Adria Peaden Photographer » Adria is a photographer starting out in Panama City, FL. Read about her adventure starting a new business.

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Location: Seaside, FL

Taking family photos on the amazing white sandy beaches of north west Florida is a tough job.  I mean I get to play with kids and make them laugh.  Several weeks later I get to make mom and dad smile with all the beautiful pictures they see.  What more can I ask for?

This family came with plenty of giggles and one more little man.  I have taken their pictures before and they just keep adding sweet little boys.

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Location:  Oaks by the Bay | St. Andrews | Panama City, FL
Session Type: Snapshot

The older your kids get the harder it is to convince them to take a nice photo.  Asking for smiles usually means a little eye roll at the portrait process.

The beauty of the documentary family style is we don’t ask them to do anything really.  Maybe for 10 minutes or so we ask for a quick look at the camera.  Really though, we just want people to be themselves.

Bringing something personal to a session like a puppy makes for great natural and real pictures.

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You can tell so much about this pair of sister’s relationship from this picture.

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The win best shoes for family pictures.  Look at those galaxy kicks.

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1, 2, 3, 4…I declare thumb war.

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Panama City Beach Family Photo

Spending time at the beach should be more then just a pretty picture.  The sand is gritty and the waves are salty.  Let’s remember how it felt to wipe that grainy sand off those baby’s feet.  Keep in your memories how it was to worry over your littles as they played in the waves.  Don’t let your pictures on the beach just be about the sunset and smiles.

As a documentary family photographer I aim to get pictures of your real family.  I don’t want the dress up “cheese smiles” versions of yourselves.  I want the play in the sand and waves family.  Maybe you come in swimsuits or maybe you come in plain clothes but at least you play.  We can still have wonderful frameable portraits even if the focus of your family photography session is play.

Take this family of 6 for example.  We met at a park type location in St. Andrews State Park in Panama City Beach, FL.  After getting those beautiful portraits I asked them to meet me on the beach.  It was around 10 am and that is not typically an ideal time of day for most photographers.  For me though any time of day is a good time to take pictures.  I care more about the action and interaction going on in the picture more then the time of day.  In fact I would prefer it not be the “golden hour” during our session.  The “golden hour” is an hour before sunset and the light is a golden hue due to the setting sun.  I would prefer the harsh light of the sun during the day.  It offers more contrast and emotion in our portraits.

I also prefer the realness of a session during the day.  You are more likely to go about your normal activities.  If you are on the beach you will have a normal beach day:  play in the sand, fly a kite, make a sandcastle, splash in the waves, use a snorkel, get on a boogie board, lay under an umbrella or chase kids.  This is what I want to capture for your family.

Here is a beautiful example of a 1 hour Snapshot session from Adria Peaden Photography.

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Location:  Camp Helen State Park

Warm weather is on the way so I am dreaming of days in the sand and sun. Look out this year for my families to play and relax in the sand.  I will be showcasing those families who truly let me document their time at the beach and are brave enough to be real.

I am looking for families who want to play at the beach.  Grab a football to play catch.  Get a kite to catch the sea breeze.   Have a picnic before getting in the waves.  Let me show your real beach vibes.

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So many things coming up for Panama City Beach.  I am going to be giving 3-4 families a chance for truly beautiful pictures this 2017.  I will document your year in several types of sessions.  More details coming soon on how to apply.

Take a different approach to your family beach pictures - Find a documentary family photography/>
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What will my documentary family session be like?  Part I

I have started to mention that I am planning on exclusively offering documentary style photography sessions for 2017 on.  There is a piece of me that feels like I need to explain what this would mean for my potential client.   The expectation of a client and my artistic eye need to mesh in order for this type of session to work.  This blog post series will answer some very popular questions from clients on this subject.

#1 Will I still have portraits?

Yes….but let’s change your idea behind what a portrait is.  Go way back to the beginning of camera history.  The first cameras required the subject to sit still for a long period of time while the camera exposed a picture onto a plate.  The resulting portrait had people with very little expression and a boring pose.  Fast forward to the studio photography days in Sears or Olan Mills.  Now we have backdrops and flashes but we are still posing in a single pose maybe now we have smiles.  So we have a generation of people who are used to those posed pictures and they have left that imprint on us.

There is nothing wrong with a smiley family looking at the camera.  I feel like there is a time, place and photographer for that simple beautiful portrait.  What I am saying is there is another spectrum to the portrait I want you to explore.

Consider your child laughing, crying, bored, confused, concentrating….insert any emotion.  Remember their face during those times?  Wouldn’t you love a picture of that moment?  As mom, dad, grandparents, aunts and uncles it is so hard to sometimes capture that moment because we have trained our kids to smile and look at the camera, or worse yet say “Cheese”.  That is where I come in.  You may not know it yet, but those emotions are what you crave to see in your kids.  Those emotions are what make them tiny humans.  I want to have those emotions framed or in an album to keep forever.

These emotional portraits are what I will offer during a documentary family session.

Panama City Beach Family Photographer 2You remember how I said for this to work we have to mesh, well here is your chance to give it a shot.  How do you feel about these portraits?
Seaside Family Photographer 1I for one have a reaction to each and every one of them.  Some of them have my kids in them but most of them do not and I still react.
Panama City Beach Family Photographer 1Does this next one make you want to hear her giggle as she slides?  Yes!!!! Great we are getting there together.

Panama City Family Photographer 1This environmental portrait of this little boy is frameable.  What if he was smiling at the camera?  Would you get the same reaction from this picture?  I think not and I feel like this type of portrait is stronger.

Panama City Family Photographer 2How adorable is this little man.  What is he thinking?  Is this the face mom always sees when he is just about to be in trouble.  I would frame it….would you?

Portrait Photographer Panama City 1She is for sure an old soul.  Maybe the sea calls to her.  Somewhere between child and teenager she wants to find her place in the world.

Portrait Photographer Panama City 2

A portrait is so much more then smiles and eye contact.  I repeat that beautiful simple portraits aren’t bad and I in fact spend about 10-15 minutes of my hour session catching those classic stills.  The rest of my time is spent getting more raw with your family.  There is no pressure for your husbands, your kids or yourself to be or act a certain way.  Just be yourself.  Give it a chance.

If you are interested in more information on a 1 hour family session please email info@adriapeaden.com.  Celebrating this new style I will be giving away sessions until the end of the year.  To be in on the announcements signup for my newsletter.

Panama City Documentary family photographer - portraits do not always have to be smiles at the camera
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  • Diamond NYC - March 9, 2017 - 6:18 am

    Wonderful work.. Yes, giving an emotional touch to portrait is always remembered by the family and it looks more beautiful than an unnatural smile.