Photographing Family Portraits in Big Indian

Do I photograph families? Big or small, that’s a yes. It could be that moment two become family, a wedding or union. Or it could be 70 or so years later with generation after generation of children and grandchildren on hand to celebrate.

Sometimes, it is a family of four enjoying a weekend in the mountains and for reasons that aren’t always revealed to the family photographer, I’m asked in for the memory making.

A photo session really is an opportunity to make memories, as I have witnessed through my lens, again and again. On the occasion of photographing of Nicholas, his wife and their two children, I’m sure the photos we captured will help them to remember the stick their eldest found upon arrival and would not relinquish. … Heck – it may have made it back downstate.

Just finding the AirBnB was a bit of a milestone in itself! Sometimes getting to the location feels like the first accomplishment of a photo session. Often, the people that book a session with Jonathan Ment Photography don’t have knowledge of the area beyond the route to their destination.

In this instance, the quirkiness of the place made for more memories.

No matter, little compares to that hour or so when I am on site with cameras walking, talking an entertaining. We have fun on these sessions.

Have I mentioned #LoveMyJob ?

There’s always a limited window of opportunity. Portraits are not the main focus of a family’s trip to the Catskills, but if photos are in the plans they need to be scheduled. I sometimes add these to the calendar months ahead of time, sometimes just days.

In peak wedding season, May through October, planning for photography is essential. Wedding factory types might be booked every minute. But Jonathan Ment Photography is not a wedding photography factory.

Short notice is never an issue if I have availability.

It also helps to be flexible.

Thinking of photos Friday at 4? Can we make it 5? Great!

Thinking of the yard or that nearby bridge? Is there an inside option or covered porch just in case? This is the Catskills after all and rain is always a possibility.

Do we need to say cheese? Never, I vote against it.

Must we look at the camera? Occasionally, please. Most of the time, if it is for a portrait.

A while back I worked with a big guy in a red suit (ok, several guys in several suits) eventually managing several malls’ photos sets at Christmas (and Easter … different suit…) This intense work provided a lot of experience with small subjects.

I’m not sure whether I cemented this approach in my mind then or when I began photographing weddings – but it’s this simple – I generally ask that you look at the camera and I watch the child on your knee. In other words, when the little ones are ready and smiling for the photographer, you want to be doing the same.

Looking down at your baby is a different image – and a beautiful one to capture, but you don’t want to be the one with the ear to the lens when the rest of your family is ready and smiling.

This family was wonderful. We all found the place. The rain held off. We occasionally set the stick down and there were, as is often the case, a variety of locations within barely a minute’s walk of our starting point.

Together we can cover a lot of ground, literally and figuratively, with happy, engaged and willing subjects – and I promise, it will always be fun!

Making memories with family photos in the mountains? Let’s do it! You can email, or text: 845 430 4030 to get started, or even dial that phone to chat!

~ Thanks as always for reading.

Jonathan Ment, Photographer

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