We had our 2009 holiday photos taken by ErinLeigh Photography, and they came out so beautifully that I knew we would be using her again in the future. Two years later, we decided it was time, so we scheduled another family photo session. Erin met us as San Francisco's Crissy field and we spent a leisurely afternoon walking around, catching up on each other's lives, and snapping photos.
Erin's really easy to work with, and although we did have to stop and pose from time to time, for the most part she just took photos of us as we walked and talked. The Pea, of course, was more than happy to preen and pose for the camera, but Jammy quickly lost patience with that -- it's a good thing there were fields to run around, sandy beaches to explore and kites to fly.
This is Alfie's favorite photo from the whole session. Not because 3Po is his favorite child or anything; I think he just likes the wistful expression on 3Po's face. He doesn't even mind that his head is cut off, or that the rest of us are blurred in the background. In fact, it could be any child in the photo, and he would still find it interesting, because of the superb framing and that trusting gaze. Alfie is not a fan of displaying posed, faces-smiling-all-in-a-row, family photos on our walls. The photo above our fireplace is of a woman at a bar, and people keep asking who she is, but we don't know. This one is definitely not a posed photo; it's a work of art that happens to have our family as the subject -- and the random woman at the bar may have finally met her replacement.
Here is my favorite photo -- again, not because The Pea is my favorite child, but because the photo is so exquisitely done. Erin has captured The Pea's spirit in that one little smile, and framed the shot perfectly. Just looking at this photo makes me wistful, yearning to cuddle the adorable baby she used to be, yearning to meet the spirited woman she's going to become, yearning to hug the sweet girl that she is today.
I cannot end this post without sharing a few more of Erin's gems, and the stories behind them.
Erin asked 3Po and Jammy to hold hands and run down a small hill a couple of times. She must have taken dozens of shots, but I'm still surprised that even one of them turned out so nicely, because they were moving like lightning (naturally, there were a couple of rolls and spills at the bottom). I love seeing the joy on their faces.
The fog was something of a mixed blessing. On the one hand, it completely covered the Golden Gate Bridge for the first half of our photo session. On the other hand, the lighting was perfect for portrait photography, and the fog gave the skyline a beautifully mysterious quality. In any case, the fog lifted in time for Erin to get some really nice shots with the bridge in the background.
At some point during the afternoon we stopped by a cafe for hot cocoa and cappuccinos. Erin took this photo as we sat and drank. I don't know why I like this shot so much. I thought about asking Erin to crop it, but realized that having the people in the background is what makes it come alive. All the hustle and bustle behind The Pea seem to bring the viewer's attention straight to her.
If you haven't had your holiday photos taken yet, I highly recommend Erin. We can't afford to do this every year, and even then we can't go all out on storyboards and canvas wall hangings, but having your family's portraits taken by a professional is really a worthwhile splurge (how often you splurge depends on your budget!). To illustrate the je ne sais quoi that a professional brings, here is a photo I took of The Pea at the same photo session:
There's nothing wrong with this photo. The Pea is always gorgeous, of course. And I'm sure I could improve the colors and exposure to some extent via digital editing.
Here's one that Erin took. Obviously, Erin's camera and lens are far superior to my phone camera -- but again, Erin has captured the better expression, the better angle, the better background. It's difficult to pinpoint exactly what makes the second photo more interesting -- hence, je ne sains quoi -- but it's the same reason why handing someone a typewriter does not make him Ernest Hemingway.
What about our family photo? Don't worry, we've got a good one. It's lurking somewhere in Erin's Flickr photoset; can you guess which one we chose for our holiday cards? You'll find out on December 25!
Disclaimer: I realize this reads like a review post, so I feel obligated to add that I was not asked nor obligated to write this post, nor did I receive any compensation for it. I just wanted to rave about Erin's photos, and the views and opinions expressed here are my own. All images on this post with the ErinLeigh watermark are the property of ErinLeigh Photography -- thanks, Erin, for letting me use them in my post!
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