The Impossible Details {Minneapolis Children’s Photographer}

We sat in Caribou for our pre-shoot consultation. “What are their ages?” I asked and held my breath. “Seven and a half, four and a half, two and a half, two, seven months, seven months, five months, and four months.” I exhaled deeply and let out a little nervous laugh. Eight kids seven and under? All in one studio shot? I wanted to crack a joke about using duct tape but wasn’t sure if it would be appropriate – or funny. But the even funnier thing about this was that I had already agreed to do it. Funny…or crazy…or perhaps a little bit of both.

This is a Brady bunch family. You know, the kind involving two existing families coming together and forming one big happy family. One of the all-grown-up “Brady” kids and her husband and three kids live in Florida and they were home for the holidays. And what a great idea to have a photograph taken of all the grandkids together as a surprise gift for grandma and grandpa for Christmas. The catch? The Floridians were not coming to Minnesota until the 19th. Yes, we had to have the shoot on the 20th and edit, choose, order, and print the images in time for Christmas. (Have I mentioned before that I have a “can do” personality? Now do you believe me?)
After getting over the shock of the reality of their ages and our timing, we got to work. This was too important to let a little thing like the impossible details get us down. 
So, two shoots later with many groupings, grandma almost coming over during the shoot and ruining the surprise, kids crying, treat bribery, kids crying again, loads of singing and pretending to be farm animals, kids crying again, blizzard conditions, eight parents trying to make uniformed decisions, and leaky diapers, we got the job done and ended up with some really cute shots. And I got to spend time with a wonderful family. Really, for the stress of this shoot they were so helpful and easy going and fun to work with. This would not have been possible without their good attitudes (and singing help). A big thanks to them!

I asked a veteran professional photographer for advice on this shoot and one of his comments stuck clearly in my mind. “If you can get one shot with everybody in it where nobody is crying and all heads are turned somewhat towards the camera – then you will have been successful.” I almost made it…

  • January 3, 2009 - 7:46 pm

    Heather Johannessen - Jessica, this was amazing! You do such beautiful work. I would say you are one of my favorite photographer!

    Heather (Sundeen) Johannessen

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