When Bob called me to set up a portrait session for his family I knew instantly that I was going to love these people. First of all, he was gifting the session to his wife, Kimberly, who was going to be celebrating a birthday while on their family vacation at Wrightsville Beach. Also, it was very clear that absolutely adored her and their daughter Olivia. He talked about his wife as though they were high school sweet hearts. And to top it off, both of their families come together for a big family vacation every year. They love spending quality time together. And for good reason. This special group of humans are energetic, fun, and absolutely hysterical.
Their positive outlook, love for each other, and desire to find joy in everything helped make their vacation the best time, despite Hurricane Maria churning away just off the coast. It was an exciting week to be at the beach for sure. The winds were high, the ocean was rough, and the sky was dark but all we needed was smiling faces, laughter, and a few good jokes to make this a successful and entertaining family session.
Once Bob told Kimberly about their portrait session, she and I began the email chain discussing what to wear, location, and all the ideas involved in a portrait session. I mentioned that it would be fun to “pre-game,” if you will, with snacks, a bit of wine, and some family time before the shoot. Not only does it allow me the time to get to know the other family members but everyone begins to feel more relaxed with me before they only see the camera in front of my face. So we ate and drank and I took more candid photos while everyone told their best joke. It’s because of this night that I now have two jokes in my joke bag. I’m still working on delivery but ask me next time you see me.
Olivia loves dressing up especially when it comes to accessories. Her grandmother bought her that adorable denim jacket she’s wearing in the photos above. Fortunately we were able to pry her away for a couple of photos of this sweet little dress from grandma too. But in all seriousness, who cares what you’re wearing when you have a smile like this?! She is all joy!
As we walked down to Johnny Mercer’s Pier I followed behind to get some photos of everyone walking together. But then my focus shifted to these love birds, walking hand-in-hand down the beach watching their children and grandchild walk ahead of them. They could not have been more proud of their family or more happy in that moment.
I would like to thank the Mello-Hite family for including me in a small part of your vacation. And for trusting me with my ideas. I look forward to seeing you all again soon!
And if you are planning a family vacation to the beach, seriously consider hiring a professional photographer. Make an event of it, have some fun! Quality time with family and friends is what makes this life so beautiful. I’m not saying don’t take photos with your phone or your own camera, but consider having photos where EVERYONE is included. It’s worth the investment when you can be present with your own family and truly enjoy your time with them without distraction.