Sean, Colleen & Ethan (Orange County Family Portraits)

A friend was kind enough to lend us the backyard of her Pelican Hill home for Colleen's family portrait session... and I was in heaven. It was such a fun little playground for us all: outdoor fireplace, lush lawns, desert scape, and even a view of the ocean. But when it came down to it, the setting didn't even matter. Because these are more than just pretty pictures... these are family portraits. We laughed, we played, and they allowed me to see a glimpse of the REAL connections between them all... and that beauty outshines the scenery any day.

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I wanted to be sure and capture a few solo pictures of Ethan, so we headed off on our own for a few minutes. This seems to work every time (especially for kids around this age)... while in front of their parents they might be cracking jokes and making all kinds of crazy faces, but separate the kiddos from the crowd and there's no longer that need to "perform." Ethan and I were able to hang out for a few minutes away from Colleen & Sean, and I even let Ethan pick the spot he wanted to use for his pictures. (I've found that if I let kids have a bit of control within the situation, they are that much more cooperative with the rest of the session.) He loved those crazy-looking plants on the right, so I was sure to capture a shot or two there for him.

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Next up, it was Sean & Colleen's turn. Because even though this was a "family shoot," the relationship between Sean and Colleen should be celebrated separately, as well. And knowing that if I even mentioned the word "kiss" around Ethan he'd start making gagging sounds, I set him up on a table nearby with some paper and markers so that he would have a project to focus on, and he dove right in with creating a Christmas Card. This guaranteed me the necessary  "alone time" with the adults.

Curling up together in one of the cozy pod chairs, Sean and Colleen were granted a little space and time to be with just each other. With John Mayer crooning in the background and the sun starting to set, it was definitely a wonderful moment. I offered minimal directions here & there and just let the two of them be. Their personalities and connection unfurled before me, and I was happy to have been able to capture this for them.

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With the kisses done for the moment, it was safe for Ethan to join them once more for a few final family shots.

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If you'd like to see even more from their session, click here for a video slideshow of their session.

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While I'm not holding any more photo sessions this year, you can book your 2012 session before the end of 2011 and get this year's fantastic rates. And because I'm feeling uber-generous, you'll also get a bonus 10"x20" storyboard print! Just contact me at michelle@thesuitcasestudio.com to let me know you're ready to save your date.