I love being a family photographer, but more specifically, I love being a Charleston family photographer. This career (and being in Charleston) has allowed the opportunity to meet some of the most wonderfully diverse families (I say that with no bias, of course).
Take Derek and Shasta Grotewiel for example — a couple who had their family photos done with me at Hampton Park, a beautiful public park, one of Charleston’s biggest and most colorful parks.
While they’ve had a history in quite a few other towns, they decided to eventually settle in Summerville, just 15 minutes outside of Charleston. And I was lucky enough to shoot their seventh year anniversary at the iconic Hampton Park, which provides a magical backdrop for family photos.
Derek is an insurance agent and Shasta is a pharmacist. They met in school at the University of Missouri, got married, and started their family in Summerville, South Carolina. Fun fact — that is also my hometown!
They found me when researching for Charleston family photographers, and we instantly connected. I was ecstatic because as they explained their concept, they told me they also wanted their (adorable) kids included in their anniversary shoot. This would be a celebration of the life they’ve created together in their seventh year of marriage.
The theme they requested was happy, loving, fun family photos. And that’s partly why they had chosen me as their family photographer — it’s my mission to capture the personalities of families.
I had the idea in my head that Hampton Park would be great for the family because of the natural trails and newly blooming flowers would enhance the emotions they were striving for.
In our pre-family-photoshoot consultation, they told me that their kids, especially Zadik, might have some trouble staying focused.
Whenever I have a family photoshoot, I arrive with the mindset of knowing these photos are meaningful to the client I’m shooting for. And I know that the one hour we have has the opportunity to result in precious family keepsakes.
With that in mind, I strive to do everything I can to roll with the punches. This actually makes it more fun for me because no shoot is ever the same!
So, when the day came, I was fully prepared for some tears or little toddler chases (a very common occurrence with two-year-olds, I might add!), especially because there’s a lot to see at Hampton Park. But Zadik loved the park so much and was totally in the zone!
In fact, the only distraction was Zadik’s interest in the statue of Denmark Vesey in the middle of Hampton Park. It was great because we captured some genuine moments where he’s wide-eyed and curious — traits that make Zadik, totally Zadik.
Don’t be fooled by the sunny, dreamy edits on these photos, though. It was unseasonably cold for the beginning of March in Charleston.
Nature can bring a lot of complications to photoshoots — I’ve had plenty of lessons with that over my years as a family photographer. But a little tip for any aspiring family or portrait photographer: instead of letting the elements ruin your photoshoot, let it inspire you to think outside of the box with props!
I didn’t want the kids to feel uncomfortably cold, of course, so during the preparation stage, the temperatures forced me to think of ways I could keep them warm (and hence, focused!). But also, maybe there was a way to creatively integrate whatever we use into the photoshoot.
We ended up putting them in a little red wagon, overflowing with fluffy white blankets to match their magical forest theme. And, of course, to keep the kids warm while we walked through Hampton Park for scenery changes.
I think Ryker’s fairy-like portraits ended up fitting the theme beautifully! And since she’s five years old, she fully understood what was going on, and really played it up for the camera. She was a true gem!
When it came to the parents, the additional hand-warmers I had packed for the shoot didn’t save Shasta’s toes from getting frozen, unfortunately. But that didn’t hide her and Derek’s chemistry one bit.
Their love and admiration for each other and their family was completely evident in their photos — it was almost like shooting a newly engaged couple because of all the giddy energy. And that’s something you can’t do in post-processing.
You can check out some of my favorite photos of the Grotewiel family’s photoshoot at Hampton Park, Charleston by clicking here. And if you want to set up a consultation to find out more about how I can help capture your family’s special memories, be sure to visit my details page.