Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone!

A couple weeks ago, I mentioned that I had a fun surprise involving our family portrait planned for Christmas Eve dinner.  As I had said, this is the first Christmas that Jen and I have been together with our family since 1998 (!!!!!). It’s also been forever since we had a family portrait – probably my sister’s wedding.  For Jen and I, forever since we had even had a nice photo of ourselves.  I’m sure it’s been a long time since my Uncle Perry has had a great portrait made of him, too.  In November, I wrote a Thanks, especially to my parents, and pledged to make a portrait of my mum to go with the portrait I made of my dad in the summer.  That’s a lot of un-portraits in our family and a state we decided to change.  I will share some more of the portraits we created in follow-up post soon, but for now, I just want to talk about about this full family portrait experience.

Over the last couple of months, I have been dying to experiment with a technique of creating a beautiful family portrait of large, extended families or groups.  One of the most challenging portraits to create is a great family portrait with many, many people.  Just think about the logistics of getting a large family together in one place at the same time – with everyone able to attend, in good health, well rested (think about those younger children and elder matriarchs and patriarchs). At my cousin’s wedding this past June, I had hoped that all of the Houlden family would be able to renew our family portrait, but not all of the family could attend for various reasons.  Now, if you’ve managed to get the family in one place, imagine the challenge of having everyone looking at the camera, with great expressions and eyes open – at the same moment.  Okay, and now, imagine the logistics involved in putting such a large group together in front of a great background, and lighting it evenly and pleasingly.

Phew.  I’m getting exhausted already!

So, to be able to say “Absolutely, Mrs Smith, we can do that!” with eagerness and enthusiasm, we’ve been working on a way to put a family portrait together that addresses all of these concerns.  The portrait of my family above is our small scale “proof of concept”.  (Click on the image to see it bigger – it looks awesome big!)  I’m very excited to report that this was a resounding success.  All of the groupings in this portrait were created at different times through our Christmas Eve dinner and put together after the fact.

Is this technique overkill for a family group this size?  Perhaps, however this technique can be used on families or groups of limitless size and location.  What if your family is scattered around the province (or country for that matter!)?  Or if Grandma or Grandpa are living in an assisted living home and can’t attend the family gathering?  How about if the cousins are off backpacking through Europe?  We can put together a fabulous portrait by creating individual portraits on different dates and even in different locations by taking the studio on the road.

As you head out for the weekend to celebrate New Year’s I would like to wish you all a very happy, prosperous and resourceful New Year from the Houldens, Corkings and Vurmas….