Welcome to the new home of Englishphoto.com and my online journal
Jan 16, 2019 | By: Allison English Watkins
It's so exciting to have finally have a new home for my blog that feels like a long term relationship I can grow with. The return to a regularly schedule blog in 2019 is exciting and a good way to tell the universe where I am going and what I want in my life. So I invite anybody reading this to stick around and enjoy the ride with me because occasionally I amuse myself and say something that matters.
Let's begin with a big lesson learned at the end of 2018 while creating my own family portrait, not just my fabulous 5, but the whole English gang. Even the pros have all their best laid plans fall to pieces, and being a pro is knowing how to pick up those pieces and create something from it. For over a year, I have been planning this new family portrait to be created over Thanksgiving while the whole family was together on vacation in Southern Utah. The logistics were just as complicated than if I wasn't an actual photographer myself.
First phone call was to my best friends a fellow pro Heather Cook who lives in the area. (We photographers should all know by now, DON"T try to create your own family photo unless you want everyone you love to see the worst version of yourself!) Lucky for me, Heather lives in the area and new exactly what I wanted and was familiar with the area. Next we had to deal with the permit to access and photograph on the land. YES! State parks require reservations and charge money for the use to photograph in them. Several months in advance we successfully made our reservations and paid our fees. Clothing was the next hurdle for an extended family spread all over the state. Originally I created the mood board below and emailed it around, but as you can see it morphed a bit by the finish. Creating these boards is something I do for most of my extended family groupings and it has HUGE impact in helping all the different family members see where we are trying to go with clothes. The day of the actual photo session was just a chore to get 14 people clean and dressed with only 1 water heater and 2.5 bathrooms.
Now this is where things go from good to not so good. By the time we arrived at our location the temperature was 45 degrees and the wind was easily 40 miles and hour. I was totally and completely unprepared for crazy wind and cold and I let that get the better of my attitude. The RIGHT thing would have been to embrace mother nature and the special mood she provided and have confidence in the professional (Heather) but instead I was frustrated that everybody was miserably cold. As we were posing for my family of 5 on the edge of a cliff, the wind was chilling us to the bone and my hair was all over the place. But instead of accepting mother natures gifts my insides were dying.... actually just freezing. I was feeling defeated and realized if we were going to get any kind of extended family portrait it was time to let go of my expectations of what I had envisioned and embrace reality.
The family spent the best lighting moments scrambling down from the windy cliffs in their dressy shoes to find a new location slightly hidden from the wind. The good news about photographing people in the cold is they cooperate quickly so that they can be finished faster. Despite everyones discomfort Heather brought out our smiles and made us look good because that's what a true professional does. The best decision I made was to let another pro take control because otherwise my family might not have let me back in the car afterwards.
Lessons learned- 1. Hire a pro 2. Trust that pro 3. Embrace mother nature because you can't fight her, you'll never win.