I looked down at my phone as it vibrated and lit up on the table in front of me.
It had not even been 30 minutes since my friend Alexis and the rest of her family had left my studio after their extended family session. So, I picked up my phone, looked closer, and instantly smiled from ear to ear.
Alexis had sent me a picture of her family sharing a meal around a Mi Cocina dinner table, laughing at her dad as he made the most ridiculous face. Followed by this text…
“Because of you! My dad had tears in his eyes talking about how much fun that was”
Studio Extended Family Photos
Just an hour before, the Stokes family rolled into my studio with 7 people and not one, not two, but THREE dogs. It was nothing short of a three ring circus trying to get all 10 of them to smile, but I fully accepted the challenge. We bribed with cheese (the dogs, not the adults… although I wasn’t above it if the need arose 😉 ), cracked jokes, and if you were Tom Stokes… made silly faces.
I absolutely loved the lightheartedness of the session. The joy in this family was so clearly evident, their love for one another on full display.
What you won’t be able to tell by the pictures or even by the description I gave you of our time together… is that Alexis’s dad was recently diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma and will need to start chemotherapy in the coming weeks.
While the oncologist is hopeful and has had success with other stage 4 melanoma patients achieving remission after treatment, cancer is still scary. Chemo is scary. The thought of losing your husband, father, grandfather is scary. But it’s why receiving that picture and text message from Alexis after our session brought me so much joy…
Life is busy and life is fleeting. Coordinating schedules to get everyone together took work, but I am certain if you asked any family member in these photos they would say it was 100% worth it.
I am praying that this isn’t the last time I get to photograph Alexis and Alicia with their father, Charlotte with her husband, or Alyson and Jillian with their grandfather. But regardless of the outcome of chemo, not only will the Stokes have beautiful images of everyone together but the memory of a true family outing to cherish for a lifetime.
Sessions like this are such a good reminder of how special and how important photographing families is. I am so thankful the Lord put photography on my heart. What a sweet way to love and serve His creation.
…and you can call me Amanda the dog whisperer, because ALL THREE DOGS are not only looking… they. are. smiling. WOOO HOOO!!
Want to see another extended family session? Click here to view the Mann family’s extended family photos.