This year, family sessions have been looking a little different.
In the past, the family units I’ve had in front of my camera have included just the people living in the same house together. Parents, their kids, and maybe a grandparent on occasion.
This year, though?
Almost every family session has had a much bigger group – 10-15 people, instead of 4 or 5. It’s families coming together after more than a year and a half apart, happier than ever to see one another, and wanting to capture some memories together. And I friggin’ love it!
Last spring, photographers started talking about “reunion sessions,” and I couldn’t think of a more perfect way to describe this year’s trend 🥰
Here are some of my favourite moments from a session with Maddie and her family in Port Stanley, with a little about their story from Maddie’s perspective!
What is your favourite thing about coming together as a family?
My favourite thing about coming together as a family is the jokes & laughter that ensues! Coming from a Quebec-French family, we’re sure to laugh the loudest when we’re all together.
Why did you decide to get family photos done?
After spending so much time apart over the last year and a half, I think we all felt like we needed more memories captured together. Over the years, even when we’re together, we never document it in the moment! Our last family photos were done before our youngest in the family was born nearly 5 years ago, and we thought it was important to have these incredible photos to cherish forever.
What have your parents or grandparents taught you about life?
I think my grandparents have taught me to not take life for granted, both of them have had their struggles with cancer over the last decade and were lucky enough to come out the other side, but I think they definitely gained a new outlook that they’ve shared. There’s always so much that I’m learning from them, my grandma grew up in Quebec and my grandpa in Newfoundland and their lives are so incredibly different, I think that even the dynamic of their relationship is a lot to take in about life in general. They’ve got quite a wild story, I think it’s taught me that life is what you make it.
What is a family favourite activity?
Sometimes the favourite family activity is the simplest thing: sitting in grandma’s basement, crammed together and fighting over the limited Wii remotes. We laugh, we talk, we share the wild stories we’ve had in the time we’ve been apart, and we argue over who’s turn it is to race in Mario Kart.
What kind of food is a family favourite?
For most occasions, we do the classic turkey and mashed potatoes dinner, and I think that has become everyone’s favourite just through tradition and knowing that meal comes with being with your family.
What brought you together for your family session? Was there a special occasion you were celebrating?
No special occasion, just that desire to capture more memories. As the oldest children are growing up, we feel it’s more important now more than ever that we document these years we are so lucky to share with one another.
How do you prioritize family time in a busy world?
Most of the time, we don’t! We spend most of our family time together during holidays and special occasions! I think just the years of growing up in such a close family makes it feel easy to prioritize being together during those times. It feels natural to put our work down and come together to celebrate.
What’s the funniest or most amazing thing someone in your family has done recently?
I’m throwing it back to Thanksgiving 2020 here, but it’s definitely a stand-out moment in our family. We were staying at a little resort in Muskoka where we all stayed in cabins next to each other. On the last night of the trip, (almost!) all of us piled in to one of the cabins to watch Friday the 13th, surrounded by windows showing us nothing but Muskoka’s dark landscape. I remember our oldest cousin was laying on the floor in front of the TV, but also right next to the big windows. I thought it would be funny to text my mom (who was at the other cabin) to sneak over outside the window and give him a good scare. What I didn’t think about, was that everyone else would get quite the fright when my mom suddenly popped up in the window out of nowhere. My favourite moment has to be watching my entire family get a major spook right at an intense part in the movie, all while being in on the joke.
With an unlimited budget, where would your dream family vacation be?
For me, my dream vacation for our family vacation would definitely be Universal Studios (specifically Harry Potter World!) or Disney World. I know that doing some sort of European trip would be absolutely incredible, but I think our family would crack the most jokes and have the most fun at some sort of theme park!
What was your favourite part of your family session?
My favourite part of our family session was just that we were all together at the beach. I’ve lived 20 years and never have I been to the beach with everyone I love there with me! The beach is my favourite place to be, so spending that little bit of time down by the water with everyone smiling and dressed up was a lot of fun. It was such an easy experience, I absolutely loved it!
What advice would you give to families looking to organize a family session like yours?
I would say: do it. You will never look back at these photos and regret them. You never know how much you wish you had more photos with your family until someone is gone and you’ll never get that opportunity. You never know how fast someone you love can be taken from you! Take the chance to get those memories captured now! Make the investment because these are photos you’ll have forever, and it’s so worth it! Sandra was the easiest person to work with, she always made everyone feel incredibly comfortable and at ease!