I love any excuse to celebrate: anniversaries, promotions, random Monday evenings. But birthdays, by far, are one of my favorite things to celebrate. So, when Jeannie asked if I could document her mother's family birthday party when I was in Portland, OR last fall, I was ecstatic!
Since they hadn't gotten photos with the whole family together in quite a long time, we started the gorgeous sunlit evening with some group portraits out in front of the house - first with just Sue and her daughters, then with spouses as well. Not only did their outfit colors all coordinate with each other (and the house!), but they had so many perfect seating spots for portraits - especially the wooden swing - so I felt like the yard was made just to be a photographer's playground.
A talented family, music was a theme of the evening as Sue's husband serenaded us before dinner as the sun went down. Once we'd grabbed a few more group shots on the porch, we headed inside for everyone to make their dinners. As I photographed the process, I wanted to just capture sweet moments of the family spending a quiet evening together without really posing any images. I didn't have to do a thing, I love how they all interacted with each other laughing, smiling and making sure each dish was perfectly cooked. One of my favorite images of the evening is when Jeannie leaned down to smell what her mom was cooking; it was such a timeless mother-daughter scene.
Dinner was much the same happy affair - beginning by going around the table as each person said what they were thankful for. I love getting to be a part of intimate family gatherings like this because I get to hear their stories, namely Sue and her husband's hiking almost-misadventure that had us all laughing and gasping in equal measure. We followed dinner with presents and then a few more photos with mother and daughters doing what they most often do together: sit on the couch and talk about the news.
To cap off the festivities, we went into the piano room as everyone grabbed their instrument of choice. With barely a word, a sudden melody filled the room and several harmonies quickly followed. I almost forgot to keep photographing because I was so enjoying the music!
As we're working on picking out photos for this family photo album, I'm excited to put the story of such a relaxing and love-filled evening into print!