I think I met lovely Mariana around 2016 for her 2017 wedding with her back-then-fiance, Chris.
We really bonded in the wake of Hurricane Maria, which struck Puerto Rico just weeks before Mariana and Chris's wedding was supposed to occur. I admired her so much for uprooting all her wedding plans back into Florida State, planning a new wedding basically in three weeks. And the most significant fact: it was a picture-perfect wedding.
Time's all a blurry now: after their marriage, my life as a photographer has been quite busy and continuously moving, which is why I feel so grateful when I get to close circles and reconnect with lovely people that represent such meaningful stages in life as Mariana, Chris, and their growing family.
We're Visiting Puerto Rico, Can We do a Family Portrait Session?
Three years and one beautiful baby girl later, Mariana and Chris finally visited Puerto Rico. We connected beforehand and settled a slot for family portraits in the iconic town of Old San Juan. We met at a local coffee shop, where I met the beautiful baby Bella for the first time and befriended Valentino! We made some chit-chat to get the kids used to my presence before taking photos. When we were all ready, we started our photos in Castillo San Cristobal, which has both beautiful ocean views and ample spaces so the kids would be able to wander around and have fun.
A Candid Approach to Family Portraits
Although I'm mostly a wedding photographer, I love family sessions as a break from the routine. Especially with younger kids, I let go of most control, as kids define the session's pace and mood. I try to encourage parents to just let the kids be, as restraining or reprimanding them can sometimes lead to adverse reactions such as irritation or crying. We shape the session in a way that feels more like playtime, and I try to stage a camera-aware portrait here and there. This helps keep the mood light and the kids cooperative.
After many laughs, running around, and happy photos, we made our way down to a local ice-pop shop. All kids and adults were rewarded for their good behavior with a cold treat, another successful day for the books!