I have known the Marsh Joseph family for several years, though our last photo session together was back in 2011, when their eldest daughter, Aven, was one year old. When little sister Taia joined their household, parents, Abby and Jeremy, decided it was time to renovate their family snapshots and provide Grandma Marilyn with some new images to hang up on the walls in her Arizona home.
As a family photographer, my work is often sent out to thousands of mail boxes during the holiday card season, gifted to friends and family on birthdays and special occasions, but I rarely get to hear about exactly where the portraits wind up in the world. Grandma Marilyn would of course be an exception to that statement.
For readers who aren’t familiar with my family photography process, I tend to guide families through three simple steps: a photoshoot prep session (to discuss goals/ location/ particulars), the photo session itself, and a viewing session to see the edited images and create the photo artwork itself. Well, this family of four introduced me to a fifth member: Grandma Marilyn, loving matriarch and long-distance fan of Julie Kubal Photography.
When it came time for the Marsh Joseph family to sit down for their viewing session, it just so happened that Marilyn was in town for a visit with her grandkids. That meant that we were lucky enough to sit down together and hatch up some new ideas for displaying photographs in her home. Based on her input and my guidance, Marilyn decided to create two different wall displays and to select images for a gift album. Once Marilyn’s home and photo art was squared away, I worked with Abby and Jeremy to select images for their offices, holiday cards, and other gifts.
It’s wonderful to see a family get so much mileage out of a single photoshoot, and it just goes to show that there really is a huge return on a single investment when you choose to work with a professional family photographer. Most parents I know take lots and lots of snapshots of their children, but flipping through the files they soon realize that the number of decent images is small enough to count on one hand. Whereas when I work with a family, our viewing session is filled with dozens of print-worthy portraits that are just begging to be put on display. And yes, narrowing down the selection is a challenge for both parties, but it’s a testament to what can be done in a single photo session when you work with a professional.
On the day of the session, Abby, Jeremy, Aven, and Taia met me bright and early in their backyard and came ready to get down to work. Mom did a phenomenal job coordinating the family’s wardrobe with blue and pink hues that echoed across everyone’s outfits. And Jeremy cultivated a beautiful garden that is lush with springtime life and makes for a lovely, natural backdrop. Their yard served as the setting for our previous photoshoot and as I flipped through the edited files on my computer I couldn’t help be recognize the similarities that we’d unwittingly created. I captured a lot of images of Taia that are very similar to those I took of Aven many years ago, and in fact have this great pair of images, one of Aven sitting on Jeremy’s shoulders from before and a near identical one of Taia and Jeremy from this time around. It’s happy accidents like Aven and Taia striking the same pose that make me pause and remember why I love doing what I do – oh, and sitting on the couch with Grandma Marilyn was pretty wonderful as well.