Late last autumn, I had the absolute pleasure of taking family portraits for fellow photographer, Matt (Matthew Owen Photography). I had first met Matt on Aspire's Bespoke Photography Training Course, where we studied together for 12 months, and I was instantly impressed by his passion for his craft, and his stunning photographic style. It was an honour when he asked me to take his family portraits, and he freely admitted that he and his wife hadn't had any photos taken together as a family since their wedding day 10 years earlier! Now, Matt lives in Stoke-on-Trent, so getting together for this wasn't going to be straight forward. However, I was heading to the Lake District for a holiday with my family, and so we made a stop on the way home. Seeing the logistics fall into place, I was very excited to be able to ask Matt if he would do the honour in taking our family portraits as well!
Given the time of year (mid-October), the weather was unpredictable and we had to play it all by ear, but on the day, it was fantastic! Our families had never met, so we spent the first while chatting and getting to know one another. In true 'Matthew Owen Photography' style, Matt had set up a few craft activities that we could do together, for the shoot. First, it was decorating gingerbread men! I did this with Zac, my eldest, while Matt photographed us. Then Matt and his son, Sam, decorated theirs, while I photographed. Matt's daughter, Molly, also got involved, and a lot of fun was had by all!
We then went for a walk in a nearby woodland location. Taking it in turns, we photographed each other making paper boats, which we were planning on sailing later. There were some gorgeous locations here too, so Matt and I worked together to get some timeless family portraits for each other. This actually worked really well with the limited attention spans of our respective young children, and they loved being able to run around and play with each other in between portraits.
Next, we were on the way to find the stream! We were all excited to see how our boats would sail, although it was getting a little bit late in the afternoon. We reached the stream soon after, and took it in turns to race our boats, which was so much fun! Unfortunately the light was fading quickly by this point, so we didn't have as long here as we'd hoped, so we decided to call it a day and get back to the cars. Luckily, I had booked a hotel nearby for the night, so we didn't have too far to travel that evening.
I'd forgotten my coat at Matt's house before going to the shoot, so we had to pop by before our journey back to Kent. The heavens had opened and it was torrential downpour when we left the hotel. However, when we arrived at Matt's the rain had cleared and it was beautiful sunshine again. Excited by how well the previous day had gone, and wanting to make the most of the opportunity, both Matt and I were keen to get 'just a couple more shots' of each other's families, so we all drove to another location and were able to get some gorgeous portraits to add to our collections. However, we finally had to call it a day, and my family and I had to start the journey back home. It was a real pleasure to meet Matt's wife and children, after having known him professionally for so long. They are such a wonderful family and you can clearly see the love that they share. It was also really lovely to see how well our kids got on - Zac was asking to play with Sam and Molly for ages afterwards, and he still does sometimes!
It was great to work collaboratively with Matt, as well as to be photographed by him. The portraits of my family that he produced were stunning, and we love them all. Likewise, I am very pleased with the portraits that I captured of his family, and know that this 'photographic extravaganza' was a success!