumpy moods, bribes, and tears all around? And likewise, would my husband put up with what seemed like could be quite an ordeal? I decided to go for it.
When the day arrived I spent the morning setting up the backdrop and lighting, just like I would for any other shoot.
At lunchtime my hair & makeup artist, Tiffany from The Modern Face, arrived. She's amazing. (You can view Part 1 here where I show you my own makeover & self-portrait session).
I did my self-portrait/headshot photos first. Then the kids got home from school.
The next few hours were a bit of a blur. The kids managed to get their "fancy clothes" on with a little help. I brushed and curled the girls' hair. I decided it was at least 10x more work to be the mom, hair stylist, AND photographer all at once AND all while trying not to break a sweat and mess up my own hair and makeup. But WE DID IT and I am so excited that I have these photos to cherish forever!
Let me introduce you to my 4 amazing kiddos:
First up is Evangeline Maris (known as "Evie"), my first-born daughter who is outgoing, creative, caring, and helpful! She loves to make crafts and sing and she wants to be a school teacher when she grows up.
Next up is the little sister, Violet Yan Tao. Her middle name was given to her in China and means "Gorgeous Peach". Violet is a cheerful girl who knows just how cute she is! She loves to draw, color, and watch cooking shows and wants to make cupcakes someday in her own bakery.
These two became sisters through adoption and have the sweetest relationship. Evie would do anything for her little sister even though she'll tell you she drives her crazy sometimes. ;-)
Our "middle child" is the sweet, smart, sensitive Corbin Jeremiah. His Christmas list included snow, fun, candy, math, and a drone. He wants to be an engineer someday. He always makes me smile.
Finally, our oldest child and newest member of the family is Hudson Hongwei, whose middle name means "Magnificent". He was also adopted from China and is a brave & charming young man who wants to be a business man someday. I helped him launch his first business this summer and he made many great connections in the neighborhood. Everyone tells me how inspiring he is! I also run an Instagram account for him to keep up with the friends and coaches he meets at his summer sports camp.
These two brothers have completely opposite personalities, but they're a great match! They enjoy playing chess and other games together and I have to admit their deep conversations about God, life, and adulthood really make me smile. They also share typical brotherly bonding moments, like figuring out how to armpit fart or starting a nerf war.
I'm so proud of my kids and loved capturing each of their personalities on camera! They might not admit it, but they enjoyed it too!
After individual photos we got together for our family portrait! I used a remote trigger so I didn't have to run back and forth from the camera, and a tether cable so I could view the photos on my laptop next to the set. I wish I had a video from this segment!! We had some good laughs! I'll be sure to share a few of the silly ones too.
I know we look angry, but it's just not a Vanity Fair shot without the straight faces!
To me, this was the best day ever. Not only did I end up with the family photo I'd dreamed of I also had an amazing experience with my family and captured beautiful pictures of each of my children! I was so happy I nearly cried, and I do this for other people all the time!
I quickly realized that these memories deserve much more than a spot on the hard drive or a USB stick. So I placed my own order for a 24 x 30 custom frame as well as a set of matted 5x7 prints and a 6-piece mounted fine art gallery collage (photos of those coming soon)!
I believe now even more than ever that it's important to have your favorite photos printed and displayed so you can enjoy them. They make me smile each time I walk by, which makes the investment even more worthwhile! Not only will I enjoy seeing these photos for a number of years; my kids and grandkids and great-grandkids can enjoy them as well! Not to mention all the grandparents and great-grandparents who can't wait to get a copy of these right now!
If you're ever interested in your own portrait session you know where to find me! I love helping my clients design the custom shoot of their dreams, as well as choose from a beautiful selection of quality custom frames, metal prints, canvases, and albums!
For more info, Email Nikki here or fill out the contact form on the homepage.
All images © Awakened Light Photography 2018
Nikki Schuler specializes in wedding & portrait photography and is the owner of Awakened Light. Her award-winning work has been featured in several publications. She enjoys instructing photography workshops and resides with her husband & 4 children in a cozy vintage farmhouse in Oxford, Michigan.