Alki Beach

Let's Be Real in Family Photos - West Seattle Family Portraits at Alki Beach

What if my kid doesn't smile at the camera? What if they have a short attention span? What if they're obsessed with rocks and won't do anything else during our family photo shoot? First of all, who cares? Let's think about this experience as a moment to capture how things they really are. Smiley photos are nice, but the ones we LOVE are the grumpy faces that you'll laugh back at, the intense focus on the shiny object (the truck, the hose, the rock), the snuggles from mom after a major meltdown. These beautiful moments of life can be captured with beautiful photography.

If we go into the shoot fixated on getting smiley photos then we're going to be stressed or frustrated if the kids don't cooperate and we'll be disappointed with the end product. If we go in open minded, give the kids freedom to explore or be shy, and celebrate the raw honest moments that are the most private and special (least photographed), then we're in for a treat.

As your photographer, I prioritize the art of making sure the photographs look beautiful and they are as flattering as possible to you. I am sensitive to double-chins, un-tucked shirts, blinking eyes etc... I keep an eye out for these things while you play freely. I want to take photos for you that are actual happy memories that got captured. I'm not as interested in taking photos that are posed just for the sake of a photo...I mean, what's the point of that?

When you look at a posed photo, sure you look pretty but does it make your heart sing with joy? I want to take photos that make you feel, cry, laugh and remember how wonderful your life is with these people you love. That's what we're shooting for, literally. So...what if your kid doesn't smile? What if they just want to hide behind your leg? We're working with kids, which means we're working with magical little creatures. Let's be patience, accepting and curious and see what happens and I'll capture it beautifully for you. Lots of love, Chamonix.

LOCATION: Alki Beach

How to Pose and Instruct Families to Get Natural Relaxed Lifestyle Portraits

Awkward photos suck. What makes them awkward? When people don't know what they're supposed to be doing with themselves. When you're standing in front of the camera wondering if you should be smiling or moving, suddenly this stiff crooked smile wiggles its way onto your face and your forehead looks tense and your shoulders rise up.

This happens all too often with family photography because you're not professional models and standing in front of a camera is out of your comfort zone, your kids are squirming around and many photographers are so focused on clicking buttons and finding a good angle that they are totally silent behind the camera. #awkward

This whole problem is quickly & easily solved through clear communication. When I photograph families, I'm always explaining what's about to happen next and what I expect from the families. Confusion and overthinking is what leads to awkward photos so my instructions are intentionally giving just enough direction so you have something to focus on and you know what to do but they are still vague enough to allow free interpretation and authentic movement.

I want you to think about what you're doing, not how you're doing it. It's a dance between giving instructions and letting things flow freely. I give you a skeleton structure and you fill in the blanks.  Below are some specific examples of things I say:

"Hold hands and walk down the beach. As you walk you can swing your daughter, look around the view, laugh together. When you get to that log, turn around and come back."

"Stand here. Face out toward the water and throw your daughters up in the air. When you're tired or they've had enough, just stand close together and have a little family group hug."

"Sit here. Cuddle close together so your hips are touching. Tickle each other and keep tickling."

"Let's take a smiley photo at the camera. Stand close together. Look right here. One. Two Three. Perfecto!"

"I'm going to wander around and take pictures from different spots. You guys just play together around this area. You can splash in the waves, pick up rocks, cuddle, whatever feels fun."

Family Maternity Photos at Alki Beach — Seattle Family Photos

I met the Smith family at Alki beach for their happy Seattle family photos!! Immediately I was stuck by how open and sweet they were. Aileen is one of the most stylish mamas-to-be, and her blue dress looked so lovely against the blueish fog. Rob and Calijah were fearless, climbing as high as they could and rocks, jumping, and throwing stones. We wandered across the beach, twirled in the sand, hugged mom's baby belly, and snuggled on the logs. I had SO much fun with such a joyful, goofy, excited family as they get ready to welcome their newest little one! :) Thanks so much Smith family for asking the Happy Film Company to take your photos this year! - Ashley

Photographer: Ashley
Location: Alki Beach

Alki Beach is a beautiful and popular photo shoot location in the West Seattle neighborhood of Seattle. From Alki Beach there is a view of the Seattle skyline. The beach is long so there is a lot of variety in location with rocks, boardwalks and grass.