Monday, April 3, 2017

My Outdoor/ Indoor shoot with the Medawars! ~ Tacoma Family Photographer

Before spring had even sprung this year, I had the opportunity to do a family shoot for my friends, the Medawars.  Though I didn't know it at the time, this session would go down in the history books of my photographic career as one of the most potentially disastrous, with (thankfully) a wonderful finished product. With high hopes, umbrellas, and wardrobe change options, we planned their session for a weekend day with a reasonable-looking weather forecast and hoped for the best.  As many of you know, I shoot outdoors for almost all types of sessions- even in winter.  I will admit that that's even a point of pride for me.  But on this particular day, my resolve (and theirs) was about to be tested.

The Medawars had to drive a decent way to get down to the Tacoma area, but when they arrived, the sun was shining and the only hint at what was to come was the persistently cold wind coming in from the Puget sound.  Undeterred, we loaded into the car and drove the quick 5-minute trip to Blueberry Park (one of my favorite locations year-round).  As we got out, I remember saying "Wow, it's getting colder, isn't it?"  About 30 seconds later, rain began to pelt down on us at a 45-degree angle.  I considered getting out the umbrellas that we'd planned to incorporate into the shoot, but the wind was too strong, so I left them.

As the Medawars' son climbed out of the car about a minute later and commented on the cold, we grown-ups tried to reassure him that once we got moving, we would hardly notice the bad weather.  It was about this time that the rain turned into snow, and then hail.  The changes in the weather were so fast and so detrimental to our cause that it was almost comical.  Almost, but not quite.  At that point, we all wanted to be done with the session (which is not so good when it hasn't even begun yet), so we walked through a small forested area to get to the clearing where we'd be doing most of our shoot.

As the junior verbal member of our expedition, the Medawar's son again stated the obvious fact that this weather was terrible.  I think it went something like, "Daddy!  It's TOOOOO COOOOOOLD!  I wanna go hooooome!"  I have to hand it to his Dad, though.  He put forward the best effort I've yet seen of turning a Pacific-Northwest "sleet-blizzard" into a hot day at the beach- all with the power of imagination.  Their son, bless his heart, was doing an amazing job of playing along.  He imagined the bitter cold was actually warmth, and the blustery wind was actually crashing waves.

But everyone has a breaking point.

Needless to say, I am amazed that we even got the two pictures we did (see below) before they, out of an understandable concern for their children's fingers and toes, asked me if we could just leave the park and try something indoors.  I wasn't about to argue with them.  Even my stubborn photographer's optimism was waning, and no Photoshop editing can turn a frozen and tear-stained grimace into a smile.  So, for the first time in the history of my photographic career, we stopped the session and went home.  To be honest, it felt so good getting back into the car.  We had been at the park for an admittedly miserable 10 minutes...

Once we had come to our senses and our eyes, noses, and fingers were thawing out on the drive home, I began to formulate plan B.  Though I haven't done it for a family shoot in years, I pulled out my backdrop stands and backdrops, along with my photo lights, and started setting up a portrait studio in my living room.  (The blessing, of course, was that the weather conditions in my living room were much more controlled than the craziness outside.)

The rest, as you can see below, turned out swimmingly.  We had warm, serene, and sweet family photos with happy children and parents, and not a single incidence of frostbite!  The real kicker was that about an hour later, the sun came out, the wind stopped, the sky was blue, and it looked like June outside.  All I could do was shake my head.  I guess the Medawars were meant to have a mostly-indoor session!  And considering how our shoot began, I was beyond grateful for the way it all turned out!  Take a look through the photos below and see for yourself.  It's *almost* like we planned it this way!  ;)

Look  at these two!  Quite the dynamic little duo.  :)

I just love that Mother-Daughter tenderness.

So there you have it, dear readers!  We started out with lemons and came out with lemonade.  Let's hope I never misjudge the bad-weather risk so completely again!  I want to extend a big thank you to the Medawar family for being so flexible and good-natured, and for being such an adorable family for me to photograph!

Until next time,
~ Kathryn