My boys are not what you would class as the shy reserved types that will sit quietly and pose for photos. And truth be told, my last proper family photo experience pretty much scarred me for oh the past 10 years!
It's a scene I know so many of you will be familiar with, you are walking through your local department store, chasing kids and trying to get done so that you can get out of the shop and go and change your little stoinker with the pongy nappy.
You suddenly get that uneasy feeling you are being followed.
You spin around and catch a glimpse of a face and a clipboard as it hides behind a tower of bread makers and toasters.
Instinctively you speed up your pace, grabbing at what you need and distracting yourself with keeping little hands from breaking things and opening packets.
Then suddenly BAM, right at the end of the aisle you come face to face with the in store photo studio's representative and before you can say "Clear the floor I've got a stinker on my hands" they have you bailed up with vouchers for free photo shoots and free prints and yadayadayada.
I myself was suckered in to their spiel about how we were the lucky chosen ones and that they would love the honour of photographing my sweet little boy. Yep I took my free voucher home, fancied us all up and then went straight back to the store with baby and moaning husband in tow.
We were posed and positioned then re-positioned This arm was placed there while that arm went there and we were all instructed to smile at the camera and say "sushi".
The resulting photos were awful.
I looked like an asylum escapee who was stoned and smiling deliriously at the camera, whilst my husband looked awkwardly mechanical. And my beautiful baby boy? Ohhhhh my beautiful baby boy - he looked like he could be mistaken for the son of Chucky. I ended up paying over $500 bucks for the pleasure of that photo shoot, and to ensure that all those hideous photos were physically removed from the store, never to see the light of day again.
I have avoided putting myself and my family in front of the camera for a professional shoot ever since.
So when Steven and Irene from I love My Family | Family Photographers contacted me to ask if I would be interested in a family photography session, I have to admit I was really hesitant.
Apart from the scars of the past experience, I'm just more comfortable hiding myself behind the camera rather than in front of it these days.
But after a long chat with Steven about what I would want from the experience and the time he took to understand my boys, their personalities and our family dynamics, I began to relax and dare I say I was even looking forward to it.
We arranged to meet at Clontarf Beach in Sydney on a particularly gorgeous Sunday afternoon. The kids were encouraged to bring their favourite toys (aka balls, skateboards and more balls) and we packed a picnic with all the essential must haves like wine and cheese and wine.
The boys warmed to Steven straight away, and he will probably kill me for saying this, but I think its kinda because he is like a big kid himself. He and Irene are young and funky and they didn't just photograph the boys, they talked to them, got to know them, played soccer with them and just generally mucked around with them joining in the fun.
I asked for Steven to capture the boys true spirits.
I wanted the photos to be candid and unstaged, and for the boy's individual personalities to shine through.
I wanted to capture them and all their natural energy, out in the sun and in the water, having fun and creating the type of fun mischief they do so well.
I was hoping to get some nice photos of my beloved family.
What I got was the best damn Mother's Day present ever - precious memories frozen forever in time.
Steven and Irene are the incredible talent behind I love My Family / Family Photography in Sydney.
You can read more about Steven and Irene and their philosophies here, or you can check out their photography pricing and session packages here. Have a look through their gorgeous blog that showcases their incredible work here or connect with them on Facebook here.
Irene and Steven also run photography workshops in Sydney where you can learn how to take some stunning photos of your children yourself. Because let's face it, photography session are an investment and we can't all afford to have them done every year.
They understand that and want to encourage everyone to feel comfortable taking their own photos. So maybe you could save up for a photography session one year, another time ask your family and friends to all put in for a session as a gift for a special occasion or birthday and then in between you can learn how to capture beautiful family memories yourself.
Thank you so much Irene and Steven.
You guys were totally awesome and I can never thank you enough for the way you captured by boys in all their true spirit.
Oh and the boys want me to tell you that next time - it's Game on!
Have you had any Family Photo Triumphs or Disasters?
*Disclosure: I was not paid to write this post however I was incredibly fortunate to be gifted a family photography session with Steven and Irene. All opinion are my own and my boys want you to know that they kicked ass in the beach soccer that day!