What You Miss in a Magazine Cover

Heading to last night's family shoot for the new cover of The Water's Edge, I realized that my photos have now appeared on a full year of the magazine's covers. By shooting these family feature assignments, I've met some of my neighbors while spreading the word about my business.

I'm grateful for the exposure from these covers, but I wonder if they might mislead readers about what to expect from a family session with me. In each feature session, I get the image The Water's Edge requires, but I also do much more.

The cover format requires a vertical color photo with room for the magazine's masthead and other information. Thus far, the editors have selected only cover images that show the entire family. While I certainly do those shots in any family session, that's not all I do.

Here are the original images used for each cover, as well as another favorite of mine from that session. My favorites tend to be more interactive, emotive, and personal than what ends up on a cover.










At every family session, I always get the posed family shot. Most clients expect one, and many select that image for a holiday card or photo gift for a family member. Once we have that shot, I quickly move into the photos that make my heart sing--those of families at ease with themselves and one another that show who they really are.

You'll have to wait to see the cover photo from last night's shoot, but I am confident that this one--a personal favorite showing a candid moment among three sisters--will not be it.

In Her Shoes

A photography project can not only improve your photography, it can change the way you think.

As part of a class I recently completed at RISD, I spent six weeks on a final project. I wanted to do a thematic portrait project, but I hesitated to schedule multiple portrait sessions in a brief busy period. As all the great artists do, I brainstormed ideas with my children while driving my minivan.

Luckily for me, my creative kids had some fantastic ideas. I settled on a portrait project that required no scheduling, offered the opportunity for multiple re-shoots, and spurred me to be creative. Best of all, I created an opportunity to work with one of my favorite people--my daughter, who turned nine during the project.

The concept was hers. The idea to keep it within the family was mine. 

In Her Shoes is our version of role reversal. Children want to grow up, but they rarely appreciate the responsibilities of adulthood. Adults often forget the joy and utter abandon of childhood. We sought to show this by spending time in each other's shoes.

I easily identified "things adults do," but tapping into my inner child was more challenging. My initial ideas for self-portraits were things I remembered doing as a kid or recently had seen my own children do. Over time, however, I actually began to think as a child might think, creatively and outside my usual norm. My vibrant autumn Japanese maple wasn't just a subject to photograph; it was a tree to climb. A cardboard box wasn't for shipping or recycling; it was a toy.

I  looked at the world differently, and my children looked differently at me. It was satisfying to bring images in my head to life, but it was more satisfying when my kids returned home from school, looked at the day's photos, and said, "You did that?!"

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Click the image below to view our book, In Her Shoes. Scroll down in the resulting new window to see each page.