Summer Picnic at Volunteer Park - Seattle Family Photography

A bouquet of lavender, a selection of doughnuts, fresh fruit, summer flowers and storybooks. Lauren is great at preparing for their family photo shoots. The Sor family always invites me out on fun photo shoot adventures and they pay attention to the little details that make a big different in the photos; wear yellow dresses and bring yellow flowers, have the girls wear leather shoes that match dad’s leather shoes, have each child match each parent’s (dad and one girl is in blue and mom and the other girl is in yellow), carry everything in a picnic basket and also have little baskets that you can spread out to hold your food…the list goes on.

None of this though is as important as the actual human story and connection that we’re celebrating. They chose to take photos at Volunteer Park because it’s where Lauren used to have summer picnics with her grandparents when she was a kid. This photo shoot was celebrating Zoe’s 1st birthday. The entire shoot revolved around laughter and playing with the girls; tasting vegetables, reading cute stories, racing across the grass. I love when parents pay attention to detail because it enhances the photos BUT I want to be very clear that it’s not the stylized details that make photos amazing or special.

It’s easy to think that a ‘good photo’ is all about matching outfits, a perfect pose and golden hour light but we’re totally missing the point if we get so obsessed or perfectionist about making it look pretty (and keeping everyone pretty, clean and sitting up straight) during the shoot that you are tense and don’t actually have fun. I’ve had a lot of stiff “must smile perfectly” families step in front of my camera over the years and it always makes me frustrated and sad. I want to run in and ruffle up their hair and make silly faces at the kids. Thank goodness though because over the years, the vibes I’ve been putting out have attracted the most wonderful families and now 99% of my photo shoots are with families that appreciate style while also showing up with big smiles, laid-back fun loving energy and overflowing love for their kids. Thank you so much you guys, Sor family and others, for bringing your beautiful energy to these shoots that fill up my schedule. I love having you as clients and I’m so grateful I get to take photos of beautiful summer evenings like this. 🖤 LOVE Chamonix

Location: Volunteer Park, Capitol Hill, Seattle
Activity: Summer Picnic

Butterfly Themed 1st Birthday Cake Smash Party

Another amazing birthday party thrown by the Clabeaux family! We were just at Sebastian's 3rd birthday with a cool firetruck theme and now we get to share some butterfly cuteness with ya! The Clabeaux family has a beautiful home in Queen Anne, Seattle and they enjoy throwing fun themed birthday parties for their kids that always include attention to details like party favors, special cake decorations and interactive activities for the children. In the past, they've also done a bubble party and "The Little Prince" theme party. If you're looking for party planning inspiration, Maria has also written a blog post for us with her top tips for planning kids birthday partiesThanks so much Clabeaux's for another beautiful celebration. See you soon!! // Chamonix & tHFC Ladies

Photographer: Ashley
Activity: Cake Smash / Birthday Party
Location: Private Residence

How to Help Kids and Parents Act Natural and Have Fun During a Seattle Family Photo Shoot

How do we get those photos of families playing, looking so natural and genuinely having fun? It's probably 1% photography & posing skills and 99% human psychology. Why do kids get shy with a photographer? They don't know you! Why do parents get awkward? They feel like they're supposed to be doing something and they aren't sure what it is exactly and they're worried if they're doing it right. So obviously, the solutions become simple. When photographing kids, give them their space, talk to them and ask them questions and play. Take an interest in what they want to do until they trust you and feel comfortable. Often the kids that the most shy at the beginning of the photo shoot have the biggest personalities and by the end of the shoot they're posing like Beyonce and hammin' it up for the camera. If you don't know the kids, ask the parents how they are at home and usually you'll hear about a huge playful attitude that just needs time to come out. And then when you're dealing with parents, help them relax by giving simple clear instructions so they know without a shadow of a doubt what they should be doing. And just so you know, "Go play with your kids for a few minutes. I'm not going to say anything for a while but when I want you to do something different, I'll let you know." is totally legit direction giving. If you tell them that you aren't going to talk for a little while so they can just play with their kids, then they feel free to just do anything they want and they aren't wondering what you're thinking or expecting. See? At all times kids and parents must feel safe by knowing a) exactly what's going on b) exactly what they're supposed to be doing (even if it's just hanging around) and c)  they can take their own sweet time to feel comfortable and they aren't being pressured. Obviously, there's a ton more to say on this topic but this a general overview of my mindset going into the family photo shoots we do at the Happy Film Company. This Seattle family photo shoot I did with the Frick family at Bybee Blueberry farm in North Bend was a perfect example of this photography approach. The first half of the shoot, I told the parents to just go have fun picking berries with their kids and I just let the kids wander around picking berries - I took photos from far away and just asked them little questions like "Can I see inside your bucket?" After 30 minutes, I told the parents "Let's start taking some portraits. Stand over here yadda yadda..." and by now the kids were more comfortable with me so I was able to start playing with them - games like peekaboo, silly faces, ran as fast as you can at my camera etc... and those shy kids were suddenly lovin' the camera and within a few minutes, mom and dad were joining in the fun, throwing kids in the air, racing around and having tickle fights. Everybody is playful inside, you just have to help them feel safe and give them permission to interact freely with each other. If you have questions about this topic or anything else related to happy family portrait photography or videography, feel free to send them to me at Happy shooting! ~ Chamonix Thank you so much Frick family for another beautiful family shoot - what a treat to spend a Saturday morning in the sunshine beneath Mt. Si with your joyful kids. Thanks for coming back to the Happy Film Company again and again. I look forward to our next shoot together :) x Chamonix

Photographer: Chamonix
Location:  Bybee Blueberry farm (North Bend)