When Reality Beats Expectation. / by Emily Ellis

Each time I turn up to shoot a family session I have darn expectations. They’re usually sky high because I adore the people I’m about to photograph. On Saturday, after a long day of parenting I was totally wrecked. I turned up at the Strahorn’s wonderful farm exhausted. I found poor Conrad (dad) sick and alas my photography skills don’t extend to wizardry and I couldn’t move the sun out from behind a big grey storm cloud. I know their place has the most amazing golden hour because I’ve seen it. I pictured images of sparkling grass and light streaming through Kate (mum) and Zoe’s golden hair.

I learned again that expectations of how things will look are never as important as the truth. The truth is always better. I spent an hour with them pottering around their place. I have so many pictures for them. They are the most generous people. I didn’t get any of that hazy light I’m always after but I hope I got something better, their relationships. I'm still learning to become technically proficient with my new camera. In truth, I love the imperfections, the blur and the grain remind me of my teenage years in the darkroom.

It's the people part I love most. I feel as if all my senses are heightened. I wait and pretend I’m not interested when I’m keenly interested in the way parents look at their children. Every emotion from anger to joy will be reflected in mum and dad’s expression. It’s biology, it’s involuntary, and so genuine. The kids are the best - specialists at living in the moment. And the doggies! I’ve almost always had animals in my family shoots. Captain the labradoodle and dear old Slim (one of Conrad’s retired working dogs) just add to all the feels.

So, here’s to learning and all the real spaces in between people. And to photographs that save forever the way we love our children. The mad, all-consuming, oft times infuriating love. The stuff we hope will carry them through a life time and (just maybe) even after we’re gone.

Em xx