I (like some of you) identify myself as a family photographer, but what does that mean?
Like “street photography,” “travel photography,” “portrait photography,” etc, it probably means different things to different people.
If someone identifies you as a portrait photographer, they might assume that because you shoot studio portraits, that you also shoot environmental portraits. If someone sees your travel photography in Instagram, they may assume you also shoot lifestyle photography which may or may not be true.
For me, family photography means the challenges of whatever my family life throws at me as a photographer. Sometimes it means that I am:
- a photojournalist trying to stay unseen and capture key moments of an event.
- a sports photographer at kids soccer, rock climbing, or cross country.
- an event photographer being pulling 99 different directions trying to capture every moment and/or every kid at the event.
- a portrait photographer trying to get a good smile out of our own kid or trying to get a group of kids looking all at the same direction (think herding cats).
- an (awards) ceremony photographer — you know. That person who has to capture every person walking across a stage. I don’t know what to call them.
- a product photographer trying to capture the newest creation from my kids.
- a travel photographer trying to get the essence of a place while keeping track of our kids and trying to capture those fleeting moments.
- your spouse’s lifestyle photographer
And all while trying to participate and parent.
Does this mean that I need to be a jack of all/many trades? No. More like trying to make the best of what I know and what I have available. That means making peace with:
- not being able to move the subject to better lighting or setting up a flash
- not having a tripod with me all the time
- not having the opportunity to reshoot
- not having that gorgeous, giant, expensive 70-200 f/2.8 and full frame workhorse
In the end, my shots may not be comparable to a professionals, but darn it. They may be the nicest darn shots of a LEGO riding an origami swan in the palm of a kid’s hand that you have ever seen! (Just ignore the imperfect lighting and background.)